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How to Transfer an Adobe Software License (CS6) Between Parties

How to Transfer Adobe Software Product Licenses Between Two People

We’ve previously covered here how to transfer Adobe software products (like Creative Cloud, CS6, Photoshop, Lightroom, Elements, or Acrobat) between two computers, including from PC to Mac or vice versa. In this article we’re going to focus on transferring the actual legal license from one person or company to another, like transferring the title to a car or home between two people.

Moving the software physically is mostly a technical task, but doesn’t cover what happens if the recipient has problems, needs customer support or updates, wants to be registered with Adobe, and be recognized as the new legal owner and user of the tools. To address those needs, just follow the transfer process described below to “unregister” the program from the old owner and re-register for the new one.

Most Adobe software is transferable, with the exception of memberships like the Creative Cloud…  Individual subscriptions can’t be transferred, however for groups there is a solution to easily manage users and flexibly reassign seats with the Creative Cloud for Teams option. You can upgrade from an individual CC membership to a teams membership without penalty.

For a traditional/perpetual license, you can use transfer instructions below to give or sell it to a friend or family member. In fact, transferring your Adobe software can be a great strategy in certain situations… Say for example you are thinking of getting the Creative Cloud (CC), and so would have an older Creative Suite (CS) tool that you wouldn’t use anymore… You can simply transfer that to someone else you know, maybe make some money, and then sign up for the Creative Cloud instead – and this is exactly what customers are doing.

Related: Trying to decide which is right for you? See Creative Cloud vs. CS6 Comparison

So all you have to do is download Adobe’s Transfer of License form, fill it out and return to them to effect the change in ownership. Note importantly though that Adobe’s Education (including the Student & Teacher) products are not eligible for a transfer of license – they cannot be resold or given away… Read more about the various limitations of the academic products.

OK, so the transfer form itself is pretty straightforward – just things like the name, version, and serial number of the product, plus the names, contact info, and signatures for both the transferor and the recipient. Note that the transferor needs to have the software registered with Adobe, which can be done electronically and just takes a minute plus can get you free goodies. Once submitted, Adobe then takes a couple weeks to process the transfer request, at which point the recipient becomes the new registered owner of the software and the legal licensee who can receive customer service and support.

Note that you can’t transfer individual components of a collection like Creative Suite 6 – it only goes for the whole package. Also, you are transferring all versions that are connected with that product – so for example you can’t use your copy of CS4 or CS5 to get discounted upgraded pricing on an upgrade to CS6, and then give or sell your old copy of CS4/CS5 to someone else – it won’t work. You could either upgrade to CS6 and keep the earlier one, or purchase the full version of CS6 and transfer the prior one. See more about the allowed uses of previous versions when you’re upgrading Adobe software.

One last part that sometimes trips people up is the proof of purchase: if you didn’t buy the software directly from Adobe then you need to provide one – and any receipts from Internet auction/vendor sites such as eBay, Craigslist, or Amazon Marketplace are not accepted!  So this is yet another reason to avoid these places like the plague…

OK, ready?  Be sure to read the (important!) full instructions to make a transfer, including step-by-step on what you need to do and include together with the official form. Note that Adobe does not limit how many times their software can be legally transferred, although each customer can initiate a maximum of four transfers in their lifetime (to prevent abuse). Also, if there are any support contracts attached to a license, those won’t transfer to the other party.


Finally, before you submit the transfer, be sure to deactivate and uninstall the software on all your own systems.

[ Learn about how many machines you can run Adobe software on. ]

Hope this information helps… but please post any questions you may have and we’ll get you answers fast!

If you’d like to move away from shuffling serial numbers altogether, consider Adobe teams/group licensing to simplify management and reassign seats flexibly instead of one-at-a-time copies…


See Also

Download New Adobe CC 2014 Free Trials (Direct Links)

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  1. Anton Harfst

    Another great FAQ about Adobe Software Licenses!

    I just finished the helpful answers given at How Many Computers Can You Install Adobe Software On? when I found this article. It is the topic that I was looking for answers for.

    Is it possible to transfer an Adobe CS5.5 license from the US to a person living in a country in Europe using this procedure?

    • Hi Anton, thank you very much for the kind words, and that’s an excellent question!

      We couldn’t find any clear border restrictions indicated anywhere on the paperwork, so we had a quick chat to Adobe about your inquiry – whether it’s possible to transfer a product license from North America to someone in another geography… The rep we spoke with said it would work, so long as the original customer initiated the transfer in his or her own country:

      Rona: If customers want to transfer a license across geographies, then Customer Service agents in the geo where the license is currently registered will process the license transfer.
      Rona: For example, if a customer in the UK wants to transfer a license that is registered in North America, then North America Customer Service will process the license transfer.
      PDT: OK, so are you saying that it would work for a customer in the U.S. to transfer his/her copy of Creative Suite 5.5 to another person in Europe?
      PDT: (using that procedure, and filing the form in the U.S.)
      Rona: Yes, definitely.

      Though feel free to confirm the answer yourself by contacting Adobe Support upon proceeding.

      In any event, Adobe does limit any individual to a maximum of four license transfers in a lifetime, so it’s not something that could be done frequently regardless.

      Hope this helps!

  2. Hope this helps!

    Oh yes, this is a great help! Thank you so much for taking the time and effort to get those answers. And sorry for not replying sooner, as I had a totally crazy schedule the past few weeks. But thanks again.

  3. Robert Bowersox

    I was trying to download an update of a new version of Adobe Flash Player (11.1). I’m not sure what has happened? Please explain. Do I have the right to download it? Get started? If so, what do I need to do to?

  4. Paul

    Hello,

    I have a question that you might be able to help with. Adobe was a former client of mine (Affiliate Program). They gave me a free copy of CS5 for Windows and now I am looking to sell it on either Craigslist, eBay or another way.

    Is it possible to still transfer the license even though it was free direct from Adobe?

    Thank you!
    Paul

  5. Anon DaMide

    @ ProDesignTools

    Hi,

    I’m in the process of getting a license transfer of a full retail ESD version of a CS5.5 suite done from North America to Asia Pacific. The original purchaser bought it directly from Adobe. Adobe support said the transfer was doable, but the new licensee wouldn’t be able to upgrade or receive support. I wasn’t in on the phone call, so I don’t know of the details, but that’s what the purchaser (a friend) told me. Is is true (or enforced)?

    • Welcome Anon, thanks for your question. Only Adobe could say for sure, but we’ve never heard of anything like that, and cannot find it in writing anywhere… In fact, on the Transfer Instructions page it says the opposite: “Registration ensures that Adobe recognizes the new owner as the legal licensee who can receive customer service and support.”

      It also doesn’t make much sense. Why wouldn’t they let (or want) the receiver to upgrade going forward? That would be more money in Adobe’s pocket. And why would they disallow support if the software was validly purchased?

      In sum, it sounds dubious to us – so you might want to double-check with another rep to see if that can be confirmed or denied.

  6. Hi ProDesign, how are you? We missed your posts, this is good one. Thanks and post more often.

  7. Rob

    I just want to clarify something you said… there was a comment made about not being able to do this transfer procedure if the original product was purchased from Amazon Marketplace. Does that include a direct purchase from Amazon.com as well?

  8. @ ProDesignTools

    This is really unique blog and I can not remember any post I did not share across all social media. Glad you are up and running again.

  9. Les Groesbeck

    I’m curious…why no post along the lines of an email I received from Adobe the other day regarding the upgrade to the full version of Photoshop CS6 from PS Elements 10 for only $299.00? I would think that it would be valuable info for your readers!

    You can also upgrade from CS4 or 5 from only $199.00! AND throw in Lightroom at the same time for only $99.00 with either purchase!! Apparently these offers are only in effect until Sept. 7, 2012! Now, if I could only find the money……;-)

    • Hi Les, typically Adobe only sends out that nice Elements offer occasionally to current owners on file, and the offer is individualized and non-transferrable… Are you a registered user of Photoshop Elements with Adobe?

      On the other offers you mention:

      You can definitely upgrade from Photoshop CS3, CS4, or CS5 to Photoshop CS6 for just $199 – that is the normal everyday price. Note however that discounted upgrade pricing for owners of CS3 or CS4 will only be available until the end of 2012.

      We also wrote an article covering how if you purchase Lightroom at the same time as Photoshop, you’ll get it for only $99 (33% off) – and that deal has no expiration.

      For other current bargains, you can always check the Adobe Special Offers page. Thanks for your comment!

  10. Les Groesbeck

    Hey that’s great! I didn’t realize about the upgrade price, that’s a pretty sweet deal. I’ve been running on CS2 Design Premium + Studio 8 bundle for so long, and missed out on the ability to upgrade the entire suite, that I’ve never taken the time to research individual components for prices!

    I just downloaded PS CS6 thru my wifi connection for the trial with the intentions of taking advantage of these deals! Yes, I am a regular Elements 10 owner, so I guess that’s how I received this email! Thanks for the explanation!!! Also, many thanks for being here, this is GREAT!!

    • You bet Les, glad to help. Take a look at the fine print on that Photoshop Elements 10 to Photoshop CS6 $299 upgrade, and see if it’s specific only to you… If not, then feel free to post or copy the details here.

      Either way though, since your CS2 suite is too far back to upgrade now, upgrading just Photoshop at that price is a great deal – especially considering all the new features and improvements in CS6. Plus you can piggyback on LR4 for only $99 more as mentioned.

      Good luck and please let us know how it turns out!

  11. James

    Hi, can you check for me if these serial numbers are still active or deactivated:

    Photoshop: XXXX-XXXX-XXXX-XXXX-XXXX-XXXX
    and
    Dreamweaver: YYYY-YYYY-YYYY-YYYY-YYYY-YYYY

    My friend gave me the old Adobe products that he bought because he upgraded to CS6, but he doesn’t know if he deactivated them or not – and I want to install them on two different computers under my name.

    Can you please check for me.
    Thanks,
    James

  12. Dear ProDesign, I’m impressed to see that in spite of being a partner for so many creative people all around the world, all we have as an illustration for this post (and others) is a lousy stock picture. Need an art direction?

    Sincerely yours,
    Loïc

  13. Stephen

    Could you please advise how we can deactivate then re-install Adobe CS6 onto another PC?

    The cloud registration did not exist when we originally installed CS6 so do not know how to obtain the licence we originally purchased.

    If you require further information, please advise.

    Many Thanks.
    Stephen

  14. Cole

    This helps, thanks. I’m giving my old CS5 suite to a buddy and taking the leap to CC instead – the video tools are miles ahead, and you get a lot more!

  15. Deanne

    I am trying to move a license from one of our employees who left to a new employee. I need help because I do not have the person who left the organization her user id or password. Can you help?

    Thanks,
    Deanne

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