A full-featured PDF program is a must-have for any lawyer these days. But at a price tag of $449, Adobe Acrobat X Pro is a lot to pay for lawyers in solo and small firms. CutePDF Pro is a program that provides much of the same functionality as Acrobat Pro, but at a much-cheaper price — a budget-friendly $49.95.

You might want to act soon to take advantage of this price. The CutePDF website makes it appear that this price is a limited-time offer and that the normal price is $89.95. Plus, this price currently includes a second program, CutePDF Form Filler, which otherwise has a stand-alone price of $29.95.

I should mention here that, for the perfect price of $0, you can get the CutePDF Writer, an application that lets you print to PDF from any Windows program, but that offers no additional functionality.

CutePDF Pro integrates with the CutePDF Writer to provide an array of features comparable to Acrobat Pro. Using CutePDF Pro, you can:

  • Digitally sign PDF documents.
  • Scan documents to PDF.
  • Add Bates numbers to PDF documents.
  • Convert PDF documents to image files.
  • Extract, reorder and duplicate pages within PDF documents.
  • Type text anywhere on a PDF page.
  • Add notes, comments, highlights and other mark-ups to PDF documents.
  • Add passwords and set security options for documents.

The added Form Filler program lets you save interactive PDF documents to your computer and then fill them in and print them at your convenience.

Features You Don’t Get

At $400 less, CutePDF Pro does not give you everything you get in Acrobat Pro. Some of what Acrobat offers that CutePDF does not includes:

  • An OCR option when scanning into PDF.
  • The ability to convert PDF documents to Microsoft Word and Excel.
  • Version comparison.
  • Ability to create fillable PDF forms.
  • Various wizards and quick-action features.

One question I have is whether CutePDF complies with the PDF/A standard that the federal courts have said will be required at some future date. I could find nothing about this on the company’s website so I submitted the question through its support site and will let you know what I find out.

The bottom line is that you have a choice between a $449 program (less if you’re upgrading from an earlier version) and a $49.95 program. The cheaper program lacks some of the bells and whistles of its higher-priced rival, but it does most of what the typical lawyer would need — and it does it well.

Photo of Bob Ambrogi Bob Ambrogi

Bob is a lawyer, veteran legal journalist, and award-winning blogger and podcaster. In 2011, he was named to the inaugural Fastcase 50, honoring “the law’s smartest, most courageous innovators, techies, visionaries and leaders.” Earlier in his career, he was editor-in-chief of several legal publications, including The National Law Journal, and editorial director of ALM’s Litigation Services Division.