Difference Between Adobe Standard & Professional

By Lynne Pettus

A look at Adobe's new Acrobat DC Pro and Standard versions and how they differ, including mobile device features, editing PDFs and accessibility options.

Adobe's new cloud-focused Acrobat DC version 12 comes in Standard and Pro flavors, just as have the previous releases up through the most recent Acrobat XI. While Pro offers several features over Standard, the biggest difference for most users is probably Pro's enhanced ability to edit scanned documents using Optical Character Recognition functionality. In addition, DC Pro adds features available to Mac users as well as additional accessibility options.

Both Standard and Pro offer the primary cloud-based features that drive this new release: collaborating and editing documents online, access to the free related mobile DC apps and the ability to work on touch-enabled devices.


The use of the term "DC" -- for "Document Cloud" -- does not mean that Adobe has abandoned its desktop software. Rather, cloud features complement the desktop version, providing support for online storage, collaboration and digital signatures.

Mac and iOS Features

PDF Creation on Your Mac

The only additional feature Pro has over Standard when it comes to PDF creation is support for Microsoft Word for Mac. If you're a Mac user, this could be important, but Word for Mac has had PDF creation capability since 2011. Furthermore, the Mac OS has supported conversion to PDF natively through its application TextEdit for several releases.

Edit PDFs on Your iPad

While Acrobat DC Pro and Standard offer new features for a range of mobile devices, Pro has additional features for the iPad, in particular. Using the free Acrobat mobile app, you can edit text, rearrange, rotate or delete pages, and annotate.

VoiceOver on Your Mac

Finally, Acrobat DC steps up to the plate and offers VoiceOver for the Mac, so Mac users finally join Windows users with the ability to use VoiceOver to create, edit and read accessible PDF documents.

Editing Scanned PDF Documents

The big difference between Pro and Standard when it comes to editing PDFs is that Pro is fueled by powerful OCR functionality so you can scan paper documents as PDFs and then edit them. Scan any document to a PDF, open it in DC Pro, and Acrobat creates a custom font on the fly. You can also insert and edit images.

The Edit PDF toolbar supports a wide range of text edits, including changing the text size and font.

Accessibility Options

While both Standard and Pro have special adjustments that render text high-contrast for easier reading, only Pro supports the creation and validation of PDFs based on the standards WCAG 2.0 and PDF/UA.

Pricing and Plans

Purchase Acrobat DC

  • Pro: $449.00, upgrade from an earlier version $199.
  • Standard: $299, upgrade from an earlier version $139.

The Pro desktop application includes these features unavailable with Standard:

  • Support for Mac.
  • Addition of audio and video files to PDFs.
  • Ability to permanently delete sensitive information.

Subscribe to DC

  • Pro: $14.99 per month for an annual subscription contract or $24.99 per month without a contract.
  • Standard: $

    12.99 per month for an annual subscription contract or $22.99 per month without a contract.

A Pro subscription includes these features unavailable with a Standard subscription:

  • Ability to edit scanned documents.
  • Addition of audio and video files to PDFs.
  • Enhanced ability for digitally signing documents.
  • 30-day access to Photoshop, Lightroom and other Creative Cloud apps.

Both Standard and Pro Acrobat DC can be either purchased outright, called the "desktop" version, or used on a subscription basis.