Direct Replacement for Adobe Acrobat Standard XI (and then some). Two installations per license allowed. Works with Windows, Mac, and Linux.

A Review On: PDF Studio 12 - Advanced PDF Editor for Windows - Pro Edition [Download]

PDF Studio 12 - Advanced PDF Editor for Windows - Pro Edition [Download]

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Price paid: $129.00
Lady Fitzgerald
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Pros: Is not subscription and cloud based. Works well. Less expensive than Adobe Acrobat Standard.

Cons: GUI is different from Acrobat and has a bit of a learning curve. GUI looks more primitive than Acrobat's. Will not read PDFs in IE 11.

I have found Adobe Acrobat to be an essential program for editing PDFs and for creating PDFs with more options than a simple virtual printer. Adobe Acrobat was also needed to be able to scan directly with my old Fujitsu S1500 duplexing ADF scanner (which included a copy of Acrobat Standard 9 when I bought it). However, the latest version of Acrobat Standard, XI, reaches its EOL 10/152017. Its replacement, 12 DC, is now cloud and subscription based. I do not want cloud based software since it will be useless if my internet connection is down and I have privacy and security concerns. Also, Adobe's subscription pricing is far higher in the long run so Adobe can just stuff it.

Since there was no way I was going to downgrade to 12 DC, I first replaced my old s1500, which was still working just fine (mutter, mutter, mumble, mumble), with the newer Fujitsu ix500 scanner, which recently was changed to use Nuance Power PDF Standard instead of Adobe Acrobat. Sadly, Nuance (more like Nuisance) Power PDF Standard is inferior to Acrobat Standard so I still needed a PDF creation and editing program to replace Acrobat Standard. Since I will be switching to Linux by the time Windows 7 reaches EOL 01/14/2020, I also wanted a replacement for Acrobat that had versions for both Windows and Linux.

PDF Studio 12 Pro meets my criteria for an Acrobat Standard replacement (and then some). I had to get the Pro version Of PDF Studio 12 to be able to get all the features I depend on in Acrobat Standard but it still costs less in the long run than a downgrade to version 12. It does have a bit of a learning curve since the GUI is different than Acrobat and some features are accessed a bit differently than in Acrobat, although, overall it is a bit easier to use than Acrobat once I got used to it (which didn't take long). For example, one notable difference between PDF Studio and Acrobat is page rotation has to be done in the preview pane on the left side of the PDF Studio window whereas in Acrobat it is done from the dropdown Tool menu on the right side of the Acrobat window. PDF Studio's method is easier to use. Also, I used Acrobat on my right monitor (I use three monitors) but Acrobat insists on putting all popup menus on the left monitor (which is seriously annoying). PDF Studio puts its popup menus on the same monitor it is using, which is far more convenient.

One feature that was dropped from Acrobat Standard that is included in PDF Studio Pro is Optimization. Optimization is the ability to reduce the size of a PDF file without reducing resolution. It came in handy when creating large PDFs consisting of multiple .jpgs. Some of those PDFs could be huge unless optimized.

I did pick up one feature I will probably use that is not available in Acrobat Standard. I can start with a blank document in PDF Studio and build a document from scratch, including pasting in images and typing in text. One has to create new documents in another program, such as Word, when using Acrobat Standard. Adding text (aka markups) to PDFs and later editing the markups is simpler in PDF Studio than it is in Acrobat (once I found out how to do it). There are other added features I haven't explored yet.

PDF Studio comes out with new versions every two years but each version has no expiration date, or EOL, like Acrobat does.

One somewhat annoying downside to PDF Studio is it takes a little longer to load than Acrobat did (four seconds longer, the same speed as MS Word). However, Acrobat achieved its faster load time by cheating; it partially loads when the computer first boots up. Since PDF Studio doesn't cheat, it has a smaller footprint than Acrobat. I just found out that you can set PDF Studio Pro 12 to run in the background, almost the same as Adobe Acrobat did, the only difference is the first time you access PDF Studio Pro 12 after rebooting, it takes the same amount of time to access it as before but, after that, access is almost instantaneous.

PDF Studio has a free PDF viewer. You can order PDF Studio 12 from Amazon or directly from PDF Studio's website (I recommend the latter). PDF Studio also has a 30 day free trial period. I played with the trial version for a couple of weeks before pulling the trigger.

For more information PDF Studio, to order it or to download the full featured trial version, go directly to their website.

Overall, I'm very happy with PDF Studio 12 Pro. I would have given it a full five stars if the manual was a bit clearer (I had to get clarification on one item from their tech support) and it opened up a bit faster.

Edit: I just found out that PDF Studio Pro does not have an Add On for reading PDFs in IE11. I had to download and install Adobe Acrobat Reader DC, enable it in Add Ons I IE 11, the block uploads and downloads from it in my firewall. That cost PDF Studio half a star in the review. I found Foxit Reader has an Add On for reading PDFs in IE11, allowing me to uninstall Acrobat Reader (I'm working on completely divorcing myself from Adobe as much as possible). It's pathetic that a program I paid for doesn't have the ability to read PDFs in IE 11 when there are free readers that do.

Edit 2: Version 12.0.1 just came out and a few minor bugs have been debugged and a few new features have been added. One new feature (or bug fix) I find useful is the ability to convert multipage TIFFs to PDFs that include all pages of the TIFF, not just the first page only. That alone is enough for an added half star.

4 Comments:

Thanks for the informative review. I have Adobe Acrobat Standard and I find it somewhat annoying. Furthermore, I intend to move to Linux when Windows 7 support gets dropped & Microsoft can blow me for thinking they can make me adopt Windows 10... Anyway, thanks. I'm about to check out PDF Studio 12 & download the trial.
Good luck with it. Hope you like it.
I downloaded the Free version, looks to be as good as Nitro Reader. although with much the same limitations.

For the majority of Home users, a Reader is all that's needed anyway.
Just to clarify to others, a PDF reader is pretty much just that: a reader. The better ones will have some enhancements, such as limited markup capability (markups are added comments, highlighted text, etc.). However, once a marked up document has been saved, the markup usually cannot be edited by the reader. For simple PDF creation, a free virtual printer, such as PDFCreator, is a quick solution that will be adequate for most people but it will have limitations, such as setting the page size of the PDFs (most will default to letter size only). I use PDFCreator sometimes when making a letter sized copies of something like a simple online receipt because it is faster with fewer steps but it is subject to occasional errors, such as unwanted image rotation.

For creating PDFs where the page size of each page will be different, needs to be generated from multiple sources (such as combining various files of different sizes and file types such .pdf, .jpg, .docx, etc.), page rotation, cropping PDF pages, inserting, replacing, and deleting pages, rearranging the order of pages, etc., a full blow PDF editor, such as Adobe Acrobat or PDF Studio is necessary.

I like PDFs because they are cross platform and preserve document formatting that may or may not be readable on another computer that doesn't have the same program or program version that created the original document. I can combine documents, such as an online receipt and photos of labels on a product that show the model and serial number of the product, into one easy and fast to read document that is stable (images won't move around like they can do in a Word doc, for example). I used to feel I didn't need a full blown PDF creation and editing program until I got one (Adobe Acrobat Standard) that came with my first duplexing (scans both sides at once) ADF (Automatic Document Feed) scanner and found out how useful and versatile PDFs can be (I keep my home "office" as paperless as possible). PDFs are a good format for printer ready, final drafts in desktop publishing. Also, PDFs are easily encrypted.

I used to due a lot of music arranging for a female, a capella band I used to have that performed at Renaissance Festivals. The sheet music was created on professional music notation program which saved the music in a proprietary format (.mus) that required the original (and expensive) music notation program or a dedicated reader to read and print it. Converting the .mus files to .pdf allowed anyone to read and print the sheet music without being able to alter it.

PFF Studio Pro 12 is not for everyone. As cat1092 pointed out, a reader will be adequate for most people. For people who just want simple, basic PDF creation, such as for an online receipt, a virtual printer will be enough for most people.