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Adobe CS5.5 - What's New and Upgraded for Each Major Product

Adobe today has launched Creative Suite 5.5 and we just took a high-level look at how CS5.5 is different from CS5 – and so now here we’ll step through the significant new features at an individual product level, product-by-product…

The upgraded applications and their key new functionalities are detailed below. If you’re coming from further back and would like to know the differences between older versions – like an upgrade from Adobe CS4 to CS5.5, or from CS3 to CS5.5 – the last section will also help.

Major Changes to the Creative Suite Products

Learn more about Adobe Creative Suite 5.5

What’s New in Photoshop (Extended) CS5.1

Is there a new Photoshop CS5.5? Actually, Photoshop’s revision officially remains at “CS5” for this release, but under the hood it gets a minor upgrade to CS5.1 (version 12.0.4) and comes with CS 5.5 suites… Adobe has updated its internal scripting engine to open the door for applications and devices like iPad, Android, and other computers to drive and communicate with the desktop version of Photoshop CS5. A new cross-platform Photoshop Touch SDK (Software Development Kit) will enable developers to take advantage of these functions.

Learn more about the Adobe Photoshop Touch SDK

This new capability provides a direct link between Photoshop CS5.1 and mobile devices and tablets, allowing the creation of companion apps. Some example apps: creating paintings and sketches (Adobe Eazel) or mixing colors (Adobe Color Lava) and seeing these results back in Photoshop, controlling Photoshop’s tools using the iPad as a new input surface (Adobe Nav), and so on. This expandability lets you work directly with your iPad to boost your in-the-moment creativity and inspire your best work. Read more + watch a demo.

For a bigger upgrade to Photoshop we’ll look to when CS6 is released.

Note that CS5.5 will have no impact on the Camera Raw plugin.

What’s New in InDesign CS5.5

Design more engaging digital publications for consumption on any device. Build engaging publications for tablet devices using Folio Producer tools that can integrate with Adobe Digital Publishing Suite. Create eBooks with embedded audio and video, logical flow, improved typography, and images that resize automatically to fit the viewer’s screen. Reduce the time it takes to create PDF documents that are accessible to people with disabilities. Take advantage of built-in tools for design, preflight, and deliver of documents for print or digital distribution.

New features:

  • Folio Producer tools – Create, preview and bundle engaging digital documents for tablets
  • Access to the Adobe Digital Publishing Suite – For production, distribution, and analysis
  • Enhanced eBook/EPUB authoring – Dynamic image resizing and embedded video & audio
  • New Articles panel – Control the sequence of text, images, and graphics when you export
  • Linked text – Link identical text blocks within a layout for consistent changes across doc
  • Styles mapped to tags – Map styles directly to HTML, EPUB, and PDF tags for standards
  • Dragging and dropping of anchored objects – Add objects quickly and intuitively
  • PDF accessibility enhance­ments – Streamline the creation of documents accessible to all
  • Open source dictionaries – Use freely accessible open-source dictionaries in your work
  • plus more, or download a free trial

What’s New in Dreamweaver CS5.5

Design, code, and package websites for phones and tablets. Build cutting-edge HTML5 and CSS3 websites with code hinting and Live View rendering. New levels of interactivity are now easier with jQuery hinting support. The Multiscreen Preview panel allows you to design for multiple devices concurrently. Deploy more securely with new FTPS and FTPES support and enhanced Subversion software functionality. You can now package for iOS and Android with PhoneGap functionality integrated directly into Dreamweaver. Enhanced code hinting includes custom function introspection and PHP 5.

New features:

  • jQuery Mobile integration – Simple to add a wide range of interactivity to web pages
  • PhoneGap integration – Build, convert, and package native apps for Android and iOS
  • W3C validation – Ensure the accuracy of your standards-based web designs with W3C
  • FTPS and FTPES support – Deploy files more securely with enhanced FTP support
  • Improved Multiscreen Preview panel – Design for a range of devices in a single panel
  • Enhanced CSS3 and HTML5 support – Code for the future with the latest features
  • Cutting-edge Live View rendering – Now with an updated WebKit rendering engine
  • Better CSS inspection – Without reading code or needing to use a separate utility
  • plus more, or download a free trial

What’s New in Flash Professional CS5.5

Simplify the creation of immersive experiences that present consistently across desktops, smartphones, tablets, and televisions. Target the latest platforms, including Adobe Flash Player 10.2, Android, Apple iOS, webOS, and Adobe AIR 2.5. Manage multiple FLA files that target various devices, and efficiently create, test, package, and deploy content. Use the improved Code Snippets panel to visually preview and add over 20 new code snippets, including ones optimized for mobile and application development. Help ensure the integrity of your files with a new auto-save and file recovery feature, copy and paste layers, and intelligently scale artwork.

New features:

  • Expanded platform & device support – Reach audiences on the latest players & runtimes
  • Efficient workflows for mobile dev – Manage multiple FLA files for different devices
  • Content scaling when resizing stage – Quickly optimize for different screen sizes
  • New code snippets & improved code snippets handling – Speed with the new pick whip
  • Seamless mobile testing – Run and test content directly on the device over USB
  • Incremental compilation – Use asset caching to reduce compile time and deploy faster
  • Pinning support for inverse kinematics – Define more complex kinematics movement
  • Enhanced layer controls – Copy and paste layers across multiple files and projects
  • Symbol rasterization – Use new options to easily export content as bitmaps
  • Work with the latest device profiles – With Adobe Device Central CS5.5 emulation
  • Streamlined publishing and document settings – Change settings quickly and efficiently
  • Auto-save and file recovery – Protect your work with this new safeguard
  • plus more, or download a free trial

What’s New in Flash Catalyst CS5.5

Rapidly prototype user interfaces for Flex based websites and applications. Collaborate intelligently, and roundtrip projects with developers who use Flash Builder 4.5. Create resizable applications and components, craft more precise and expressive transitions and effects, and efficiently design developer-built custom components. Build wireframes faster with a new Common Library panel, a new Align panel, and numerous user-requested enhance­ments. Publish projects as SWF or Adobe AIR files, and leverage the reach and consistency of the Adobe Flash Platform.

New features:

  • Full designer-developer workflow – New bidirectional collaboration with FB 4.5
  • Resizable applications and components – Fit various screen sizes or resolutions
  • Enhanced timelines and animations – Easily craft expressive transitions and effects
  • Common Library panel – Quickly design with native components and placeholder graphics
  • Custom skinnable components – Craft the visual appearance of custom components
  • Global interaction targeting – Define user interactions more efficiently
  • New Align panel – Better align and distribute objects with the new Align panel
  • plus more, or download a free trial

What’s New in Flash Builder 4.5

Take advantage of new support for mobile application development and testing, significant coding productivity improve­ments, and a new roundtrip workflow. Using Flash Builder 4.5 Premium and Adobe Flex 4.5 (“Hero”), you can leverage a common code base to write appli­cations for Android, Apple iOS, and BlackBerry Tablet OS, while sharing code from your web and desktop applications. Code faster using new code templates, code completion, and code-generation features. Target multiple versions of the Flex framework, leveraging new Premium features to help accelerate the development and maintenance of older versions of Flex.

New features:

  • Mobile application development for multiple mobile platforms – Major mobile support
  • Preview, debug, and profile mobile applications – One-click using emulator or device
  • Package and sign mobile applications – Deploy, package, and sign required resources
  • Code templates – Leverage best-practice code templates (snippets) for ActionScript
  • Metadata code completion – Suggestions enhance existing content assist functionality
  • Code generation – Use Quick Assist/Fix to access a wide range of development aids
  • Designer-developer project workflow – New roundtripping with Flash Catalyst CS5.5
  • Custom Spark component creation for designer skinning – Rapidly prototype and build
  • Customizable Flash Builder – Customize how Flash Builder generates code and keys
  • Design View improve­ments – Accelerate development with enhance­ments to Design View
  • Latest platform support – Benefit from broad new platform support
  • Improved performance to support large-application development – In 60% less time
  • plus more, or download a free trial

What’s New in Premiere Pro CS5.5

Edit video faster than ever with Premiere Pro CS5.5’s robust toolset. Experience the benefits of true native format support and breakthrough performance with the Adobe Mercury Playback Engine (see all supported graphics cards), now offering 64-bit support and GPU acceleration on workstations and laptops. Efficiently export to a wide range of devices, work easily with dual-system sound, enjoy enhanced project exchange with Final Cut Pro and Avid software, as well as other Adobe software and gain a highly efficient editing workflow that dramatically boosts your productivity.

New features:

  • Flexible, precise, and reliable editing tools – Edit powerfully the way you want
  • Even faster Adobe Mercury Playback Engine – Now on laptop and desktop computers
  • Speedy, reliable encoding for multiscreen delivery – With Adobe Media Encoder CS5.5
  • Roundtrip workflows with Adobe Audition – Audio workflows with new Audition CS5.5
  • Direct integration with Adobe Story – Import Adobe Story scripts, including metadata
  • Closed-captioning support – Play back and display 608 and 708 closed captions
  • Enhanced Canon XF native support – Preview Canon XF footage + use camera metadata
  • Streamlined collaboration – enhance­ments with Final Cut Pro and Avid Media Composer
  • plus more, or download a free trial

What’s New in After Effects CS5.5

Smooth unstable camera moves with the new, high-quality Warp Stabilizer, and create beautiful depth-of-field effects with the Camera Lens Blur effect integrated with the camera. Timecode support takes the guesswork out of editing source footage. Quick stereo 3D setup adds to a fast, native 64-bit workflow, while Roto Brush and Imagineer Systems’ mocha (included) streamline compositing projects. Continue to work smoothly with colleagues who have not yet upgraded with the option to save the project in After Effects CS5 format. Add natural falloff to 3D lights. Work with a wide variety of formats, including RED Rocket with RMD metadata, XDCAM EX, and CinemaDNG.

New features:

  • Warp Stabilizer – Make your footage look like it was shot on a Steadicam or camera dolly
  • Camera Lens Blur – Create soft-focus effects with fantastic depth-of-field control
  • Source timecode support – Take the guesswork out of source footage edits
  • Stereoscopic 3D workflow improve­ments – Animate & composite 3D projects more easily
  • Light falloff – Control how light intensity falls off across 3D distances, like in real life
  • RAW digital cinema workflow improve­ments – Gain instant access to HD source formats
  • Color LUT support – Get consistent color in your workflow by using industry standards
  • XDCAM EX export – Lets you roundtrip footage shot on popular Sony cameras
  • Save As After Effects CS5 – Work on projects with colleagues still using AE CS5
  • More efficient rendering – Benefit from improved disk caching + other performance wins
  • plus more, or download a free trial

What’s New in Audition CS5.5

Bring new efficiency and editing power to your post-production project with Adobe Audition CS5.5, now available for both Mac OS and Windows. A supercharged, new audio engine helps you get more done quickly with background processing, simultaneous multiple sessions, and effects-editing during playback. Native, multichannel file support lets you apply the best editing and effects in the business to your surround projects. New and improved noise reduction and sweetening make it easy to clean up production audio. With the versatility that fast-turn projects require, Adobe Audition gives you complete control over every aspect of your audio.

New features:

  • Audition joins the Creative Suite family – New Audition replaces Soundbooth in the suite
  • Native Mac OS support – Record, mix, edit, and master with new cross-platform toolset
  • High-performance audio engine – Work faster throughout the audio production process
  • Roundtrip editing with Premiere Pro – Sweeten audio for video easily with full integration
  • Project exchange with third-party NLEs & popular DAWs – Move sessions + share files
  • Native 5.1 multichannel support – Edit multichannel and mix your projects in 5.1 surround
  • Royalty-free content in Adobe Resource Central panel – Thousands of sound effects
  • Native audio effects – Improve performance with native support for audio effects
  • Simplified XMP metadata panel – View and edit XMP metadata using a simplified interface
  • Auto-saved XML session files – Save your sessions in the robust and flexible XML format
  • High quality DSP effects – Improve audio with professional effects
  • History panel – Edit, arrange, and mix with confidence, knowing you can easily revert back
  • plus more, or download a free trial

What’s New in Acrobat X Pro

Experience the full power of Adobe Dynamic PDF to deliver next-generation PDF communica­tions. Customize PDF Portfolios with an all-new collection of professionally designed layouts, visual themes, and color palettes. Use the new Action Wizard to automate, standardize, and share multistep tasks. Search and reuse scanned content with greater accuracy through improved optical character recognition (OCR). Seamlessly integrate PDF files into SharePoint workflows. Confidently send large files with easy-to-use services at

New features:

  • Assemble PDF Portfolios – Quickly assemble content using the new PDF Portfolio Wizard
  • Automate tasks with the Action Wizard – Create, manage, and execute frequent steps
  • Improve scanning results – Enjoy improved scanning, OCR, and export to Word or Excel
  • Integrate with SharePoint – Work seamlessly with PDF files stored in Microsoft SharePoint
  • Streamline commenting – Access comments and markup from a single, unified tool pane
  • Access frequently used tools – Add your favorites to the Quick Tools area for fast access
  • Optimize PDF file viewing – Maximize screen with new Reading Mode heads-up display
  • Improved web experience – Open and view online PDF documents faster and easier
  • Work with Office 2010 – Create PDF files with a single click from within Microsoft products
  • Share files online at – Now send large files easily and with confidence
  • plus more, or download a free trial

And Illustrator, Fireworks, Contribute CS5

These tools stay at CS5 for this release.  See when CS6 could be available.

What’s New in the CS5.5 Suite Editions

The new suite offerings remain structurally similar to CS5… There are five suites: CS5.5 Design Premium & Standard, CS5.5 Web Premium, CS5.5 Production Premium, and CS5.5 Master Collection. The different suite configurations are the same as before except Audition CS 5.5 merges with and takes over for Soundbooth CS5, and then all the other components enjoy the upgrades detailed above. Flash Builder 4.5 also moves to the Premium version from the Flash Builder 4 Standard which was included in the CS5 suites.

Differences from Older Versions (CS4 or CS3)

What if you’re not currently on CS5, but would like to compare from prior versions of Creative Suite? Like upgrading from CS3 to CS5.5, or from CS4 to CS5.5…

To answer that, check out the differences between Adobe CS3 vs. CS4 vs. CS5 vs. CS5.5 – for the complete picture!

Read more about how CS 5.5 is different in other ways, or on the key launch details

Or see a replay and transcript of Adobe’s “What’s in CS5.5 for Me?” Q&A session.

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20 thoughts on “Adobe CS5.5 - What's New and Upgraded for Each Major Product”

  1. Thanks for the product blow by blow, that’s helpful. I had a question. If I go ahead and buy CS5.5 now and then within 6 or 9 months CS6 is released, will I get a free upgrade?

  2. Hey ProDesign,
    Thanks for the breakdown on all the CS5.5 upgrades. Great synopsis and very in-depth.
    Looking forward to checking out these new changes to the software!

    • Actually, to effectively save back to previous InDesign versions, you just need to export your document as an InDesign Markup (IDML) file… Naturally, you may lose usage of newer features that aren’t supported in prior releases.

      Please see this help page from the online manual for more information on InDesign backwards compatibility and how to do it.

      This technique was also outlined by the Q&A posted in response to Trevor’s question above. Hope it helps.

  3. I am considering getting CS5 but I am unsure if it will be compatable with my hardware. I have a AMD Phenom 9750 Quad Core processor and the info you provide says requirements are Intel Pentium 4 or AMD Athlon 64 processor.

    Does that mean it will not run on my system or I will have issues running it? I want to be sure it will run before I pay the high cost of the software. You should provide a system check function on your website to allow people to verify compatibility before making a purchase.

    Thanks, James

    • Welcome James, thanks for your feedback. That’s an interesting idea, and you may want to pass it along to Adobe directly

      But in the meantime, if the hardware requirements for Creative Suite 5 are unclear for your computer, you actually can do a sort of “system check” yourself by just trying out the software first, free of charge…

      Just download, install, and run the free trial, which is fully-functional for 30 days. Be sure to create a System Restore Point first within Microsoft Windows – and then if the CS5.5 trial doesn’t work out for you, just uninstall it and restore your system to the previous state.

      Hope this helps!

  4. Is there a utility that will do backwards saving of an Adobe InDesign 5.5 file to an earlier version, like Adobe InDesign CS5?

    • Great question Steve – but not that we’re aware of at this time… If anybody does know of any such utility, please do post it here. There do exist downsaving services that will do that for a nominal fee if you like.

      Quite coincidentally, we were out at Adobe MAX earlier this week and brought up this exact question with a high-placed Adobe Evangelist. File format proliferation is becoming a bit of an issue, especially now that Adobe is releasing a new version of Creative Suite once per year

      So keep your fingers crossed and hopefully we’ll see some kind of solution to this problem by the time that CS6 arrives.

      In the meantime, the main option is to download and run a free working trial of InDesign CS5.5 to do the file save-back. If you’ve already exhausted your free trial and don’t/can’t upgrade at this time, the other more affordable option is to get a one-month subscription to run CS5.5.

  5. I have the Adobe Standard CS3 and want to know if I can upgrade straight to the Adobe Premium CS5.5. Or do I have to have the CS4 to upgrade? Please let me know.

  6. I just bought Premiere Pro 5.5 and I was going to buy After Effects 5.5, but I read that you can’t use the 2 of them together unless you bought the Creative suite. Is this true?

    • No, that’s not true Luis. You can definitely use them together either separately or within a suite.

      However, they will work better together and be more integrated when bundled in a suite. The reason is because of Dynamic Link – which is only included in the suite editions. Dynamic Link makes cross-application workflow very quick and easy.

      So instead of buying AE CS5.5 outright, you might take a look at getting the full Production Premium CS5.5 Suite for half price, which is actually cheaper anyway.

      And if you just bought Premiere Pro, then you could possibly return that for a money-back refund and really come out ahead.

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