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What’s the Difference Between New Adobe CC 2017 vs. CS6, 5, 4, 3?

November 8th, 2016 11 comments

What Are the Differences Between Adobe CC 2017 vs. Older Versions — What's New?

One of the most common upgrade questions we see out there is asking what’s new, what’s different, what’s better, what’s changed between Adobe’s just-launched CC 2017 release and the previous CC 2015.5, CC 2015, CC 2014, CC 2013, or 2012’s Creative Suite 6 – or even the older CS5, CS4, CS3?  Or more fundamentally, what are the key new features and advancements in CC 2017 versus prior versions?

Now that the new CC 2017 mile­stone release is shipping world­wide, everyone is entitled to either a free upgrade or a new free trial for 7 days. Ongoing access to these tools requires a Creative Cloud mem­ber­ship (either for one app or for all of them), with discounts available for education custom­ers. Adobe says that if you look at all of the changes since CS6 to the current CC 2017 release, there have been thousands of significant updates – meaning new and enhanced features, added capabil­ities, and perfor­mance boosts – to the key creative applications.

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Can You Open/Use/Export/Save Adobe CC Files on CS6 – and Back?

March 29th, 2017 70 comments

Now that the Adobe CC release has become ubiquitous with over 9 million paid customers, more folks are asking us whether the new versions of the tools in the Creative Cloud can read or save older data/document/project file formats like CS6, CS5.5, CS5, CS4 & CS3…

Are Adobe CC Files Backwards Compatible with CS6?

In fact, since Adobe’s flagship creative toolset CC 2017 is now five major releases past CS6 from 2012 (which they no longer sell), file version compatibility can some­times be an important decision point in moving forward.

In the past, new Adobe product versions have often brought different or expanded file formats to support significant new features – and customers want to know if their existing projects will easily carry forward with them when they upgrade, or if they will be able to save back to older formats for coworkers or clients who may still be running an earlier revision of the programs…

OK then, here’s how it works. Generally, your new CC tools will be able to open and use any and all earlier CS project and data files – including CS3, CS4, CS5, CS5.5, and CS6 files – with no problem or loss of information. In other words, all Adobe software is able to read or import file formats from previous versions of the same program – and it should happen seam­lessly and automatically. The only exception to this is Premiere Pro, where it’s best to open/edit projects in the same versions that created them.

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What’s the Difference: New Adobe CC 2015 vs. CS6, CS5, CS4, CS3?

June 18th, 2015 86 comments

What Are the Differences Between Adobe CC 2015 vs. CS6 and Other Versions — What's New?

[UPDATE (Nov. 2016) – The all-new Adobe CC 2017 release has launched and is now available! See what’s new in features and all the differences compared to CS6, CS5, CS4 & CS3.]

One of the most common upgrade questions we see out there is asking what’s new, what’s different, what’s better, what’s changed between Adobe’s just-launched CC 2015 release and the previous CC 2014, CC 2013, or 2012’s Creative Suite 6 – or even the older CS5, CS4, CS3?  Or more fundamentally, what are the key new features in CC 2015 versus prior versions?

Now that the new CC 2015 mile­stone release is out world­wide, everyone is entitled to either a free upgrade or a free 30-day trial (possibly up to 60 days). Ongoing access to these tools requires a Creative Cloud mem­ber­ship (either for one app or for all of them), with discounts available for education custom­ers. Adobe says that if you look at all of the changes since CS6 to the current CC 2015 release, there have been well over 1,000 significant updates – meaning new and improved features, added capabil­ities, and perfor­mance improve­ments – to the key creative applications.

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Adobe InDesign: Complete Guide to What’s New in All Versions, Ever

November 29th, 2016 27 comments

Here’s the new and updated edition of a very handy resource from James Wamser – a complete reference to all versions of Adobe InDesign ever released… It’s called the Adobe InDesign New Features Guide, 1.0 to CC (2017), and this 111-page ebook is available for free download now:

Download the Adobe InDesign New Features Guide

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What Are the Differences: CS6 vs. CS5.5 vs. CS5 vs. CS4 vs. CS3?

June 5th, 2012 34 comments

One of the most common upgrade questions we see out there is asking what’s new, what’s different, what’s better, what’s changed between Adobe CS6 and CS5.5 or CS5? Or more fundamentally, what are the key new features in CS6 versus prior versions, even compared to CS4 or CS3?

What's the Difference Between Adobe CS6 vs. CS5.5 vs. CS5 vs. CS4?

Creative Suite 6 contains hundreds of new or enhanced features and func­tions across the 14 point products that comprise it. So the easiest way to look at it is by major product… For example, Photoshop CS6 Extended has 62% more new features added in this cycle compared to the previous one, and nearly twice as many JDI requests (user-focused “Just Do It” items) addressed. You’ll find the details on these linked from the table below.

Adobe turns 30 this year. Over the decades the company has excelled at creating software that abstracts the latest technology in a way that makes it easy for customers to express unique ideas and deliver those ideas in a variety of media. Whether you’re editing an image with Photoshop, creating vector graphics in Illustrator, or laying out a page in InDesign, the goal of Creative Suite 6 is to give you total creative freedom along with the control and precision to ensure the highest quality when it comes to production. And when you combine the new time-saving features in CS6 together with the major reengineering of key user interfaces – in particular Photoshop, Illustrator, and Premiere Pro – plus further deep optimization of tool performance, you should be able to get that work done faster and more efficiently.

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Free Printing Guide for Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator & Acrobat

April 23rd, 2013 16 comments

Download the Free Adobe Creative Suite 6 Printing Guide (149 Pages)

Adobe has made available an excellent resource that’s now updated for CS6 (and CC) – a free printing handbook in the form of a 149-page downloadable e-book: The Adobe Creative Suite 6 Printing Guide. Earlier editions of this book have been out for previous releases (see the older CS5.x, CS4 and CS3 links below), but now this is fully refreshed and upgraded for the most recent versions of the products.

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Can You Save/Open CS6 Files on CS5, CS4 or CS3 – and Vice Versa?

February 20th, 2013 60 comments

[UPDATE – Confirmed: Adobe’s new tools in the current CC release are able to export or backsave to older CS6 file formats.]

How Backwards Compatible Are Older Versions with Adobe CS6?

This is one of the top questions we get.  Especially now that Adobe is releasing a new version of Creative Suite once per year – with each edition potentially bringing a different or expanded file format – customers want to know if their existing projects will easily carry forward with them when they upgrade, or if they will be able to save back to older formats for clients or colleagues who are still running an earlier version of the tools…

OK then, here’s how it works. Generally, your new CS6 tools (including those in the Creative Cloud) will be able to open and use any and all earlier project and data files no problem (including CS3, CS4, CS5 and CS5.5 files), without any loss of information. In other words, all Adobe software is able to read or import file formats from previous versions of the same program – and it should happen automati­cally.

Going the other way, when wanting to use CS5 or older tools to open a file saved from a CS6 product, the answer is it depends…  Let’s take a look at the inter­operability for each application within the Creative Suite, then at the bottom we’ll talk about some additional tips and best practices no matter what your situation.

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Download Adobe CS4 and CS3 Free Trials – Direct Links (incl. AE)

May 19th, 2010 2,024 comments

[UPDATE (Nov. 2016) – These still work to download the old CS3/CS4 trials from years ago. We also now have Adobe’s all-new CC 2017 Direct Download Links!]

Even though Creative Suite 6 is out and is a phenomenal release, some folks still need the earlier versions for various reasons: 32-bit vs 64-bit (e.g., After Effects and Premiere Pro), compatibility with other software or systems owned, the rest of your class or company is still on CS4, you need to reinstall but no longer have your original disks or download file, etc… But this older software is now hard to find – Adobe doesn’t publicize or provide a web interface for it. So if you’ve been searching high and low all over the Internet to find the official Adobe trial downloads for CS4 or CS3, well your search is over!

CS3/CS4 No Longer Sold – Get Adobe CS6 or CC Now

Below are two tables for CS4 trial downloads in major languages. These links go to the auth­entic and original CS4 files residing on Adobe’s servers, are guaranteed genuine and will not change. For Windows, each program consists of two files, an .exe and a 7-Zip file (.7z). The .exe file will only work once the .7z package is fully down­loaded and resides in the same location. For the Mac, it’s just a single .dmg file for each program.

There are also optional “extra content” (or functional content) downloads included here for most tools that consist of one or two additional files, which you can install separately after the main product is installed. It typically includes fonts, templates, documentation, etc.

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Adobe Photoshop Best Tips, Tricks, Techniques, Training & Tutorials

November 29th, 2011 13 comments

[UPDATE (October 2012) – Looking for CS6 tutorials?  Check out this Photoshop CS6 primer, or 1,000 pages of free CS6 ebooks, or 30 hours of free CS6 videos.]

Adobe Photoshop is a sophisticated tool with a 21-year history and a seemingly-endless array of powerful capabilities.  And after spending $549 for the product with discounts (or $199 for students), who wants to pay a lot more to learn how to use it all?

Free tutorials for Photoshop CS5, CS4, CS3 on Adobe TV

Fortunately there are a number of avenues to get great training and tutorials for free. The first stop is Adobe TV, which has nearly four hours and 37 chapters of 100% free tutorials for Photoshop CS5 alone. There is also a wealth of content for prior versions like Photoshop CS3 and CS4. It’s a good place to get started and orient yourself with the major functions, and all of it is gratis.

For learning how to use the best new features added in Photoshop CS5, take a look at our collection of articles with tours of:

We also have a regular page here on the site with a rotating selection of tuts for all versions of Photoshop, stepping through various tips and tricks. And for a terrific set of little-known but very handy techniques, check out Adobe’s Photoshop “Hidden Gems” series with Product Manager Bryan O’Neil Hughes.

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How to Get or Buy Older Adobe Software Versions like CS4 or CS5

January 6th, 2012 85 comments

[UPDATE (June 2014) – See this comment below for an important update on this article.]

[UPDATE (Jan. 2017) – Adobe just stopped selling CS6 entirely – here’s why.]

Adobe’s Creative Suite 5.5 has been out since May, and has generally been well-reviewed and even lauded as a must-have release…  Nevertheless, some folks are still looking for or require older versions of the software, like CS5.0 or CS4.  Why?

Two common reasons are the higher system requirements – 64-bit for some components of CS5 like After Effects & Premiere Pro, as well as cases where the rest of a customer’s site is still running an older version and would like to add a new setup with the same compatibility. And occasionally some folks say they prefer the earlier, simpler versions over newer ones with more features.

The challenge is, once a new release comes out, Adobe no longer officially sells the older version (with one exception). So if you need a prior release, what do you do?

How to Order Adobe CS5 or CS5.5

If you want the trial version to use for 30 days, that’s easy – Adobe actually keeps most older original trials still available for download on their servers – including all of CS4 and CS5, plus earlier releases of Acrobat, Lightroom, Elements, etc… You can find those trials all linked for download here:


But how about when you want to actually buy CS4 or CS5?

If you ask Adobe, they’ll usually tell you to check their official list of authorized resellers & retailers to see if someone still has the version you want in stock. The problem is it’s inconvenient to search as often those stocks are thin or sold out, and no longer available.

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