With the fast-growing adoption of Adobe’s Creative Cloud and the recent release of the all-new CC 2023 versions of creative applications, some readers are telling us they’re not certain if they need all the tools that are included in the complete Creative Cloud offering, or aren’t ready or able to join for ~US$55 a month…
The complete (or All Apps) Creative Cloud membership gives you the latest-and-greatest versions of Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Acrobat, Animate, Premiere Pro & Rush, After Effects, Audition, Character Animator, Dreamweaver, Adobe XD, and others – together in a well-integrated suite with ongoing product upgrades included as soon as they’re available.
But if you don’t need or aren’t ready for Adobe’s entire creative collection on your desktop, then there is another option. This alternate route is called a Single-App Membership Plan – also known as a single-tool subscription. This plan gives you full access to the latest version of any single Adobe creative application for just US$10-20 a month (paid annually) – and you can choose any tool you want. And as with all Creative Cloud products, no previous purchase is necessary and no prior software is required to buy or use them.
One of the most appealing offerings here is the popular Photography Plan where for the regular price of only $9.99/month you can get both Photoshop and Lightroom on desktop – plus their iPad and mobile versions – together with other benefits.
And yes, you can combine or stack multiple Single App plans together, if you want more than one tool. So, for example, you could purchase the CC Photography plan, plus the Illustrator or InDesign or Acrobat (or another) plan, and come out to around US$30/month.
What You Get with the Single-App Plans
Included in all single-app plans you get 20-100 GB of online storage and the ability to sync and share your work on virtually any device. All single-app subscribers also receive Adobe Portfolio to publish and host your own customized online work portfolio website. You also get full access to Adobe Fonts – a.k.a. the entire Typekit library of 22,000+ fonts – for use in desktop applications and websites (an over $25,000 value if purchased normally).
The premium versions of Creative Cloud Express, Premiere Rush, and Photoshop Express are also included with all single-app plans over $20/month. These three apps together normally cost $9.99/month by themselves.
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Importantly, none of these CC programs run online or “in the cloud” (that’s a common myth) – your single-app membership lets you download and install the software directly on your own desktop, providing you all the functionality that Adobe’s Creative Suite products have in the past, and much more… In fact, performance continues to improve and is significantly better than CS6, plus thousands of new features have been added since then.
You can run the new Creative Cloud software on up to two of your computers, including both a Windows PC and a Mac. For more than two machines, a multiple-user edition of the single-app membership is sold via the Creative Cloud for Teams plan.
The single-app option is now available in 94 countries, making these tools more affordable to everyone without the large upfront cost… The best news is all major new releases plus ongoing upgrades are included and are immediately available for you to download and use as a member at no additional cost – there’s no waiting or paying extra to upgrade. You can always be running the best and most current version and be your most productive.
Install now: Get all new Creative Cloud 2023 direct download links and free trials.
Which Creative Cloud Apps Are Available?
Over a dozen different Adobe applications are now offered this way – see the complete list of products you can get. And if you want to upgrade from a single app to the full Creative Cloud down the line, that’s no problem as Adobe will automatically credit your account for any unused amount.
There are both annual and month-to-month plans for increased flexibility. The month-by-month option costs more, but you can stop and start access as needed. So if there’s a period of time where you won’t need to use the software, you can simply turn it off and pay nothing – then reactivate when you want to run it again, without needing to reinstall. For the annual plans, prepaying the year upfront will often get a discount over paying monthly. And in some regions, you can even pay using PayPal instead of a credit card.
Generally, the math works out pretty attractively – for example, instead of the old days where you needed to come up with $1000 for a static version of After Effects CS6, you can get over four years of the latest and most powerful releases of After Effects (today’s 2023 version and beyond) with the annual Single-App plan.
All of the standard free trial downloads can also be converted to single-app memberships without reinstalling the software. And if for some reason you should decide within 14 days of joining that it’s not for you, you can easily cancel for a full refund. So there’s a money-back guarantee with no hassle.
What are the Differences Between the Photography, Photoshop and Lightroom Plans?
We wrote a post just on this topic! Please see the article here for the complete answer on what’s different between these plans.
Do you have any questions about Adobe’s single-app subscription editions, or Creative Cloud in general? Just ask them below and we’ll get you answers fast!
- The 10 most common myths about Creative Cloud
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122 thoughts on “Not Ready for Full Cloud? Subscribe to Any CC App for $10-20/Mo.”
For about 20 years I have been producing illustrations for research articles using illustrator – first Ill 10, then Ill CS2 (which I still use and which still runs on Windows 10 and a ten-year-old Dell dimension, with a few trivial glitches). For the last 10 years I have been retired (but still actively researching) so have been quite unable to afford to upgrade Illustrator. I feel I should now upgrade to the CC version of illustrator but am afraid that this will not read my old (CS2) .ai files. Please advise.
Hi Richard, Illustrator CC should be able to read your old CS2 files no problem. Please see the following guide:
Can You Open/Use/Save Adobe CS Files with CC – and Vice Versa?
If you want to verify this for yourself first (before buying), then just download & install the free trial to confirm:
Hope that helps!
Can you sign up for more than one Single App subscription? I.e. can you combine a Photoshop with an After Effects subscription for $30 instead of paying $50 monthly for all the apps?
Yes, absolutely Travis – please see:
Can You Combine CC Photography with Another Single App Subscription?
Sir, I want to know when you publish the cc 2018 products direct download links ? Please notify …
Sure Ajay, the moment they are out (which we expect is soon), we will have them available for you here:
Adobe Ships CC 2018 – Here’s the Latest on Direct Download Links
Subscribe to Any CC App for $10-20/Month ?
No, It’s Outrageous $28.59 in Australia.
Well, in fact Adobe just changed prices in North America – see this article for more details, as well as what you can do about it:
Creative Cloud Price Is Changing: Here’s What That Means for You
So the figure you quoted, A$28.59 (with GST included) = US$21.57 at today’s currency exchange rate – which actually seems less than the new monthly price in the U.S. of $20.99 + tax.
Don’t forget that prices in international stores typically include taxes (VAT, GST, etc) already built into the figure you see – whereas in the USA, the sales taxes (of up to 10%) are never included in the quoted product price… they are calculated and added at the very end by Adobe when you place your order. So that quoting convention can make the actual cost difference seem larger than it really is.
In other words, mathematically the price you posted doesn’t seem outrageous… but rather basically equivalent with what we pay in the U.S.
Thank you ProDesign for the reply.
I suppose it’s only as expensive or as cheap depending on how you’re involved in the industry.
The Film/Photography industry is probably one of the most difficult and most competitive industries in the world.
Some big post-production companies most likely don’t even consider ongoing prices as an expense.
However there are freelancers who are trying really hard to survive and stay in the industry, and to do so they have to practice their skills daily.
I personally have a full CC subscription and I am using it every day, but only about 10% for commercial purposes.
I naturally start asking myself questions …
Out of all the CC programs I am subscribed to, I use only four: Ae, Pr, Ps, Il.
The way Adobe prices their product, I have no choice but to have a full CC subscription because four programs will cost me more.
It’s a sad situation but that’s what a monopoly is.
Thanks for your comment. What’s interesting is that the situation you describe is not new, and did not arrive with the advent of Creative Cloud or its pricing.
In fact, even back in the Creative Suite days, you would have had to purchase a full suite to get those applications (such as Production Premium for US$1,900). You could not have done it cheaper by buying individual tools instead – rather, it would have been far more expensive that way (Ps $1000 + Ai $600 + Pr $800 + Ae $1000 = $3,400 total).
In other words, Adobe has bundled their individual tools together since CS1 in 2003, whereby it’s a much better deal to get many of them instead of a few – and so the current pricing model is pretty much an extension of that “buy in quantity” idea. Even if you don’t use all the apps you get with the $50 Creative Cloud bundle, it’s still a pretty low price when you divide out each one – the same as with an old Creative Suite.
No argument or disagreement here. I am aware of all you had to say.
It’s not Adobe’s fault that I am not getting enough work. :-)
Thanks for the chat,
I have LR 6. Is there a easy way to transfer all the libraries to LR CC? And will LR CC work without consistent Internet access, or at the best bad internet access?
Yes, when you start the newer release of Lightroom, it will offer to migrate your LR catalog for you (or you can manually choose to do it from the File menu at any time).
And the latest releases of both Lightroom and Lightroom Classic will indeed run/work offline, without an consistent Internet connection.
Both LR apps are included together with Photoshop in the Creative Cloud Photography Plan, with ongoing product upgrades as well.
Hi! I already have Lightroom 5 on my computer, used for editing photos. I want to start using Photoshop as well. Can you explain the benefit of getting the Photography package vs single-app photoshop option? I don’t need Lightroom from the photography package, but it seems less expensive to get that than the single photoshop app.
Yes, that’s right. There are three advantages of getting the Photoshop single-app plan over the Photography plan:
However, you do not get Lightroom, Lightroom Classic and Lightroom Mobile, which do come with the Photography plan.
With both plans, you get Photoshop for Desktop and iPad, Adobe Portfolio, and Adobe Fonts. You also receive ongoing updates for all included products, with the latest new features as soon as they’re released.
Adobe Bridge is free for everyone and does not require any paid plan.
Here is a complete comparison of the different options:
What’s the Difference Between the Creative Cloud Photography, Photoshop and Lightroom Plans?
Hope that helps!
expensive, bloated…. these guys have 30 million subscribers and still charge around 30$ for a simple not-evolving layout software like indesign. i’d rather learn LaTeX than give Adobe all that money ever.
I am only interested in Adobe Indesign
I am a religious, parish priest of a parish; is there a non-profit plan?
Because even USD 20 per month is a lot!
who can I write to?
If you want to use Adobe software at a non-profit or charity, then check out TechSoup – they offer non-profit licenses donated by software companies such as Microsoft and Adobe to resell their products at very affordable prices (highly discounted) for qualified organizations.
It says US$20.99/mo when I click on the link…
Yes, you get access to “any Adobe creative application for US$10-20 a month (paid annually).”
One of the upsides of your alignment with Adobe is your clear understanding of what goes on and its plans. You are also responsive – which, I’m sure is appreciated, and certainly by me.
It is concerning that you are shown as an affiliate of Adobe at the bottom of the web page. Why shouldn’t Adobe be responsible to provide the same level of service for its subscribers and be transparent about its motivations? Provide a good product, and they do, people will pay a fair price without the subterfuge.
Thanks, James. We can’t speak for Adobe as we are an independent publisher – but we can say it’s not uncommon for customers generally to experience a more variable level of service when you start to talk about large companies.
One thing about staying small (like this site is) is that we can ensure consistency with a high level attentiveness and responsiveness to every question and every comment from every visitor. Nothing slips through the cracks and everyone who visits hopefully has a positive experience!
Was there something in particular which happened that you’re referencing? If there is an issue, we do have some longtime technical contacts inside Adobe who can sometimes help if the normal channels aren’t working for some reason.