Acrobat Reader DC - The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
August 16, 2021

Acrobat Reader DC - The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Dr Gardiner Jones | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 5 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User

Overall Satisfaction with Adobe Acrobat Reader DC

DaVita, a Fortune 200 company, uses Adobe Acrobat Reader DC across its enterprise. As a consultant to DaVita, I use this product on a daily basis to open and read PDF files. It is also used to reduce printing costs by printing documents to PDF files for electronic sharing instead of hard copy. I find it saves time when needing to send a document because I do not have to print a document, scan it, and then send it. It also enables me to send an essentially universal file format to others who may not have the applications needed to open other file formats, i.e., Visio drawings.
  • Adobe Acrobat Reader DC will easily convert other file formats to PDF for general distribution. For example, if I need to send a Visio diagram to a person who does not have Visio software, I simply "print" the drawing to a PDF using Adobe Acrobat DC.
  • Acrobat is a good tool for document collaboration. PDF files can be shared, edited, merged and signed all within the application.
  • Visual presentation of PDF files is quite versatile. For example, if the initial display is too small for one's eyes, one can zoom out the display to make details more easily seen. Other options include pagination, thumbnails of pages, and so on. In short, it is very robust in offering display options.
  • I'm not a fan of needing to connect to Adobe in order to work with PDF files. While Adobe claims its systems are secure, there is always a doubt in my mind about exposing documents with sensitive data in them to another potential source of vulnerabilities.
  • The licensing for DC is not something I care for. I don't like the transition from buy it once and own it, to paying an annual licensing fee. Seriously, I really don't like that aspect of Adobe's approach to licensing their software.
  • I have experienced sporadic issues with form field drop-down menus after resizing forms for display. This problem has been around for a while, and I have yet to see a solution for it. For example, I may have a drop-down with four options, but when I resize the display for the entire page, I may be able to see only one and a half options.
  • If used properly, there is a potential for cost savings by avoiding the need to print hard copies. Files can be easily shared electronically.
  • I prize Acrobat Reader's ability to convert file formats to PDF. For example, I create a lot of infrastructure diagrams using Visio, and not everyone in my IT world has Visio. Simple solution: open my Visio diagram and "print" it to a PDF file.
  • Display options are important to me, and this is one area that Adobe Acrobat Reader DC shines. Make it bigger, smaller, single page, double page, scrolling, etc. Acrobat Reader handles them all, and does so admirably.
  • I've mentioned a couple of times in this review how Adobe Acrobat can potentially save a considerable amount of money by reducing or eliminating the need to printing to paper. Many have no idea how much money is spent not only on paper and toner, but on the cost of the printers themselves - especially when there are fees for the number of pages printed. Print to PDF is a huge cost savings.
  • On the other hand, in a very large enterprise the licensing of Adobe Acrobat Reader DC can become quite large in a hurry. If you have four or five people using the software, the cost can be easily justified. On the other hand, if you have 2,000 - 3,000+ seats using it, then licensing can become quite cost prohibitive -- annually.
I do a lot of work on a second job where I need to create and use forms in PDF format that contain a lot of JavaScript in the backend to make calculations based on values entered into form fields. If I am working on a PC or a MAC computer, these all work great for JavaScript execution. However, if I move the PDF form to an iPad or iPhone, the form field calculations do not execute. Enter Readdle's PDF Expert. Installation of this app enables me to use these PDF forms on both iPhone and iPad. Also, the editing capabilities (highlighting, entering comments, and so on) work more reliably and intuitively with Readdle PDF Expert than with Adobe Acrobat Reader DC. Because my fulltime gig as a consultant involves using PCs, all of my PDF work there is with Adobe Acrobat Reader DC.

Do you think Adobe Acrobat Reader delivers good value for the price?


Are you happy with Adobe Acrobat Reader's feature set?


Did Adobe Acrobat Reader live up to sales and marketing promises?

I wasn't involved with the selection/purchase process

Did implementation of Adobe Acrobat Reader go as expected?

I wasn't involved with the implementation phase

Would you buy Adobe Acrobat Reader again?


If you need to be able to view, print, annotate, sign, or redact content, Adobe Acrobat Reader DC is an excellent tool. It is not just an "open a PDF and read it" application. It is very well suited to document management/collaboration in an environment where multiple people benefit from sharing a PDF file.

Commenting in documents with Acrobat can become a royal pain at times. It feels "clunky" or cumbersome. For example, I may be trying to click in a specific place in the text to start highlighting, but Acrobat will insist on inserting a note instead.

Using Adobe Acrobat Reader DC

Users in our enterprise range from IT developers, QA analysts, Help Desk personnel, managers, nurses and other clinicians, and general business staff. In short, the entire spectrum of a health care organization spanning a couple of thousand facilities in the United States, and several hundred overseas. These people deal with medical reports, revenue management, program development and quality assurance, legal documentation, and general business correspondence.
50 - Our dedicated IT Help Desk and "Enterprise Command Center" support all of the enterprise's employees. These individuals have a special set of skills that that range from patience and excellent communications to troubleshooting, documentation, and knowledge base specializations.
  • Printing electronically
  • Document collaboration
  • e-signing
  • Working with interactive PDF forms
  • Managing document workflows, particularly with IT "run books"
To be honest, I do not have any say in the renewal of Adobe Acrobat Reader DC. It is managed at an enterprise level, and the decision to renew or not renew is handled well above my pay grade as an external consultant.