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Learn About Adobe Acrobat

Adobe Acrobat

Adobe Acrobat logo
Developer Adobe Systems
Latest release 7.0.2 / ?
OS Cross-platform
Genre PDF writer
License Acrobat EULA

Adobe Acrobat was the first software to support Adobe Systems' Portable Document Format (PDF). It is mostly described in those entries. The Acrobat Reader program (now just called Adobe Reader) is available as a no-charge download from Adobe's web site, and allows the viewing and printing of PDF files.

Commercial Acrobat programs (of which there are several) allows some minimal editing and adding of features to PDF documents, and come with other modules including a printer driver to create PDF files from Macintosh or Microsoft Windows applications.

Adobe Acrobat Reader running on Debian
Adobe Acrobat Reader running on Debian



Since the early 1990s, the Acrobat product had several competitors who each used their own document formats, such as:

By the late 1990s PDF had become the de facto standard, and the others had become largely historical footnotes. This in turn has led to many more competitors for Adobe Acrobat, both free and commercial.

Today, there are a host of third-party programs that create or manipulate PDF, such as Ghostscript. Adobe also allows Acrobat plug-ins to be developed, which can add extra functions within the Acrobat program; such as Enfocus Pitstop.

Product names

Adobe has changed the names of the products in the Acrobat family regularly, also splitting products up, joining them together, or discontinuing members. This causes much confusion, not only about what product to obtain, but even about what product people have.

As of 2004, the current main members of the Adobe Acrobat family are

Adobe has never created a product called either Adobe Writer or Acrobat Writer, although these names seem a natural opposite to the Reader product. Purists and pedants dislike these made-up names. To add more confusion, Acrobat used to include a printer driver called PDFWriter.

Acrobat product history

Version 1

Version 2

Version 3

Version 4

Version 5

Version 6

Version 7

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All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License (see Copyrights for details).