“Can you save that as a pdf and send it to me?”  Heard this lately?  I know I sure have and most people who do any kind of business on a computer would probably agree.  Adobe Acrobat has become the standard in non-editable document sharing.  Even though Apple famously banned flash player from its devices and led the march to its eventual demise, Adobe has still instated Acrobat as an iPad app.  While many of the same functions can be performed through iBooks, Acrobate has a few hidden gems that may make it a worthwhile download – especially for free.

The Difference
If you do not have Acrobat installed on your iPad, but have opened a PDF document before, chances are you were using iBooks.  iBooks is a very well made and perfectly fine app to use for such a purpose, in fact Acrobat would be the alternative since iBooks is the Native Apple documents app.  However there are a couple of things Acrobat can do that iBooks cannot.

First, Acrobat can request a digital signature by using Adobe EchoSign.  In order to use this functionality, you must first upload the document to Adobe.  The app will notify you that you will be taken to a website – where you can enter the From: and To: recipient(s) for the email.  This is great for long distance contractual signing such as leases or other agreements.

The second difference is the speed at which documents open on the iPad.  iBooks can usually take a few minutes to do this same task, but Acrobat offers a speedy alternative.  The third difference is the ability to add virtual sticky notes to the PDF document.  This comes in handy for editing or simply bookmarking a piece of a document.  The note will be tagged with your name which you enter the first time you add a sticky note.  Each note will also have the date the comment was added.  This makes for great time based collaboration.  Highlighting is also available in Adobe Acrobat and works by simply tapping the highlight symbol at the top of the page and dragging over a set of text.  Drag again to unhighlight.  Text can also be highlighted or stricken out.   Even better – there is an option to freehand draw over the document.  This can come in handy for circling sections to be remembered or simply an easier method to underline or cross out text. Finally, adding a signature directly on a document is a breeze.

This can be done to bypass the EchoSign functionality and get something signed fast and easy.  All of these editing capabilities are not present in iBooks, and therefore a great case can be made to download and install Adobe Acrobat.

With all of the capability of iBooks as far as PDFs go, and an added suite of editing and signing tools, there is no reason I can think of as to why one would not want to have this app looming in the background of your iPad’s app pile.  I enjoy adding signatures and other edits to PDFs knowing I will be able to go back and access them on demand.  For these reasons, Adobe Acrobat gets a 10/10.  Go get it!