Edit PDFs with Free Access to Adobe Acrobat Pro for UNC Students and Faculty

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Whereas most users access PDFs via free programs such as Adobe Reader that do not allow editing, Adobe Acrobat Pro gives users full control over editing PDF files. UNC Law students may not be aware that Acrobat Pro is available to them (and all UNC students and faculty) at no cost, because the process for acquiring the software involves a few extra steps which are not immediately obvious. However, students who go through the process of acquiring Acrobat Pro will likely find it well worth it to have access to the tools it provides during law school.


Using Adobe Acrobat Pro, one can perform tasks such as:

  • combining separate PDFs into one file
  • adding, removing, editing, or rearranging pages, text, and images
  • copying text from a PDF for pasting into another document without line breaks or messy formatting
  • creating forms that others (such as clinic clients or student organization members) can electronically fill out
  • redacting sensitive text and removing document metadata/properties for court filings or other privacy purposes.


Adobe Acrobat Pro DC is part of the Adobe Creative Cloud suite of applications. It can be installed on Macs, Windows PCs, and mobile devices. Follow the instructions provided here by UNC’s Information Technology Services to get access to Adobe Creative Cloud.

The first step of the process described on the ITS instruction page may be the most confusing for students, so we’ll provide additional explanation here.

You’ll start by clicking the “Order Adobe CC” link on the instruction page. This takes you to UNC’s Software Acquisition portal, where you’ll select the Adobe Creative Cloud software, add it to a Shopping Cart, and click the Check Out button. (Don't worry—the software is free for students despite this check-out process.) This will trigger an initial confirmation email from UNC ITS, though you’ll get a notice that you may have to wait up to 5 business days for an email from Adobe informing you that you now have access to download Adobe Creative Cloud for Enterprise. (In our experience, the Adobe notification has arrived on the same day.)

Once you receive your confirmation email from Adobe, you can proceed with following the rest of the ITS instructions to sign in and download the Adobe Creative Cloud installer on your computer.

After you download and open the Adobe Creative Cloud Setup app, you can select  only “Acrobat DC” from the list of apps to install and proceed with the installation process. (Many other Adobe apps, such as Photoshop and InDesign, are also available for installation if desired.)

After opening a PDF in Acrobat Pro DC, you can click on Edit PDF to access the software’s advanced editing features. You can search for the tool you’re looking for or click Help to access learning tutorials and support pages.

Posted by Sara M. Farnsworth on Wed. March 27, 2019 9:56 AM
Categories: Uncategorized

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