Adobe Reader for Mac is a standalone PDF app that opens up many possibilities for dealing with the portable file format. It’s clean, efficient, and easy to use. The app doesn’t offer quite as many features as big brother Acrobat, but if your PDF needs are simple (reading and annotating rather than editing and creating), it will serve you just fine.
Beautifully-packaged toolkit for PDFs
Adobe’s entry-level PDF reader and viewer
Adobe Reader is a classic Adobe app that has been around for some time. In fact, at 26, it’s probably older than many of you reading. Even so, its age doesn’t seem to have done it any harm, as it looks and acts like an app that’s spent much less time hanging around on people’s computers.
Remember, Adobe Reader for Mac will only allow you to read, annotate, and print PDFs. It won’t let you create or merge them. It also offers a few additional features, like the ability to share your PDF with a variety of 3rd party apps, to hook up with storage services like Dropbox and Google Drive (making it easier to manage large numbers of PDFs), and to stamp, annotate, and comment on PDFs you’ve imported.
The Adobe Reader interface will also offer you the ability to edit and create PDFs, but when you click on the button, you’ll be brought to the Adobe website where you can purchase Acrobat Pro, the granddaddy of PDF apps. There are also a number of add-on features, so you can expand the functionality of Reader without moving all the way up to Pro.
When you open a PDF in Adobe Reader, most of the functions you’ll need will be in the top or sidebars. If you’ve used other Adobe products, you’ll find this familiar and easy to get to grips with. Most of the main editing functions are represented by little icons in the top bar and the main app features (sharing, commenting, etc) are in the side.
Using Adobe Reader is a pleasant experience. The interface is attractive and easy to find your way around, and carrying out any of the tasks offered by the app is simple and intuitive. The app’s settings are surprisingly complex. There are dozens of options pertaining to the various ways in which you might want to view, use, or export your PDFs and, since Adobe Reader has been around for a long time, there’s ample support online, both user-generated and official..
Where can you run this program?
Adobe Reader runs on Mac computers. There are also versions available for Windows, and mobile versions for iPhone and Android that offer pared-down elements of the app.
Is there a better alternative?
There are plenty of alternatives to Adobe Reader, although not as many as you’ll find for Windows and none of which are quite as complete. Foxit offers PhantomPDF; it has many of the same features as Adobe Reader (and many extra) but isn’t free. Okular will let you read PDFs, but it’s not user-friendly, and Skim, which is free, lets you carry out extensive note-taking and annotation of PDFs, but isn’t strong on options like sharing and can never be upgraded or extended in the way Reader can.
Adobe Reader for Mac is a solid app to use. It offers lots of features in a really clean and user-friendly interface and the results it produces are perfect. On Mac, PDF tools aren’t available in great numbers, so having a tool that works as well as Adobe Reader (and for free) is a huge bonus. On Windows, there are probably tools that work just as well, or even better, but most of them are not available for Mac.
Should you download it?
If you've found a specific issue with PDFs and you think that Adobe Reader is likely to help, by all means, download it. Similarly, if you’ve opened and interacted with PDFs without Reader and found the experience lacking or complicated, then give it a try. For many users, however, a standalone PDF app just isn’t something you’ll use often enough to warrant a download.