Adobe Acrobat Pro DC alternatives for Mac

Changes to Adobe Acrobat Pro DC Licensing

The Adobe Acrobat Pro DC licensing model has changed to a subscription-based model, which means University of Waterloo departments/units now have to purchase a subscription for Acrobat Pro DC. Please review the Campus Adobe Options.             

Do I still need Adobe Acrobat Pro DC?

Many commonly used features of Adobe Acrobat Pro DC are available in other applications Waterloo employees already have access to (e.g. Microsoft Office) or are freely available (e.g. Preview).  Alternate, less expensive applications may also be available for purchase. Please see the list of alternatives below.

You may still require Adobe Acrobat Pro DC, if you:

  • create and/or edit fillable PDF forms

  • make remediations for accessibility (i.e. adjust tags or reading order)

  • need to edit content directly in a PDF document (Note: edits can be made to some files using Microsoft Word)

PDF Studio 2020 Professional

PDF Studio 2020 Professional is a full-featured PDF editor that maintains full compatibility with the PDF Standard. It is available for purchase at a discounted rate for Waterloo employees via OnTheHub (limit of 10). To purchase more than 10 licenses, contact SHI (Canadian reseller). For feature lists and how-to’s, see the PDF Studio User Guide and Knowledge Base.

Note

PDF Studio doesn’t have an auto-tag feature like Adobe Acrobat Pro DC. Tags must be created in the original authoring application or manually in PDF Studio. If a PDF is required to be accessible and will be heavily edited, either to adjust the content or add fillable form fields, it is recommended to continue to use Adobe Acrobat Pro DC.



Alternatives methods for basic PDF editing

Requirement

Alternative

Instruction

Requirement

Alternative

Instruction

Creating PDF documents

Microsoft Office

  • Create your file in a Microsoft Office program (e.g. Word, Excel, PowerPoint) and then save the file as a PDF.

  • Save a copy of your file as the appropriate Microsoft Office file type (e.g. .docx, .xlsx, .pptx) as it will be useful when you need to edit your PDF in future.



Preview

Editing content in PDF documents

Microsoft Office (with original file)

  • If you have the original Microsoft Office file, open the file in the appropriate Microsoft Office program, make your changes, and then save the file as a PDF again.



Microsoft Office (without original file)

  • Open the PDF in Word, make your changes, and then save the file as a PDF again.

  • Works best for files that are short, mostly text, with simple layouts.

  • You will need to re-apply heading styles, re-add alt text to your images and tables, and re-set the header row(s) for your tables.

  • You may need to reformat other aspects of your file as well; the more complex the file, the more reformatting you will need to do.



Adobe Acrobat Export PDF (purchase required)

  • An Adobe Acrobat Export PDF subscription will grant you access to the Export PDF tool in Adobe Acrobat Reader DC and your browser through Adobe's Document Cloud.

  • Export the PDF file to Word or Excel, make your changes and save the file as a PDF again.

  • Exporting a PDF produces a Word document that retains more formatting than simply opening the PDF in Word.

  • This is a better option for files that are long or complex, of if you have many PDFs to edit.

  • You will need to re-apply heading styles, re-add alt text to your images and tables, and re-set the header row(s) for your tables.

  • You may need to reformat other aspects of your file as well; the more complex the file, the more reformatting you will need to do.



Adding comments and marking up text in PDF documents

Preview

Filling and signing PDF forms

Preview

  • In the Preview app, you can fill out and sign PDF forms.

  • To fill in a form, simply click on the fields to enter text, select radio buttons or checkboxes, or pick from a set of options.

  • To sign a form, you can draw or insert an image of your handwritten signature.

  • If the form does not have interactive fields, you can annotate a PDF to fill it in, by using tools like Sketch and Text, instead of printing and filling out by hand.

Adding, deleting and rearranging pages in a PDF document

Preview

Combining multiple PDF documents into a single PDF document

Preview

Replacing a signature page in a PDF document

Preview

  1. Open the original PDF document and signed page (PDF or image file).

  2. Delete the blank signature page from the original PDF document. See add, delete, or move PDF pages.

  3. Combine the original PDF document (minus the signature page) with the signed page (PDF). See combine multiple PDFs.

  4. If necessary, move the signed page to the correct location by dragging and dropping the thumbnails.

Need help?

Contact the IST Service Desk online or 519-888-4567 ext. 44357.

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