PDF reader of choice? PDF expert vs Adobe Acrobat Pro

Hi guys,

I’ve been a long-time PDF expert user but recently got a MBP 16" 64 gb RAM, and acquired access to Adobe Acrobat Pro through my school. Considering the switch to Adobe bc it ultimately does have more features, and also my machine’s resources are no longer an issue. One of my pet peeves with PDF expert is that it doesn’t offer a true full screen mode. That said I feel like scrolling in Acrobat is a bit choppy so not thrilled with that either. For people who have used both regularly, what do you recommend?

What do you consider a “true full screen mode” and where does PDF Expert fall short?

And have you looked at Skim?

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Used Adobe at work. When they went towards subscriptions I moved my company to PDF Expert because it was cheaper and simpler. My employees need simple to use programs and it saves a lot of time with training. Even if cost is not an issue, unless you are doing something requiring more sophistication, I still recommend PDF Expert.

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Thanks! Haven’t looked at skim yet but am going to now. What I consider true full screen is being able to hide the menu bar when I’m not using it. I sent it in as a feature request to them a few years ago, but it’s not there. Preview and Adobe both offer that, and it seems Skim does as well.

Thanks, this is helpful. I’m not doing anything requiring tremendous sophistication, so maybe sticking with PDF expert is the move.

I’ve used both, and I am in a similar situation. I chose to drop PDF Expert.

For full screen and for quickly viewing and searching PDFs, I find Preview more than sufficient. It has flawless scrolling for PDFs and full screen is better than PDF Expert.

I use Acrobat when I need to process and edit PDFs, PDF Expert has only a fraction of the features and is much less capable. I also have a free subscription, so I don’t see any reason to pay another $50 a year, especially as I much prefer to mark up PDFs with GoodNotes on iOS. Acrobat offers best in class OCR, Microsoft Office integration and better cross platform compatibility, especially with forms. It’s also the most powerful tool for optimising and exporting PDFs.

I use Preview as the default for both images and PDFs. When I need to edit something I go into an editor. This way, I get the best of both worlds - fast viewing and professional grade editing.


I’ve had some serious difficulties with Acrobat that are not reproduced in either Preview or PDF Expert. Specifically, I have documents that will open in almost any other PDF reader that will not open and render properly in Acrobat.

I am still trying to resolve the issue. It may be because I use a LaTeX-based equation editor (iLaTeXiT) that may have embedded a corrupt font setting. Or may be because Acrobat does not like opening documents that do not have the full font set entirely embedded in the document. Or it may be because of something that only Acrobat knows about.

Otherwise, when you are working on PDF documents with folks who use a Windows system, you should validate your PDF documents in Acrobat. When Acrobat throws an error to open a document, that document will not open on Acrobat on the Windows system.


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As a reply to this, I have now determined that my problems came about due to a specific setting in LaTeXiT. Unchecking a box to “Add invisible graphics commands” removes the issues in the latest version of LaTeXiT (2.14.10).

If nothing else, my ongoing problems demonstrate categorically why, when your workflow demands that you create PDF files that must be fully compliant across all variations of OS platforms and PDF readers, your first choice to check the compliance must be Acrobat Reader (or Pro).


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