Not too long ago Adobe held a series of expert sessions to address common questions and answers about the Creative Cloud offering, which is new on the scene since the release of CS6…
We took careful notes plus have expanded the content, and thought we’d share with you below what was learned in those sessions from the Adobe Evangelists.
If you have any questions at all about the Creative Cloud that are not answered here, just leave them in the comments below and we’ll get answers!
[UPDATE (June 2013) – Adobe's new "CC" app release is out! So all Creative Cloud members will now receive the latest CC versions of the tools in addition to CS6 as described below.]
[ Which is right for you? See also: Creative Suite 6 vs. Creative Cloud ]
What’s in the Creative Cloud, and how does it work?
Q: Which desktop applications are in the Creative Cloud, exactly?
The Adobe Creative Cloud
of the new CS6 tools (the entire CS6 Master Collection
), as well as Lightroom 4
, Adobe Muse
, and Adobe Edge Preview
. Services included are Typekit
, Business Catalyst
, Story Plus
, Digital Publishing Suite Single Edition
, Behance ProSite
, 20GB of cloud storage, plus file syncing, sharing, and browsing across systems and devices.
Q: How does it work? How is it different from buying the Creative Suite applications outright in the traditional way?
The Creative Cloud is membership-based. When you purchase a membership
, you are granted access to any or all of the products and services included in the Creative Cloud offering, and can use them for as long as you remain a member. You will have ongoing access to the latest versions
of all of the Cloud components as long as your membership is active and current. For our traditional perpetually-licensed (or boxed) software, you make discrete purchases of single products and can use them indefinitely; however major upgrades to newer releases are separate and an additional cost.
Q: Does someone have to own a previous Adobe product to get the Creative Cloud? Or, if someone does own an older product, do they have to get the Cloud now – or can they upgrade normally as in the past?
Ownership of prior Adobe software is not required to join the Creative Cloud, and if you do own a prior product then you may also be able to upgrade to a perpetual version of CS6 (a discounted traditional license) depending on how old your software is
Q: So signing up on the Cloud has nothing to do with upgrading my license?
That is correct. When you sign up for Creative Cloud you have no upfront costs as you are joining a membership with access to its features for as long as your paid membership is active. It’s different than buying or upgrading with the regular purchasing model
Q: If I sign up for Creative Cloud, do I have to install all of the applications or can I just download and take the ones I want and will use?
You can select any or all of them – you have the freedom to choose
which applications you want to install.
Q: How much is the Creative Cloud “worth”? In other words, what is the total value of all the Adobe tools and programs included in a membership?
Well, the presence of the 15 major applications in the CS6 Master Collection
accounts for about US$8,000
. Then including more tools and services like Lightroom, Muse, Digital Publishing Suite Single Edition, Business Catalyst, Edge, Behance ProSite, Typekit, PhoneGap Build, and Story Plus, and you’re probably talking close to US$10,000 in value in the Creative Cloud.
How much does it cost, what plans are available?
Q: What are the different pricing options for Creative Cloud?
A: There are two plans
: month-to-month and annual. The month-to-month is US$74.99 per month and can be canceled or suspended at any time, while the annual plan is US$49.99 per month with a yearly commitment. With the annual plan you can cancel within that year, but you will need to pay a early termination fee to do so. For both membership plans your method of payment is charged monthly, and is auto-renewing by default.
Q: Is there a way to sign up for just a single application (like Photoshop or After Effects), if I don’t want to get the full suite of tools at this time?
Yes, via a Single-App Membership
, which is US$19.99/month on an annual basis, or US$29.99 month-to-month.
Q: Are there any offers available to “upgrade” to the Creative Cloud for current Creative Suite customers?
Existing customers who have a qualified registered CS3, CS4, CS5, CS5.5, or CS6 individual product or suite edition and who sign up for the complete Creative Cloud annual plan directly from Adobe will receive special introductory pricing
of US$29.99 per month for the first year of membership. This offer is not available for education, OEM, or volume licensing customers.
Q: Is there also a student or education plan for the Creative Cloud?
Q: I heard there is a free level of membership for the Creative Cloud – is that true? Can I access the Cloud without being a paying member?
Yes. The free membership
will provide you with access to the powerful online file syncing, sharing, and browsing features, with 2GB of storage space instead of 20GB, plus free levels of Adobe services, and access to 30-day free trials of all CS6 applications and other Adobe desktop applications, such as Adobe Edge Preview and Adobe Muse.
Q: For existing CS customers, can I buy more than one Creative Cloud membership if I have more than one older tool?
Yes, it’s one membership per qualifying product. So you could buy two Creative Cloud memberships if you have two eligible serial numbers. Each Creative Cloud membership is tied to an Adobe ID
– so you would just have to buy those memberships using two different Adobe IDs.
If I have an Acrobat Pro
license, can I get the Creative Cloud for $30?
A: No, the $29.99/month offer applies to customers who have a valid, registered version of an individual application or suite edition of CS3, CS4, CS5, CS5.5, or CS6. We won’t honor Acrobat licenses for this offer.
Q: How much do you think that the Creative Cloud will go up to monthly after the year at $30 a month? After the first year if you are a CS owner now, the price goes up to $50/month for yearly or $75 a month by month? Is that accurate?
We aren’t anticipating any major price jumps, but that is one of the differences between subscribing and buying the product outright. If you own a previous product, you are eligible for intro pricing
at $29.99/month for the first year – after that, you will automatically renew at the standard market price of $49.99/month for the annual plan, or can choose the $74.99/month for the month-to-month plan. With the month-to-month plan you have the flexibility to turn it off and on as your business needs dictate.
Does Creative Cloud include the Adobe Touch apps
, or just integration of the Touch apps with the cloud? At first I thought it said with my $50/month 1-year subscription, I get all the touch apps included. Then I noticed I have to buy 3 qualifying apps? I already purchased Photoshop Touch for iPad.
The Touch apps (including Adobe Photoshop Touch, Proto, Kuler, Debut, Collage, and Ideas) are integrated with Creative Cloud, but are not included. We have a special offer for customers
who sign up for the Creative Cloud annual plan and then connect to the cloud from three qualifying Touch apps – if you do this, we will give you a free month, extending your membership by 30 days.
Q: Is there a free trial available for the Creative Cloud itself?
Yes – there is a 30-day free tryout of Creative Cloud
that includes the entire offering. You can download and use any or all applications and services free for one month. After the trial period is over, you can continue full access by converting to a Creative Cloud paid membership, either annual or month-to-month. You can also choose to purchase your same installed desktop applications with regular perpetual (permanent) licensing, and continue with a free level of membership to the Creative Cloud.
Q: Is there a “rent to own” option for Creative Cloud, where the subscription fees I pay can be applied later towards the cost of a fully-owned Creative Suite product? In other words, after I’ve joined for a certain amount of time, do I get to keep the software, or receive a discount on buying the permanent version and returning to traditional licensing?
A: No, sorry, there is no such program.
Q: Where can I buy the Creative Cloud?
Why choose Creative Cloud compared to traditional licensing?
Q: I like the Cloud, the only thing is if you aren’t using the full Master Suite, doesn’t the cost of the cloud end up being more in the long run?
The Creative Cloud is more than the CS6 desktop apps – it is a complete digital hub
where you can explore, create, share, and deliver your work using any of the Creative Suite tools, Lightroom 4, and new applications like Adobe Muse and Edge, as well as connect with the Adobe Touch Apps
and deliver high-impact content experiences such as interactive websites and digital magazines. You’ll also get CS6.5, CS7
and any other updates to our apps and services as part of your monthly fee, so you’ll never have to worry about upgrade cycles again.
Q: Why choose Creative Cloud if I already own my Adobe apps? Customers who have previously bought apps that are included in the cloud should be credited that value towards their monthly fee.
Creative Cloud gives you access to the majority of CS6 apps, while a CS6 suite purchase would only be the apps in that suite
. So if you purchase Design Premium you wouldn’t have the video tools. If you purchase the video suite, you wouldn’t get publishing tools. Creative Cloud users get all products. Also we are offering introductory pricing
to the Creative Cloud
until August 31st now extended
. If you are a current CS customer – meaning you own a CS3, CS4, CS5, CS5.5, or CS6 product – and subscribe to the annual plan, you will get your first year for $29.99/month.
What I wish Adobe did was to make a cloud version for each of the Creative Suites. It would have been more reasonable for those who don’t need the Master Suite
… For those of us who really only need Design Standard, it makes it too expensive compared to what we need.
The philosophy behind Creative Cloud is to provide a complete, end-to-end offering that take you creative idea all the way through to publishing
. It’s much more than the suite offering.
Q: Can I upgrade from a Cloud subscription to a perpetual license?
A: There are no discounts for perpetual licenses for subscription customers.
Q: What happens if I sign up for the Creative Cloud and then after my term is up, Adobe decides to raise the monthly subscription price to a higher rate that I can’t afford?
A: We do not have any plans to increase the prices, although no guarantees could be made. However, one of our primary goals with the Creative Cloud is to make our industry-leading tools and services affordable and accessible to a wider audience, so definitely factor that into your equation on how likely price increases or decreases would be.
Q: If I purchase CS6 as a packaged product, do I still get access to Creative Cloud? Or is there a Creative Cloud price plan for owners of CS6?
You should either buy the boxed/download version of CS6, or sign up for Creative Cloud membership. If you buy the boxed product, you can still create a free Creative Cloud membership
that will give you 2GB of online space to collaborate, sync, store, and share on devices, desktop and web, plus community components.
Can I install the regular Creative Suite 6 trials
or discs, but then get a Creative Cloud subscription instead without reinstalling the software? Or can I try the free Creative Cloud trial or membership, but then purchase the permanent CS6 applications instead without having to reinstall?
A: Yes, and yes
. The desktop products are the same – it’s only the licensing method which is different – so either way will work.
Q: Are there any good resources to help me decide which path to choose?
What happens if I cancel my Creative Cloud membership?
Q: Say you subscribe to Creative Cloud for a month, download the apps you need and then stop the CC membership, aren’t you getting the Creative Suite (for example) for just $75? I’m guessing there’s a minimum subscription length?
No, because once your membership is cancelled, you will no longer have access to the applications
. A month-to-month subscription would give you the ability to turn off and on as needed, rather than committing to a 12-month contract. Both membership types are paid for on a monthly basis.
Q: So does that mean I have to continue to maintain my subscription indefinitely for my Adobe products to run and my projects to open? What if I cancel the subscription, and I already have the programs installed?
If you cancel your Creative Cloud membership, then access to all applications and services will cease, except for those included generally
in the free level of membership. This is because product activation is tied to your Adobe account ID (and its membership status), instead of a fixed serial number. All memberships are set to auto-renew
by default to help ensure ongoing access to your products and services.
Q: Is it easy to manage my Creative Cloud subscription online? (i.e., change, upgrade, renew, or cancel my membership)
Q: If I change my mind after starting a Creative Cloud subscription, can I get a refund?
If it’s within the first 30 days, then your Cloud membership would be covered under our standard return policy
. After that point, no refund would be issued.
Q: Are there any cancellation fees if I subscribe to the annual plan for Creative Cloud and then cancel it before the full year is up?
Yes, if you end your membership before meeting the 12-month commitment date, you will be charged 50% of the remaining amount left on your contract. For example, if you stop your annual membership after six months, your early termination fee
would be one half of the remaining six months left – or three months at the regular rate.
Q: Are there options besides renting for those of us who only use Photoshop once in a while, but absolutely need it? Is there a flat fee for a PS upgrade?
Yes, you can still buy Photoshop the way you’re used to, if you don’t want to subscribe… You can get CS6 traditional software and pay a flat fee, just like usual – pricing is available on the website
If you canceled your month-to-month membership and would like to restart it, you will need to either restart your membership on your Account page
, or buy a new membership.
Q: If I cancel my Creative Cloud trial or membership, what will happen to the fully-licensed CS applications that I own?
A: The two models coexist independently, and use different models for product validation (Adobe ID account login vs. traditional serial number). So discontinuing your subscription to the Creative Cloud will not impact any perpetual licenses (using license keys) that you may have installed.
Is Internet access required? Do the apps run over the network?
Q: Are the applications stored locally or on the cloud? What’s the recommended minimum connection speed required to effectively use the cloud-based software?
The desktop applications are downloaded and run on your local system. They do not actually “run in the cloud.”
The Creative Cloud subscription is just an option for licensing these products, but they are not web applications.
Q: Can I use the Creative Cloud tools without Internet access?
All Creative Cloud applications must connect to Internet once every three months
to validate your membership. However, you’ll have all of the CS6 apps on your desktop and do not need to be connected to the Internet to use them on a daily basis. If you want to use the services, or the sync, store, and share features, then you must be online.
Q: Does this mean I always need an Internet connection to use apps when I’m with the Cloud? Or I don’t need to be connected to the Internet the entire time?
No, most of the applications are desktop apps which will run locally
on your system. You install the desktop apps on your computer and do not need to be connected to the Internet to use them – annual members only need to be online once every 99 days so that we can validate your membership. You do need to be online to use the services
that come with Creative Cloud, but not any of the tools like Photoshop, Illustrator, etc.
Q: Can you be “locked out” of apps you downloaded if your monthly payment does not clear for some reason?
A: We provide you with a grace period if your credit card stops working or expires. You would be notified and given about five days to fix the issues. You will not be cut off immediately or without warning.
How are Creative Cloud updates, upgrades, and versions managed?
If a new version of Adobe Acrobat comes out, say Acrobat XI Pro
, will Creative Cloud members receive it automatically?
A: Yes, it is our intention to roll out all new versions of included applications to current Cloud members once they become generally available.
Q: How often will Adobe be updating or adding new features to the applications in Creative Cloud?
Are Cloud members required to install the upgrades? If we wish to keep or remain at a certain version of a particular program (like for stability or file compatibility
or other reasons), can we? Or will everyone have to upgrade regardless?
If I get on the Creative Cloud, how long will we have access to CS6, if CS7 is out? I read that CS6 would only be available for a certain period after CS7 comes out
. This is a big problem, especially with InDesign which (due to the messy backsaving via IDML) we need to keep every version ever made on our machines. Also I’m sometimes asked to teach OLD versions of software! It would be a dealbreaker if all versions offered via the cloud membership weren’t available for dealing with multiple clients needs.
When the next version comes out the Adobe Application Manager
will show you the new version, but there will be a drop down menu to download previous major versions (back to and including CS6). We’ll keep an archive of older versions in place, and those prior versions can be downloaded by Creative Cloud members at any time. So older versions will always be available
through the AAM.
Say if a current CCM user wants to continue to be able to run InDesign CS6 for compatibility reasons with their colleagues even after InDesign CS7 or CS8 comes out – will their Cloud subscription (via their Adobe ID login) continue to permit them to use/license it – even in year 2014 and beyond? In other words, for all software already downloaded and installed, can subscribers use it indefinitely – or will their product activation ever invalidate? Many of we longtime Adobe users keep multiple releases on our machines at once for occasional need, especially for file format compatibility
. So I think this is an important question as the Creative Cloud evolves and more versions come out though the years.
Your Adobe ID will continue to allow usage even in 2014 and beyond. So yes, older versions (including perpetual licenses) will continue to be usable and can live side-by-side
with newer versions. Products will not be invalidated, and at the same time you can continue to download and use earlier releases via Creative Cloud as described in the previous answer.
Q: It says that the applications in the Cloud will be enhanced by Adobe on an ongoing basis. My situation is that my customers must be able to use the INDD and PS files I create. I’d like to consider the cloud, but can’t if they will not be able to use my files. If new features or updates are installed from the Creative Cloud, does that mean that a file created could not be opened by a non-cloud user in CS6?
A: Installing updates is optional
, and whether a someone not running the latest Cloud versions could open your saved file really depends on the application.
Q: Will there be auto-updating offered as well?
A: Yes, there is an automatic update mechanism, so when updates are released you will be notified – but the application manager will not update or upgrade any software without your go-ahead.
How many computers, platforms, and/or languages can I run on?
Q: How many computers can I install the Creative Cloud on? Or put another way, on how many systems can you run the software downloaded from a Cloud membership?
A: Similar to the terms
for our traditional perpetually-licensed software, you can activate the cloud on up to two computers
– a primary and a backup (or secondary) machine. However, you can’t be running an application on both machines at the same time, in accordance with our end user licensing agreement.
Q: For customers that own a PC and a Mac, can those computers have different operating systems? In other words, can I run a Creative Cloud membership on both Mac OS and Windows, in a platform-independent way?
Yes, definitely – you’ll also have access to both the Mac OS and Windows versions
of the applications, so if you have a Mac and a PC you’ll be covered with one membership and can install all
the software on both
platforms. The same thing goes for Adobe’s new Single-App Subscriptions
(where you can get, say, just the latest Photoshop for $19 a month) – with those you are also
able to install and run your product on both operating systems, Windows and Mac OS.
Q: So we can have two installs, can we have say Photoshop on one and InDesign open on another computer at the same time?
You can run as many applications as you want on one computer at one time, but not on multiple computers at the same time. In other words, you cannot run the software simultaneously
on two or more computers at once. Read more about this here
Q: Can one user be running Dreamweaver on one computer and another user Premiere Pro on the other at the same time, being different apps?
Q: Can you disable on one computer to make it available on another? How hard is to change computers?
Q: Here’s my situation: I have a desktop on which I would install CS6 in English. I also have a laptop that I use for teaching in French… So, with one membership I guess I need two installations in two different languages: how will I be able to work in my situation? Do I need two memberships?
Creative Cloud membership is platform and language agnostic – you can use the products in any language
and any platform, you dont need to buy two memberships. In other words, you get access to any language version in which the CS6 and other desktop applications are available, giving you the freedom and flexibility to choose whichever languages work best for you
in any given application.
Q: Can I have a regular install and Creative Cloud on same computer?
Q: What happens if you go abroad – does being in a different location disable a Creative Cloud license?
A: No, your CC membership is based from your home country so you can travel without any worries. Your access to your Creative Cloud service will not experience any interruption, plus your desktop apps will already be downloaded on your desktop for your use.
For multiple users – is there volume licensing for groups/teams?
Q: Instead of buying multiple Creative Cloud sebscriptions, can we buy a server license so that creative cloud will work on all computers on a server?
With an individual membership, your licence is for one person. We have a team offering coming out later this year
, for group licensing. When the team offering becomes available, you can buy as many seats as you like, have features that are designed for groups and admin tools needed to manage all of the various seats, etc. We will be providing more details on team licensing later in 2012.
Q: Can someone sign a multi-year fixed price contract… like a lease?
A: Not with the individual membership. If you sign up for an annual plan, your price will be fixed for 12 months, it definitely won’t change during that year. We are still working out the details of our volume offering, so not sure about multi-year fixed pricing for teams.
Q: If we need 10 Cloud users should I wait for Team? Can we do individual and then switch to the volume offer later? Is $70 for one seat of team, or multiple?
A: It is $69.99/month per seat. We are looking into the possibility of migrating individual memberships into a team membership, but have not announced anything specific about this.
Q: Why more for team?
You will get additional features, admin tools and more. You will find out more later this fall when we announce the details of the offering
Q: Is there any way to be alerted to the Team offerings when they’re rolled out?
What can I do with storage/sharing/syncing features in the Cloud?
Q: How much online storage is provided in the Creative Cloud?
The free level of membership
gives you 2 gigabytes of storage to use in any way you like, including sharing and syncing Adobe project and data files. All paid membership plans give you 20 gigabytes.
Q: As a freelancer, can I use Creative Cloud Storage to create private folders for clients to download review files?
Q: Can people without Photoshop see the PSD files when shared in the Cloud?
Yes they can see the preview in their web browser
(including turning on/off layers or viewing relevant metadata); they do not need to have Photoshop installed or be Creative Cloud members themselves.
Q: If a client does not have Photoshop, can they print from the viewer?
Q: Do you need to worry about others changing your Cloud files, or are changes prohibited by others?
A: When you share files using Creative Cloud, those you share with can only comment on and/or download – they can’t change your original file.
Q: And with Creative Cloud once it is installed on my hard-drive and synchronized, I can edit the file and it will update to the cloud??
Yes, if you set up auto-sycing, it will. There will soon be an app called Creative Cloud Connection
that is your desktop sync client.
Q: With auto-syncing, will it update the folders on another system? In other words, is it possible to have other people have access to a specific Cloud-folder – and with the access, also be able to have the folder auto-synced on their own hard drive?
A: The invidivual offering really won’t provide this level of customization of file sharing with others. We are looking into features like that with our team offering
Q: So we need to save all aspects prior to syncing with the cloud when we are in workflow with Premiere and AE?
A: There are no Creative Cloud specific features for Premiere Pro and After Effects.
Q: For the video applications like Premiere Pro, can we store project files, etc., on the cloud with data on our local system, and work that way?
A: There are no specific storage and sharing features built into the video applications in the current Creative Cloud. But, yes, you can choose to put video files on network storage.
Q: Can you buy additional space on the Cloud? Can you purchase more than the 20GB that is allocated?
Q: What else can I do with the files stored online in the Creative Cloud?
In addition to file storage, sharing, and syncing features
, you can view thumbnails and larger previews of creative files, and you can step through Illustrator art boards plus InDesign and PDF pages in the browser. You can also sync directly with Adobe Touch Apps and desktop applications to enable a seamless workflow between tablet and desktop.
Q: How secure is the Creative Cloud? How well are my files and data protected?
Applications: What’s not included – and what’s coming soon?
Q: What is the relation between CC and Digital Publishing Suite?
Q: Is there an ETA when the single edition DPS will be added to CC?
Can’t give the exact date, but
within the next few months it’s here now!
Q: Will Digital Publishing Suite for Android be added to Creative Cloud?
A: DPS Single Edition in Creative Cloud will be for iOS initially. The intention is to include publishing for Android in the future.
I see InDesign is there… Is Adobe InCopy
included in the the Cloud?
Q: Since InCopy is not included, is it planned on being included or is it the only “Creative Suite” application I will have to purchase? If I purchase it separately – will it integrate fine with a Creative Cloud InDesign?
A: We don’t have plans to include InCopy in the near future, but yes it will work fine with InDesign from the Cloud. There is no functional difference between the Creative Suite products you buy and own, vs. the apps you get through the Creative Cloud.
Q: It appears that Adobe Muse and Edge are only going to be available with a cloud membership, and not part of CS6 Master Collection… Muse and Edge should be included with the Master Suite, don’t you think?
A: Adobe Device Central has been EOL’d with CS6 (discontinued).
Q: Is there a replacement?
Q: Is Adobe Contribute also end-of-life? I saw no CS6 update for it.
No, Contribute has not
been EOL’d – in fact there is (separately) a brand new release of Adobe Contribute, version 6.5
… However it is not part of the Creative Cloud.
A: No, not at this time – but we are always adding to the Cloud, so it might be someday.
Will any Acrobat services be available in the Creative Cloud? SendNow
A: Not at this time.
A: No, neither are; but these two aren’t available in the Master Collection either.
The CreateJS Toolkit for Flash Professional
is available as an extension to all Flash Pro CS6 customers – it enables you to take Flash content and export to HTML. Adobe Edge enables you to create interactivity using HTML/Web standards.
Q: What are the differences between Story Free and Story Plus?
Q: Which Typekit service is included in CC – Personal or Portfolio? Do we get all the fonts or a subset of fonts?
You get the Portfolio level of Typekit
with your Creative Cloud membership – so you have access to a Web-based font library with thousands of typefaces for use on unlimited websites.
What if I have other questions?
Q: What’s the difference with the Photoshop .PSDX files?
A: Yes, for DVA (digital video audio) apps only.
Q: Are there any video editing mobile apps in the works?
A: We can’t comment on what we’re working on for the future, but you can assume that we’re working on what makes sense. ;-)
Q: What if I have further questions about the Creative Cloud that are not answered above?