Adobe Acrobat is a family of application software and Web services developed by Adobe Systems to view, create, manipulate, print and manage files in Portable Document Format (PDF).[16]

The family comprises Acrobat Reader (formerly Reader), Acrobat (formerly Exchange) and Acrobat.com. The basic Acrobat Reader, available for several desktop and mobile platforms, is freeware; it supports viewing, printing and annotating of PDF files.[17] Additional, "Premium", services are available for reader on paid subscription. The commercial proprietary Acrobat, available for Microsoft Windows and macOS only, can also create, edit, convert, digitally sign, encrypt, export and publish PDF files. Acrobat.com complements the family with a variety of enterprise content management and file hosting services.


Since the early 90s the Acrobat product has had several competitors, some of which used their own document formats, such as:

Adobe also allows third parties to develop Acrobat plug-ins, which can add extra functions to the Acrobat program.

Product names

Adobe has changed the names of the products of the Acrobat set several times, also dividing, merging, or discontinuing products. Initially, the name "Acrobat" was used as the parent name of a set of products which included Acrobat Reader, Acrobat Exchange and Acrobat Distiller. Over time, Acrobat Reader became Reader; and the name Acrobat Exchange was simplified to Acrobat. Between versions 3 and 5, Standard and Professional versions were one product known simply as Acrobat.

In April 2015, Adobe introduced the Adobe "Document Cloud," along with the first of several applications with "DC" at the end of the name. One of the main goals was to have all of a user's PDFs available on any of the user's devices, such as editing a PDF on an iPad and then later retrieving it on a PC.[18] As of October, 2015, the "Document Cloud" also includes integration with Dropbox and includes electronic signature improvements, although at least some features require a subscription.[19]

As of April 2015, the main members of the Acrobat family include:[20]

Adobe Acrobat XI.png
Acrobat XI
Adobe Reader XI icon.png
Reader XI
Adobe Distiller X icon.png
Distiller XI
Logos of Acrobat desktop applications

Desktop applications:

  • Adobe Acrobat Reader DC (for Mac OS X v10.6.4 and above, and Windows 7 and above. Reader X is the last supported version for Windows Vista).[21]
  • Adobe Acrobat Standard DC
  • Adobe Acrobat Pro DC

Mobile applications with the Document Cloud (DC) launch:

  • Adobe Acrobat DC (mobile app on iOS and Android)
  • Fill n Sign app
  • e-Sign manager
Adobe Acrobat dot com (2012).png
Adobe CreatePDF icon.png
Adobe ExportPDF icon.png
Adobe EchoSign icon (2012).png
Adobe FormsCentral icon.png
Adobe SendNow icon.png
Logos of Acrobat online services

Acrobat.com (Online services):

  • CreatePDF
  • ExportPDF
  • Sign (Formerly EchoSign)
  • FormsCentral
  • Personal Storage
  • Send
  • Workspaces

Unlike most other Adobe products, such as members of Adobe Creative Suite family, the Acrobat products do not have icons that display two letters on a colored rectangle.

Version history

The UI had major changes with the introduction of Acrobat DC in 2015, which supports Windows 7 and later, and OS X 10.9 and later. Version numbers are now identified by the last two digits of the year of major release, and the month and year is specified; the previous version was 12, but examples of the DC (Document Cloud) Acrobat product family versions are DC June 2016, version 15.016.20045, released 2 June 2016 and DC Classic January 2016, version 15.006.30119, released 12 January 2016.[22] From DC 2015 the Acrobat family is available in two tracks, the original track, now named Classic, and the Continuous track.[23] Updates for the Classic track are released quarterly, and do not include new features, whereas updates for the Continuous track are issued more frequently, and implemented silently and automatically.[24]

The last pre-DC version, Acrobat XI, was updated to 11.0.23 version (and this was the final release[25]) on November 14, 2017[26], support for which ended on October 15, 2017.[27]

Internationalization and localization

Language availability

Adobe Acrobat is available in the following languages: Arabic, Chinese Simplified, Chinese Traditional, Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Spanish, Swedish, Turkish and Ukrainian. Arabic and Hebrew versions are available from WinSoft International,[28] Adobe Systems' internationalization and localization partner.

Specific features for Arabic and Hebrew languages

The Arabic and Hebrew versions are developed specifically for these languages, which are normally written right-to-left. These versions include special TouchUp properties to manage digits, ligatures option and paragraph direction in right-to-left Middle Eastern scripts such as Arabic, Hebrew, and Persian, as well as standard left-to-right Indian scripts such as Devanagari and Gujarati. The Web Capture feature can convert single web pages or entire web sites into PDF files, while preserving the content's original text encoding. Acrobat can also copy Arabic and Hebrew text to the system clipboard in its original encoding; if the target application is also compatible with the text encoding, then the text will appear in the correct script.


A comprehensive list of security bulletins for most Adobe products and related versions is published on their Security bulletins and advisories page and in other related venues.[29][30] In particular, the detailed history of security updates for all versions of Adobe Acrobat has been made public.[31]

From Version 3.02 onwards, Acrobat Reader has included support for JavaScript. This functionality allows a PDF document creator to include code which executes when the document is read. Malicious PDF files that attempt to attack security vulnerabilities can be attached to links on web pages or distributed as email attachments. While JavaScript is designed without direct access to the file system to make it "safe", vulnerabilities have been reported for abuses such as distributing malicious code by Acrobat programs.[32] Adobe applications had already become the most popular client-software targets for attackers during the last quarter of 2009.[33] McAfee predicted that Adobe software, especially Reader and Flash, would be the primary target for software attacks in the year 2010.[34]

September 2006 warning

On September 13, 2006, David Kierznowski provided sample PDF files illustrating JavaScript vulnerabilities. Since at least version 6, JavaScript can be disabled using the preferences menu[35] and embedded URLs that are launched are intercepted by a security warning dialog box to either allow or block the website from activating.[36]

February 2009 warning

On February 19, 2009, Adobe released a Security Bulletin announcing JavaScript vulnerabilities in Adobe Reader and Acrobat versions 9 and earlier.[37] As a workaround for this issue, US-CERT recommended disabling JavaScript in the affected Adobe products, canceling integration with Windows shell and web browsers (while carrying out an extended version of de-integration for Internet Explorer), deactivating Adobe indexing services and avoiding all PDF files from external sources.[38]

February 2013 warning

Adobe has identified critical vulnerabilities in Adobe Reader and Acrobat XI (11.0.01 and earlier) for Windows and Macintosh, 9.5.3 and earlier 9.x versions. These vulnerabilities could cause the application to crash and potentially allow an attacker to take control of the affected system. There have been reports of these vulnerabilities being exploited to trick Windows users into clicking on a malicious PDF file delivered in an email message. Adobe recommended users update their product installations.[39]

January 2016 warning

Adobe has released security updates for Adobe Acrobat and Reader for Windows and Macintosh. These updates address critical vulnerabilities that could potentially allow an attacker to take control of the affected system.[40][41]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d "Overview — Acrobat and Adobe Reader DC Release Notes". Adobe Systems. 2018-02-28. 
  2. ^ "15.020.20042 Optional update, November 03, 2016 — Acrobat and Adobe Reader Release Notes". Adobe Systems. 2016-11-02. 
  3. ^ "15.006.30244 Optional update, November 03, 2016 — Acrobat and Adobe Reader Release Notes". Adobe Systems. 2016-11-02. 
  4. ^ "15.020.20042 Optional update, November 03, 2016 — Acrobat and Adobe Reader Release Notes". Adobe Systems. 2016-11-02. 
  5. ^ "15.006.30244 Optional update, November 03, 2016 — Acrobat and Adobe Reader Release Notes". Adobe Systems. 2016-11-02. 
  6. ^ Adobe Systems. "Adobe Reader". Google Play. Google Inc. Retrieved 2015-12-18. 
  7. ^ Adobe Systems. "Adobe Reader". App Store. Apple. Retrieved 2016-12-18. 
  8. ^ "Adobe Reader Windows Store page". Microsoft Store. Microsoft. Retrieved 2013-06-27. 
  9. ^ "Adobe Reader Touch for Windows 8 adds Comments and More". Engineering blog for Adobe Reader on mobile platforms. Adobe Systems. 2013-02-01. Retrieved 2013-03-07. 
  10. ^ Adobe Systems. "Adobe Acrobat Reader". Windows Store. Microsoft. 
  11. ^ "FTP download of Adobe Reader for Linux". ftp. Adobe Systems. Retrieved 2013-05-15. 
  12. ^ "Adobe - Security Bulletins: APSB13-15 - Security updates for Adobe Reader and Acrobat". Adobe Systems. Retrieved 2015-11-26. Release date: May 14, 2013; Last updated: August 8, 2013; Vulnerability identifier: APSB13-15 
  13. ^ "Download new and previous versions of Adobe Reader". Adobe.com. Adobe Systems. Retrieved 29 July 2013. 
  14. ^ "Adobe – Adobe Reader download – All versions". adobe.com. Adobe Systems. Retrieved 29 July 2013. 
  15. ^ "Download a free trial of Acrobat XI Pro". Adobe.com. Adobe Systems. Retrieved 29 July 2013. 
  16. ^ "Adobe Acrobat family". 2008. Archived from the original on 19 January 2008. Retrieved 19 January 2008. 
  17. ^ "Adobe Reader". 2008. Archived from the original on 18 January 2008. Retrieved 19 January 2008. 
  18. ^ Heller, Martin (April 9, 2015). "Review: Adobe Acrobat polishes its act". InfoWorld. Retrieved 28 March 2016. 
  19. ^ Frank, Blair Hanley (October 13, 2015). "Adobe teams up with Dropbox as part of Document Cloud upgrades". IDG News Service. Retrieved 28 March 2016. 
  20. ^ "Acrobat XI Pro / FAQ". Adobe.com. Adobe Systems. 27 July 2013. Retrieved 11 August 2013. 
  21. ^ "Adobe Reader XI: Not just for reading anymore". Adobe.com. Adobe Systems. February 25, 2013. Retrieved March 1, 2015. 
  22. ^ "Release Notes - Acrobat, Reader". Acrobat Help. Adobe Systems. 
  23. ^ "Document Cloud Product Tracks — Enterprise Administration Guide". Adobe.com. Retrieved 27 June 2016. 
  24. ^ https://www.adobe.com/devnet-docs/acrobatetk/tools/AdminGuide/whatsnewdc.html
  25. ^ "Adobe Security Bulletin". helpx.adobe.com. Retrieved 2017-11-30. 
  26. ^ "11.0.23 Planned update, November 14, 2017 — Acrobat and Adobe Reader Release Notes". www.adobe.com. Retrieved 2017-11-30. 
  27. ^ "Adobe Support Policies: Supported Product Versions". Adobe. 2016. Retrieved 20 October 2016. 
  28. ^ "Adobe Acrobat Professional software – Communicate and collaborate with the essential PDF solution, enhanced features for Central and East European and Middle Eastern users". Winsoft-international.com. Archived from the original on 31 August 2010. Retrieved 4 December 2010. 
  29. ^ "Security Bulletins and Advisories". adobe.com. Adobe Systems. 
  30. ^ "Adobe PDF Security Issues, Acrobat Vulnerabilities, PDF Cracks". Locklizard. 
  31. ^ "Security Bulletins and Advisories – Adobe Acrobat". adobe.com. Adobe Systems. 
  32. ^ Brockmeier, Joe (30 March 2005). "Unexpected features in Acrobat 7". LWN.net. Eklektix. Retrieved 20 February 2009. 
  33. ^ "McAfee Threats Report: Fourth Quarter 2009" (PDF). McAfee Avert Labs. February 2010. p. 16. Archived from the original (PDF) on 15 February 2010. Retrieved 9 May 2010. 
  34. ^ "2010 Threat Predictions" (PDF). McAfee Labs. December 2009. p. 2. Archived from the original (PDF) on 5 October 2016. Retrieved 9 May 2010. 
  35. ^ Naraine, Ryan (28 April 2009). "Adobe: Turn off JavaScript in PDF Reader". ZDNet. CBS Interactive. 
  36. ^ Naraine, Ryan (15 September 2006). "Hacker Discovers Adobe PDF Back Doors". eWeek. Ziff Davis Enterprise Holdings Inc. Retrieved 5 August 2011. David Kierznowski, a penetration testing expert specializing in Web application testing, has released proof-of-concept code and rigged PDF files to demonstrate how the Adobe Reader program could be used to initiate attacks without any user action. 
  37. ^ "Security Updates available for Adobe Reader and Acrobat versions 9 and earlier". adobe.com. Adobe Systems. 19 February 2009. Retrieved 11 August 2013. 
  38. ^ "Vulnerability Note VU#905281". US-CERT. 20 February 2009. Archived from the original on 23 February 2009. Retrieved 20 February 2009. 
  39. ^ "Security Advisory for Adobe Reader and Acrobat". Adobe Systems. 
  40. ^ "Security Advisory for Adobe Reader and Acrobat". Adobe Systems. 
  41. ^ "Adobe Releases Security Updates for Acrobat, Reader, and Digital Editions". United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team. 

External links