April 03, 2019

Product Review

Jeffrey Allen


I have long felt that Adobe Acrobat belongs in every law office and probably should reside on each computer in the office. But I am primarily a Mac person. Yes, I have some built-for-Windows machines and I have some virtual computers running Windows on my Macs, but I run Windows primarily for purposes of testing and evaluating Windows-based software. For that reason, I use the XP, Vista, and Windows 7 operating systems on the Windows machines and Macs OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard) on the Mac. I have used and tested the last several iterations of Acrobat (back to at least Acrobat 7) on the then-current  versions of both Mac and Windows operating systems.

The Mac OS has some built-in PDF capabilities (you can print to PDF and read PDF files using capabilities built into the Macintosh OS). Although these built-in capabilities offer some convenience to the user, they do not provide anything comparable to the features of Acrobat X Pro. The legal-industry-specific features (Bates numbering and redaction) do not exist inside the Mac OS. Neither do you have the portfolio capability or the ability to easily move pages around inside of a PDF file. For that matter, you cannot create searchable PDF files using the feature set built into the Mac OS. Acrobat X Pro offers all these capabilities, thereby easily justifying the acquisition of the program for a Mac OS user.

Although there have always been some differences between the Mac and Windows versions of the Acrobat software, the most recent iterations of Acrobat have shown a substantially parallel evolution for the program on both platforms. As a result, Acrobat Pro provides essentially the same features to both the Mac and the Windows platform. I focus on the Acrobat Pro version, as it is the only version that exists on the Mac platform. Although this limitation may seem to favor the Windows platform users somewhat, the observation would not apply to attorneys. I personally believe that Acrobat Standard, while perfectly adequate for many small business and most home uses, would prove insufficient for most law offices owing to the missing features that are included in Acrobat Pro. Of these features, the most important to my practice (and I would expect to most solos and small firms) are Bates numbering, PDF Portfolios, and Redaction.

My bottom line: If you have a version of Acrobat older than Version 9 (which included a major improvement to the optical character recognition software), you should consider immediately upgrading to Version X; that is true for both Mac and Windows users. If you have Version 9, the upgrade to X offers some nice improvements, particularly in the interface, and a bit more speed and efficiency, but you can continue to use Version 9 efficiently and effectively in your office. If you want the newest and the best, however, you should get the upgrade to Version X. If you do not have Acrobat at all for your Mac, what are you waiting for? 

Related: Acrobat X

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