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Adobe CS6 — What's New and Upgraded for Each Major Product

Last week Adobe launched Creative Suite 6 and we took a high-level look at how CS6 is different from CS5.5 – 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 CS5.0 to CS6, from CS4 to CS6, or from CS3 to CS6 – the last section will also help.

Major Changes to the Creative Suite Products

Learn more about Adobe Creative Suite 6

What’s New in Photoshop CS6 (Standard & Extended)

The world’s best digital imaging software gets even better with Photoshop CS6. Benefit from state-of-the-art imaging magic, exciting new creative options, and unprecedented performance. Correct, refine, and composite with groundbreaking new Content-Aware tools, an all-new Crop tool, and new skin tone–aware selections and masking. Design superior graphics as well as movies with new and reimagined tools and workflows. Count on a modern user interface to make your images pop, and edit at blazingly fast speeds with the new Mercury Graphics Engine. Create rich 3D artwork with a vastly simplified user interface in the Extended edition.

New features:

  • Content-Aware Patch, Move & Extend – Retouch images with astonishing ease & control
  • Mercury Graphics Engine – See near-instant results and a fluid feel as you work
  • New & revamped design tools – Type styles, custom vector strokes, layer search, more
  • Intuitive video creation – Use familiar PS tools to edit & create movies, in all versions
  • All-new Crop tool – Crop images faster and with greater precision, nondestructively
  • New Blur Gallery – Quickly create photographic blur effects with on-image controls
  • Preset migration and sharing – Easily transfer your presets, workspaces, and settings
  • Background Save and Auto-Recovery – No waiting and no re-dos! Work fast and secure
  • Adobe Camera Raw 7 plug-in – Reveal rich detail in both the highlights and shadows
  • Adaptive Wide Angle – Easily straighten objects that appear curved in wide-angle shots
  • Revolutionary erodible brushes – Draw more naturally & realistically with eroding tips
  • Completely reengineered 3D tools – [Extended] Enjoy huge leaps in 3D capabilities
  • …plus more that’s new, or download the free trial

What’s New in Illustrator CS6

Number 1 in Illustrator CS6 is the new Mercury Performance System that delivers native 64-bit support for both Mac OS and Windows. You can now work with precision, speed, and rock-solid stability on large, complex files. An updated interface streamlines daily tasks, and new creative options let you design and edit seamless patterns, leverage a new image-tracing engine, and apply gradients to strokes. Spend less time waiting and more time creating with Illustrator CS6, the industry’s premier vector-drawing environment for creating graphics that scale across media.

New features:

  • Mercury Performance Engine – Work with speed & stability with native 64-bit support
  • Pattern creation tools – Easily make seamlessly-tiled repeating vector patterns
  • Image Trace – Completely new tracing engine converts raster images to editable vectors
  • Efficient, flexible interface – Streamlined to take fewer steps to accomplish daily tasks
  • Gradients on strokes – Apply gradients to your strokes with complete control
  • Many panel improve­ments – Get your work done more efficiently and precisely
  • Gaussian Blur enhancement – Do shadows, blurs & glows faster and more accurately
  • Dockable hidden tools – Tear off and dock hidden tools for an efficient workspace
  • Workspaces with rooms – Move fluidly between workspaces with support for rooms
  • True white canvas color – Fast color sampling when you quickly need a pure white
  • …plus more that’s new, or download the free trial

What’s New in InDesign CS6

InDesign CS6 introduces powerful features for print and digital workflows. New tools help you adapt layouts to multiple page sizes, orientations, and devices—without sacrificing pixel-perfect control over design and typography. Use the Content Collector tools to easily repurpose text and images in other files; link content across documents to help ensure consistency. Integrate with Adobe Digital Publishing Suite to publish InDesign layouts as tablet applications.

New features:

  • Liquid Layout – Automatically adapt content to different page sizes and orientations
  • Alternate Layout – Create and design multiple versions for all needs within a single file
  • Content Collector tools – Grab objects from existing layout, easily place in new one
  • PDF forms within InDesign – Create and order form fields before you export to PDF
  • Autosizing text frames – Grow & shrink frames automatically, using simple parameters
  • Split window – View two side-by-side layouts within the same document to compare
  • Grayscale preview & PDF export – Preview in grayscale, and export grayscale PDF
  • Enhanced split and span support – Keep lines together that split or span columns
  • Linked content – Live-link content within or across documents, changes applied to all
  • Middle Eastern language support – For easier localization and enhanced functionality
  • …plus more that’s new, or download the free trial

What’s New in Dreamweaver CS6

Dreamweaver CS6 introduces expanded support for creating clean, industry-standard HTML5 and CSS3 code. Check the rendering of HTML5 code with updated Live View and Multiscreen Preview. Use fluid grid layouts to design projects that are cross-platform and cross-browser compatible. Enhanced jQuery Mobile and PhoneGap Build support framework helps you develop projects for desktop screens, tablets, and smartphones. Faster FTP transfers let you work more efficiently.

New features:

  • Fluid grid layout – Construct complex web designs and layouts for different screen sizes
  • Improved FTP performance – Save time uploading with multi-threaded FTP transfer
  • Enhanced jQuery Mobile – Create native apps for iOS and Android with updated support
  • CSS3 transitions – Animate changes to CSS properties to bring web designs to life
  • Updated Live View – Test pages before publishing using updated Live View functionality
  • Updated PhoneGap Build – Build and package native mobile apps with updated support
  • Updated Multiscreen Preview panel – Now can check the rendering of HTML5 content
  • Business Catalyst integration – Integrated panel to edit sites you build with BC
  • …plus more that’s new, or download the free trial

What’s New in Fireworks CS6

Fireworks CS6 provides new screen layout tools to help you work faster and smarter. Jump-start your interactive designs for popular smartphone and tablet apps with new jQuery Mobile theme skinning, CSS sprites from comps, and extraction of industry-compliant CSS3 code. Blaze through your workflow with improved color swatches and greater precision. Boost productivity with better redraw performance for Mac OS and improved memory management for Windows 64-bit operating systems.

New features:

  • New CSS Properties panel – Extract CSS code and create CSS sprites and CSS effects
  • New jQuery mobile theme skinning support – Create, modify, or update jQuery themes
  • Improved performance on Windows & Mac OS – Plus better graphics optimization
  • Quicker access to color – Rapidly switch between colors and color effects
  • Opacity support for Fill and Stroke – Apply opacity control separately
  • API access – Access the API to generate extensions, use community extensions
  • …plus more that’s new, or download the free trial

What’s New in Flash Professional CS6

Flash Professional CS6 features new support for generating sprite sheets for improved game develop­ment and the ability to deliver apps with a prepackaged Adobe AIR captive runtime for a better user experience. Access device-specific capabilities with prebuilt native extensions, simulate common mobile application interactions, and reach devices that run on Android and iOS platforms by targeting the latest Adobe Flash Player and AIR runtimes.

New features:

  • Export as HTML5 content – Use CreateJS to make HTML5 from existing Flash content
  • Sprite sheet generation – Export symbols and animation sequences quickly for gaming
  • Wide platform & device support – Target the latest Flash Player & Adobe AIR runtimes
  • Prepackaged AIR application creation – Deliver applications with an AIR captive runtime
  • Platform- & device-specific access – Use prebuilt native extensions that provide access
  • Adobe AIR mobile simulation – Simulate common mobile interactions for testing
  • Stage 3D targeting – Turbocharge rendering performance via the Starling Framework
  • Multiple AIR SDK support – Add multiple Adobe AIR software development kits
  • …plus more that’s new, or download the free trial

What’s New in Premiere Pro CS6

Premiere Pro CS6 delivers a sleek, professional user interface; a powerful playback engine (see all supported graphics cards); and a host of fantastic creative features. Quickly stabilize shaky shots with Warp Stabilizer. Natively edit anything from low-resolution to RED EPIC 5K and ARRIRAW footage, finesse your work with dynamic timeline trimming, handle more multicam angles, and correct rolling shutter artifacts. Get flexible audio tracks, powerful color workflows, Adobe Prelude integration, and more.

New features:

  • Sleek, highly intuitive, and customizable user interface – Intelligently redesigned
  • Fluid editing workflow – Over 50 of the most requested editing enhance­ments
  • Dynamic timeline trimming – Edit with precision using powerful trimming tools
  • Warp Stabilizer effect – Correct jitter and rolling shutter artifacts, like AE
  • Expanded multicam editing – Easily edit footage from as many cameras as you have
  • Better 3-Way Color Corrector – More intuitively manage the color in your projects
  • New adjustment layers – Apply effects across multiple clips, easily create masks
  • Revamped Project panel workflows – View, sort, and arrange media faster
  • Uninterrupted playback – Make changes on the fly, adjust parameters & add effects
  • Enhanced, flexible audio tracks – New tools deliver greater audio flexibility
  • …plus more that’s new, or download the free trial

What’s New in After Effects CS6

After Effects CS6 lets you deliver cinematic visual effects and sophisticated motion graphics faster than ever before. Take 64-bit to a new level with Global Performance Cache. Extend your creativity with the 3D camera tracker, built-in text and shape extrusion, new mask feathering options, rolling shutter repair, and more built-in effects to make your final project look the way you intended.

New features:

  • Global Performance Cache – Revolution “under the hood” makes AE fast and responsive
  • 3D camera tracker – Track & place 3D elements onto 2D footage with complete control
  • Ray-traced, extruded text & shapes – Extrude fully ray-traced text & shapes natively
  • Variable mask feathering – Precisely control mask feathering for the shape you want
  • Integration with Adobe Illustrator – Instantly convert, animate, or extrude vector art
  • Rolling shutter repair – Remove rolling shutter artifacts such as skew and wobble
  • New and updated effects – Enhance creativity with 90 new and updated built-in effects
  • Avid AAF and FCP 7 XML file import with Pro Import AE – Integrate your workflow
  • mocha for After Effects CS6 – Launch mocha for CS6, included directly within AE
  • Broadly-improved GPU acceleration for previews & rendering – Get work done faster
  • …plus more that’s new, or download the free trial

What’s New in Audition CS6

Audition CS6 offers high-performance, intuitive editing tools to help you produce audio efficiently. Powerful new features such as real-time clip stretching, pitch and speed control, write/latch/touch automation, control surface support, and automatic speech alignment help you deliver projects faster than ever. Many user-requested features have been added and improved, such as CD burning, clip grouping with group suspend, tone generation, and more.

New features:

  • Faster, more precise editing – Work faster with dozens of timesaving enhance­ments
  • Real-time clip stretching – Stretch nondestructively in real time, new varispeed mode
  • Automatic speech alignment – Quickly align & replace dialogue with studio recordings
  • EUCON and other control surface support – Work with myriad control surfaces
  • Parameter automation – Automate entire mixes with new parameter automation modes
  • Powerful pitch correction – Correct pitch problems automatically or with manual control
  • Tools for efficient session management – New Media Browser and Quick Search field
  • Clip grouping – Edit multiple clips simultaneously, new Suspend Groups feature
  • Expanded output options – More flexible delivery options including output to audio CD
  • HD video playback – Import and play back HD video without transcoding
  • …plus more that’s new, or download the free trial

What’s New in Encore CS6

Get rock-solid performance and stability with Encore CS6, now natively 64-bit. Open and save projects faster and send them from Premiere Pro CS6 directly to Encore CS6 software without intermediate rendering. Benefit from faster MPEG import, pixel aspect ratio correction in previews, and enhanced DVD, Blu-Ray Disc, and web DVD authoring.

New features:

  • Native 64-bit support – Speed up your authoring workflow with rock-solid performance
  • Faster MPEG import with asynchronous processing – Pull assets in the background
  • Pixel aspect ratio correction in previews – View the correct ratio when previewing
  • …plus more that’s new, or download the free trial

What’s New in Prelude CS6

New Adobe Prelude CS6 is a video ingest and logging tool that can help you tag and transcode footage rapidly. Searchable temporal markers and comments entered in Adobe Prelude can help you find the footage you want, when you want it, at any point in production. Easy ingestion of nearly any file-based footage along with keyboard-driven creation of searchable metadata allows you to keep your eyes on the video and work faster, stay organized, and streamline production. Create rough cuts and associated metadata that will flow through the entire production process in Premiere Pro and with other NLEs. Leverage the XMP-based open platform capabilities of Adobe Prelude to integrate with third-party technologies and asset management systems.

New features:

  • Full or partial ingest – Get to work faster with easy ingest & tagging of file-based footage
  • Heads Up logging – Create metadata & subclips without taking your eyes off your footage
  • Transcode to many formats upon ingest – Transcode to your preferred format(s)
  • Searchable temporal markers – Add searchable markers & temporal metadata to clips
  • Rough cut creation – Jump-start your editing by adding clips & subclips to rough cuts
  • Thumbnail scrubbing – View clips as thumbnails in addition to hierarchies within folders
  • Success write confirmation – Get immediate confirmation your ingest was successful
  • Speech transcription notes – View transcription notes from Speech Analysis in Premiere
  • Customizable extensibility – Leverage the XMP-based open platform for integration
  • Customizable metadata import – Import event metadata from other sources
  • …plus more that’s new, or download the free trial

What’s New in SpeedGrade CS6

New Adobe SpeedGrade CS6 is professional color grading software that brings state-of-the-art color science to your productions. Output to virtually any type of display, from handheld tablets to the big screen. Now part of the Adobe Creative Suite, SpeedGrade CS6 offers a new streamlined interface and the Lumetri Deep Color Engine, giving you confidence in your color decisions. Load projects from Premiere Pro and use professionally designed presets to get up and running fast. Native .Look file support in After Effects and Photoshop provides visual consistency across your productions.

New features:

  • Lumetri Deep Color Engine – Apply precision floating-point grading to all your shots
  • Powerful layer-based grading – Simplify complex color adjustments with layers
  • GPU-accelerated performance – Experience real-time feedback while you grade footage
  • Primary and secondary color correction – Apply to the whole frame in combination
  • Streamlined user experience – Organize logically & efficiently in one integrated workflow
  • Professionally designed .Look files – Explore a range of beautiful, predesigned .Look files
  • Perfectly balanced gamma – Adjust footage to compensate for irregularities and shifts
  • Camera and color space matching – Automatically match footage from different cameras
  • Automatic scene detection – Distinguish individual shots and make short work of projects
  • Adobe tool and workflow integration – Integrate with Premiere Pro, AE, Photoshop, more
  • …plus more that’s new, or download the free trial

What’s New in the CS6 Suite Editions

Adobe combined two CS5 suites into one – the new CS6 Design & Web Premium suite. So now there are four suite offerings in total, including CS6 Design Standard, CS6 Production Premium, and CS6 Master Collection. The different suite configurations remain similar to before except the applications you don’t see above – notably Flash Catalyst, Contribute, OnLocation, and Device Central – are no longer included in Creative Suite 6. What’s more, Flash Builder 4.6 is now bundled with Master Collection only.

Read more about how CS6 is different in other ways, or on other key launch details

Differences from Older Versions (CS6 vs. CS5.0, CS4 or CS3)

What if you’re not currently on CS5.5, but would like to compare from prior versions of Creative Suite? Like upgrading from CS3 to CS6, or from CS4 to CS6…

To answer that, check out the differences between Adobe CS6 vs. CS5.5 vs. CS5 vs. CS4 vs. CS3 – for the complete picture!

See the full CS6 System Requirements, the different CS6 Product Configurations, or the CS6 Price Sheet in major geographies.

Do you have any questions about CS6? Just ask them below and we’ll get you answers fast!

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37 thoughts on “Adobe CS6 — What's New and Upgraded for Each Major Product”

  1. The Background Save and Auto-Recovery feature is only for Photoshop, or is it included in all the new CS6 applications?

  2. Great program and looking forward to exploring all the new options, especially looking forward to using the new design tools.

  3. This looks truly awesome. I need to make a website to show off my greeting cards, used purely for fundraising for cancer research, Motability, ME, MS and MND research plus hospice support! So to have the quality of this suite would be wonderful.

    I use PSE on my MAC at present.

  4. Flash CS6 has been a huge disappointment. I’ve been using it for about a week and it’s crashed on me over 10 times a day, along with a multitude of display issues. CS6 makes CS5.5 look like stable software.

  5. Nicholas, I had that problem with CS5. It was a font conflict of some sort. I fixed it by turning off all but the system fonts and then added fonts slowly, as I worked on projects. One font was making the system crash.

  6. @ Cat
    Hi Cat, thanks for the suggestion. I can experiment with my fonts, but I have had few issues with 5.5 and 5.0 on the same machine. It’s not a min spec issue, and I haven’t had issues like this with other Adobe products.

  7. @ Nicholas Bilyk Also, a font issue doesn’t explain all the display issues I have been having with Flash CS6. Things like buttons not being clickable, selection rectangles being invisible, panels not being able to resize. It’s been dozens of ear flicks any time I use the software. I have an NVidia Quadro 1000M, and as I said before, I can use Photoshop and CS5.5 without these kinds of problems.

    • Wow, that sounds really really strange Nicholas – have never heard of it, and can’t imagine what it might be… Have you tried Adobe Support/Forums?

      It also could be a Windows Registry issue, perhaps something didn’t install properly – so maybe uninstalling and reinstalling the program could help.

  8. I’m trying so hard to see why I should upgrade to PS CS6. Every one of these new options can be done in CS5. I am curious about the video features.

    • Hello Dallas, take a look at our detailed coverage for a more in-depth review:

      What’s New in Adobe Photoshop CS6 vs. CS5?

      Of course, except for the new video editing capabilities, most things that you can do in Photoshop CS6 you can also do with CS5… But you could make the same argument going all the way back to Photoshop 1.0! All things are possible with pixels, but it’s a question of effort – like Steven Wright’s old joke, “everywhere is walking distance if you have the time.”

      How much time will CS6 save you by performing operations faster, simpler, and more efficiently? How much do you value better performance, stability, and ease-of-use? What is your time worth?

      Customers who have used PS CS6 say they would have a hard time going back to CS5 – but it’s easy enough (and no charge) to just download and run the free CS6 trial and see for yourself.

  9. I am currently looking to upgrade my desktop so that I may purchase the Master Collection. I am running a system with an AMD processor. Will I be able to run all programs or do some REQUIRE an Intel processor?

  10. We have recently upgraded from CS5.5 to CS6. A feature that is troubling us is that when one opens a CS5 file (InDesign or Illlustrator files for instance) in CS6, edits the file and clicks File > Save, instead of saving the file immediately, it brings up the ‘Save As’ dialog, with a prior file location rather than the current file location. In order to save the file, the user must navigate back to the original file location, click OK, and answer to an overwrite prompt. We care nothing about preserving the file in the CS5 format, which is what I assume this behavior is trying to accomplish. We want to have File > Save save the document, overlaying the earlier version. How can I turn off this version preservation feature?

  11. I am using Premiere Pro CS6 and cannot find the CS4 menu item Clip/Audio Options/Transcribe to Text … I want to be able to transcribe audio files. Please help! Thank you!

  12. Hi,

    We have a Mac with CS6 and Avid, all works except Photoshop CS6 – it just keeps crashing, we are on Lion.

    Would Avid have an effect with CS6, thus cause this crash or does anyone know of another reason?

    Steve ( UK )

  13. Hello,

    I have recently taken over a marketing and graphic design role in a company. The women before me has not left Adobe account or registration details needed to switch over and update the CS5.5 software currently being used. Can you assist me in upgrading anyway?

    In addition, the iMac currently being used to run the CS is not internet accessible. Can I still upgrade to CS6 without need to convert to the cloud system? What are my options? Can you also include prices for those options?

    Thank you,

  14. OK, thanks, that helps a lot.

    Where can I find product serial code or registration if this information has not be left by the previous owner?

    Is it stored within the software files somewhere?



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