Acrobat Pro Vs. Pro Extended

By Regina Edwards

Users can optimize documents to share using an integrated application, including Acrobat Pro.
i document image by Marvin Gerste from

Adobe offers four products in the Acrobat family: Reader, Standard, Professional and Professional Extended. Editions beyond Reader provide expanded functions to create and edit PDF files, as well as to manipulate documents to other formats such as pictures and forms. Adobe integrates multimedia and interactive functions from other products, such as LiveCycle and Flash, with the advanced functions in Acrobat Pro to produce the Acrobat Pro Extended edition.


Adobe pioneered the portable document format (PDF) to digitally share documents across computer platforms and to facilitate electronic records management. Adobe Acrobat software enables users to read and create PDF files. Acrobat Standard and Professional editions provide PDF creation, editing and conversion functions. In 2008, Adobe introduced a new edition that incorporates design and multimedia utilities: Acrobat 9 Professional Extended.


All editions of Acrobat can open PDF files for viewing. The advanced functions beyond Acrobat Reader include creating PDF files through a virtual PDF printer, inserting comments and annotations to PDF pages and exporting documents to text files or pictures (e.g., JPEG). Segments can be highlighted and copied or cropped to use in other applications. Multiple types of documents, such as spreadsheets, word processing files and pictures, can be combined into a single PDF file.

Acrobat Pro Features

Acrobat Professional features creating a professional portfolio of mixed document types using a design template for an integrated look. The program includes an advanced function to set up fields to create forms from scanned documents, Word or Excel files. Character recognition utilities built into Acrobat Pro translates scanned documents into editable text files. Users can distribute PDFs and track the comments and review progress among the team. Passwords and access rights can secure PDFs, as well as set printing controls.

Acrobat Pro Extended Features

The Pro Extended version includes the same functions as Acrobat Professional and adds four utility modules to the software: Adobe LiveCycle Designer ES, Adobe Presenter, Adobe 3D Reviewer and Adobe 3D Capture Utility. These utilities enable users to create a customized PDF portfolio of mixed media files containing spreadsheets, documents, drawings, video, audio and maps with a specific design theme and logos. Users can also insert video and media files into PDF files and Microsoft Office documents (i.e., Word, Excel and PowerPoint). PDF files with embedded media don't require specific software for playback because the video or audio is converted to an Adobe Flash file to run within the open PDF file. The utilities enhance the function of PowerPoint by adding interactive tools for quizzes and extend the privileges of reviewers to comment and digitally sign PDFs using only Acrobat Reader.


Adobe offers Acrobat Professional editions for Windows and Mac operating systems. Minimum system requirements for Windows include 1.3 GHz processor and Windows XP or Vista. Minimum system requirements for Mac operating systems include G4, G5 or Intel processors and OS 10.4 or higher. Acrobat Pro Extended only works on Windows computers with the same minimum system requirements as Acrobat Pro. As of April 2010, Adobe sells the full software for Acrobat 9 Professional for $449 or upgrade from an earlier version for $159); the full version of Acrobat 9 Professional Extended sells for $699 or $229 as an eligible upgrade. Windows users who incorporate multimedia and interactive components to documents and digital portfolios may find the additional modules in the Pro Extended edition valuable.