Adobe Acrobat VS. PDF Expert


I have been thinking about how to choose an impeccable PDF application, what I want is a beautiful, concise and versatile application. If you think that an app like the CAJ Viewer is able to meet your needs and you’re comfortable with it, this article may not be for you.

After some consideration, I chose Adobe Acrobat and PDF Expert for horizontal analysis. Adobe Acrobat is the originator, when it comes to PDF you can’t bypass it; PDF Expert is the most popular PDF App on macOS AppStore. It is the editor’s choice for the Mac App Store, the best App of 2015, and the top paid App.

This article takes two PDF files as an example. The platform is macOS, and Adobe Acrobat also provides Windows versions. Foxit reader only has the basic functions for macOS version, while the Windows version has many powerful features, but because of their personal license is free, it is hard to avoid advertisement, that is why Foxit PDF reader is not included in this article.

Other applications such as preview and Skim, they are neither powerful nor beautiful, if there are other amazing PDF applications, please let me know by comment.


On the interface, there are some differences between the two left panels. For Adobe Acrobat, bookmarks are a catalog outline for PDF.

In PDF Expert, bookmarks are just bookmarks. You can add bookmarks by clicking the logo in the upper right corner of the page, and the outline is the table of content, which is quite friendly to reading book PDF.

Reading and Notes

Adobe Acrobat doesn’t perform well in this round, while PDF Expert surprises me.

  1. Adobe Acrobat doesn’t support multiple tabs
  2. Adobe Acrobat can’t make highlights with different colors, even the note tool is hard to find.


PDF expert is able to search all the opened files, while Adobe Acrobat even supports search in a folder. The shortcoming is, Adobe Acrobat will act slowly when it’s handling the searching job, but PDF Expert acts normally.


These two apps have similar editing experience, they also have a similar problem. When I edit a PDF which contains the font I haven’t installed in my computer, Adobe Acrobat will notice me that the font is not available on my computer, and turn it to my system’s default font. PDF Expert will directly change the font in such a situation.


Adobe Acrobat supports 42 languages OCR, while PDF Expert doesn’t support OCR.

Like Adobe Acrobat’s search function, it can also OCR multiple documents at the same time. It also has an impressed feature: when you try to edit a scanned PDF, it will ask you if you want to convert the file to editable text with OCR function.

Adobe Acrobat OCR’s accurate rate is outstanding, it almost recognizes all the texts correctly.

Cloud Storage

In fact, I don’t think a PDF app needs cloud storage for desktop usage, because Dropbox is so powerful and convenient.

Adobe Acrobat supports Adobe Document Cloud, Adobe Creative Cloud, Box, Dropbox, OneDrive.

PDF Expert only supports iCloud. You can sync a PDF between macOS and iOS PDF Expert seamlessly.

Adobe Acrobat’s other highlights

Adobe Acrobat has so many features and most of them are thoughtful and has depth, it is indeed a super PDF app. It can handle almost all the problems we can meet in daily PDF processing workflow, also including professional needs. You can even download some workflows from its library, there are some workflows I feel interesting, like: Delete all Comments、Convert PDF to PowerPoint、Convert PDF File to PS File、Optimize PDF for SEO、Find, Highlight, and Extract Words, and so on. And the Javascript tool can help you get more complex jobs done.

PDF Expert’s other highlights

PDF Expert doesn’t have many features, but it offers the best user experience in reading and annotation. I can say it’s the best PDF reader app.

With the help of Readdle Transfer and iCloud, It gives the best answer to the question of how to sync PDF among different devices.


Adobe Acrobat is the most powerful app, but not that good at reading experience.

PDF Expert is the best reading app, but lacks some professional functions.

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