Two decades ago, Adobe invented the PDF format. While there was the Acrobat family of products for professionals to create and work with PDF documents, there was a basic Adobe Reader for average consumers to read those PDFs.
The new Adobe Acrobat Pro DC and the Adobe Document Cloud subscription offer a mix of PDF tools that are designed to be intuitive and simpler to use than what's usually expected from Adobe. I recently got myself the subscription and have been using it on my Surface 3 for a few weeks now. Here are my thoughts on the desktop app and the complimentary cloud service.
Adobe has never been known for a beautiful user interface, and the Adobe Document Cloud nor Adobe Acrobat Pro DC are any different. It features a minimalist, white screen with icons for different tools in pastel colors.
That said, it's not unappealing. It may not be jazzy, but gets the job done well. The colorful icons have text labels, unlike most apps, so you know where you are headed before hovering over or clicking them. Once you've clicked into a tool, the instructions and prompts make it very easy to get things done. Also, the icons and buttons are well spaced and neatly laid out so using only touch across the service is pretty seamless.
Adobe Document Cloud
Adobe Document Cloud brings the transformation similar to how Adobe Creative Cloud did to Adobe's suite of creative applications. Also, it attempts to de-clutter the complex Acrobat tools to make them easy to use for almost anybody who works with documents through a typical work day.
The Adobe Document Cloud packs in tools offered formerly by Acrobat.com and Adobe EchoSign. It allows you to store, access, and share files in the cloud. You can convert PDF files to Word, Excel, and image formats or convert documents and images into PDF. You can also combine and arrange files into a single PDF or organize pages by rotating, deleting or inserting pages. With the Fill & Sign functionality, you can fill and sign documents and forms electronically and you can also send files as well as track views and downloads.
As part of eSign Services, you can get signatures from others and track results. The service offers a dashboard to monitor activity and documents waiting to be signed.
Adobe Acrobat Pro DC
Adobe Acrobat DC is the powerful sibling of the Document Cloud. The x86 app for Windows offers comprehensive features for working with documents – over and above what the Document Cloud offers. The most common tools show up in a customizable list you can open at the side of your documents.
While you can use your finger or the Surface Pen to sign a document, it's not very smooth. The experience of writing on a Surface, or most Windows tablets, is pretty smooth with other apps, so clearly Adobe needs to put in some work to avoid jagged lines.
Adobe Document Cloud is not OneDrive or Office 365 and not a tool for everyday document creation and collaboration. It is geared towards office administration staff and professionals who work with a lot of documents and physical paperwork.
With the Document Cloud subscription and the revamped Acrobat Pro DC, Adobe has turned the antiquated document management process into a more streamlined and cohesive process. The PDF creation and management is seamless, although I'm more impressed with documents.adobe.com than the ecosystem.
It's a pity that there's no Acrobat app in the Windows Store, and even worse that the Adobe Reader DC app is available only for iOS and Android. The x86 app works well, but unless your work depends on the tools it offers, you'd hardly turn to it. A Universal Windows App would be pretty good.
If Adobe Document Cloud suffices for your needs, you might as well uninstall the heavy Acrobat Pro DC. But then again, maybe you wouldn't want to spend for that service since a few of the tools it offers are available through free online services. But the integrated tools, cloud storage, and a seamless management makes it worth the dough.
The Adobe Document Cloud subscription includes Acrobat Pro DC and is available for ₹809 in India, $14.99 in the US, and £13.33 in the UK per month. There are other plans and payment cycles available as well that you might want to check out.