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Adobe Acrobat Pro Licensing

This article applies to: Software Licensing

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Acrobat Pro DC requires an individual (Named-User) license.

If you had been using Acrobat Pro without signing in and are now being prompted to do so, you may have been using an earlier version of Acrobat Pro that had been activated under a Device License. Adobe no longer offers Device Licensing, and all of our old Serial Numbers have expired. We recommend that you work with your local department's IT support team to update the version of Acrobat Pro DC that's installed on your computer, and to obtain an individual Named-User license.

Adobe Acrobat Pro is a fully-featured PDF manager. With it, you can open, create, and edit documents in PDF format.

Many people will find that they can work with PDFs using only free tools, although some advanced features can only be found in Adobe Acrobat Pro. See our Working with PDFs Comparison Table before purchasing Adobe Acrobat Pro.

Please see our Adobe Licensing FAQ article for answers to specific licensing questions. 


Cornell University has an Enterprise Term License Agreement (ETLA) for Adobe Acrobat Pro. This license is available to Cornell University staff and faculty who have a business need for the software. Eligible Cornell employees will be granted a Named-User license for Acrobat Pro on an individual, as-need basis. This license is funded centrally, and there is no cost to the individual customer.

The license covers Cornell employees located at the Cornell Ithaca campus, the Cornell Tech campus in New York City, and off-campus Cornell-owned facilities that are associated with colleges on the Ithaca Campus and Tech Campus. Employees of the following Cornell-affiliated organizations are also eligible for a license: The Boyce Thompson Institute for Plant Research, Cornell Cooperative Extension, the NY State Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva NY, the ROTC Program at Cornell University, and the USDA facility at the Robert W. Holley Center.

Acrobat Pro is also included with a Named-User license for the Creative Cloud All Apps Plan under Cornell's Enterprise Term License Agreement (ETLA). Cornell personnel with a Named-User license for the Creative Cloud All Apps Plan do not need an additional Acrobat Pro license. For more information about the full Adobe Creative Cloud license, please see our Creative Cloud Licensing article.  

The Weill Cornell Medical College has its own independent license agreement for Adobe products, and is not covered by this license. Weill personnel should contact their local Technical Support Provider or Weill Information Technology Services for more information about Weill's Adobe licensing.

Students at Cornell University are not covered by Acrobat Pro Named-User licensing, and may not receive individual access rights to the software.

Apply for Individual (Named-User) License

While there is no fee for the license, eligible customers must have a Cornell business need to use the software. Determination of whether an individual has a business need is left to the individual's department. License approval can take up to 5 business days. (Most requests are approved by the next business day.)

Adobe Acrobat Pro licenses are assigned only at departmental request. If you need an Acrobat Pro license, please ask your local departmental Technical Support Provider (TSP) or your manager to submit a request for a license on your behalf. Your manager or TSP can then submit the request via email to:

The request from your department needs to include the following information:

  • Customer's Name (the person needing the license)
  • Customer's NetID
  • A brief description of the customer's Cornell business responsibilities that require working with PDF documents in a way that cannot be accomplished with free PDF reader applications, such as Acrobat Reader or Apple Preview, or with the PDF capabilities of Microsoft Office.

After your application has been approved, Adobe will send you a confirmation that you have been added to the license. If you have not previously registered your “” email address as an Adobe ID, you will be prompted to set a password. If you had previously used this address as an Adobe ID but have forgotten the password, click the “Forgot Password” link on the sign-in page. Do not use the same password that you use for your NetID.

If you need to access to Acrobat Pro immediately, you may use it under Adobe's seven-day trial license. After approval, Acrobat Pro should switch automatically from the Trial License to the ETLA. 

Download and Activation

If you need Acrobat Pro DC installed on your Cornell-provided computer, please work with your department's local IT support team. Most end-users do not have sufficient access rights to install Acrobat Pro DC without the assistance of local IT support.

Previous Versions

Versions of Acrobat Pro prior to the release of Creative Cloud, such as Acrobat Pro XI or earlier, are no longer supported by Adobe, and are considered to be insecure. If you had been using Acrobat Pro XI or earlier, please upgrade to the current release at your earliest convenience. 

Home Use

Your Acrobat Pro DC Named-User license allows you to install Acrobat Pro DC onto any number of computers, whether they are owned by Cornell or are your personal property. You may have any two installations activated under your Adobe ID at a time, meaning that they will not prompt for sign-in at launch. You may have Acrobat Pro DC open on any one computer at a time. If you need to use Acrobat Pro DC on a third computer, you will be prompted to remotely sign out of other locations. To install Acrobat Pro DC onto a computer that is your personal property, you can download an installer directly from Adobe.


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