Sabbar: Weaning yourself from Adobe Acrobat Pro

Sabbar: Weaning yourself from Adobe Acrobat Pro


Last week, we talked about the various Adobe apps, including Adobe Acrobat Pro for the manipulation of PDFs. This week, we will talk about alternatives and how to decrease your dependence on it.

First, if you have decided that you can just use Adobe Acrobat Reader, you can download the latest version at

However, if you have used Acrobat Pro in the past, it is likely still set as the default app to open and view PDFs. So even though you have a totally functional copy of Reader installed — a perfectly good “car in the garage,” your computer is trying to use your prior expired or nonfunctional copy of Acrobat Pro — a “broken down beater sitting in the driveway.” In short, it tries to open Pro instead of Reader. To fix that:

In the search box at the lower left corner of your Windows computer screen, type “default apps”

Click the item that pops up called “default apps system settings” That will open a settings app.

Scroll down in the panel on the right and click the link “Choose default apps by file type”

In the next window that opens, scroll WAY DOWN to “.pdf” (they are in alpha order.) You will probably see Adobe Acrobat DC to the right. Click that.

In the Choose an App menu that pops up, click Adobe Acrobat Reader DC

Close that window.

Try to re-open the PDF, and it should launch Reader instead.

There are a few other ways to change the default app.

If you are a Mac user, you can use the built-in Preview app to split, combine, and rearrange PDFs. Work colleague Haley provided this link to Apple’s how-to guide at Having combined pages from PDFs in Acrobat Pro before, I have to say that this is actually easier.

If you are open to a compatible product and use Windows, work colleague JJ recently bought a copy of Ashampoo PDF Pro 2 for $20. He says that it works fine, including making and editing forms. Their web site at provides more information, including a description of the features and the ability to install on up to 3 Windows computers. There is even a free download option. Unfortunately, there is no Mac version of this program.

Finally, remember that you can save from Microsoft apps like Word, PowerPoint and Excel directly into a PDF format.

Also remember that none of the programs — even Acrobat Pro itself — will allow you to freely edit the text of a PDF the way that you can edit it in Word. Even exporting a PDF to a .docx format will give you a very messy and hart-to-edit document.

So consider your options and needs before you invest in Acrobat Pro or any other paid program.

Carol Sabbar is director of computer services at Carthage College. Email her at


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