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“Adobe CS6 vs. CS5.5 Comparison – What’s the Difference Between?”
Compare Versions: The Differences Between Adobe CS6 and CS5.5
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58 thoughts on “Compare Versions: The Differences Between Adobe CS6 and CS5.5”
Looking forward to working with the latest!
Well does it mean that there won’t be any new version of Flash Catalyst?
Hi John, thanks for your comment. Some months ago, word came out that Flash Catalyst would not continue in the Creative Suite, and this is confirmed now. So CS5.5 will be the last release available of that product, there will be no Flash Catalyst CS6
Some customers are sorry to see this and think a Catalyst-type tool should output HTML5… others say that the new Adobe Muse could be a replacement for Flash Catalyst in this regard.
Sorry if this news is just getting to you but hope this helps.
Well Muse is NOT a substitute for Catalyst (IMHO ;O) And I certainly will NOT be using Muse as long as it is offered as a subscription/cloud-only product.
How come I can’t find Dreamweaver, Fireworks, Flash Pro, InDesign/InCopy, Premiere Pro, After Effects, Audition, and Encore now that I installed CS6?
Hi Advenger, don’t know – what exactly did you install?
cs6 extended student and teacher edition?
Yes, that’s right – the version of Photoshop for education is always the Extended edition…
For students it’s not possible to buy the Standard version standalone, it’s always Extended.
So I take it that I don’t get all them with Extended?
No, “Extended” is just a version of Photoshop, standalone.
If you want a collection of multiple applications packaged together, you need to get one of the CS6 suites…
See Adobe’s complete product offering matrix and take it from there.
Here also are the full CS6 system requirements plus a price list, which may help in choosing.
It seems Photoshop CS6 has the most improvements, what I can not say for Illustrator – I am actually not satisfied with the improvements in Ai CS6. For Photoshop they are adding new features I can live without but they do not want to improve old dialogs.
Hello again Bojan, thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts. What is it about Illustrator you think may be lacking now? Adobe completely redid the user interface and made it a lot better and cleaner in our opinion. Also the new native 64-bit support really speeds things along now. Not everyone will use new features like pattern creation, but the gradients on strokes is great and image trace is just so much better…
Check out this creation using Illustrator CS6’s new gradients capability:
Also, have you seen the feature-by-feature details for CS6, for all products?
I’m a teacher learning this software this summer. Our textbooks will be for the CS5 version but we received the most current CS6 version of the software.
How much difficulty with compatibility, if any, do you think we will have when teaching from the CS5 version of the textbook?
Greetings, the answer to that depends largely on which applications you’re learning & teaching and what parts of them you’ll be focusing on… The user interfaces for Photoshop, Illustrator, and Premiere Pro have been completely reengineered in CS6 and probably look rather different from what may be pictured in your book for CS5. All the same features are there (plus more of course), but you may have to make some adjustments.
Your best bet is take a look at what’s new in detail for each tool you’re interested in, and then take it from there.
Also should probably ask, are your textbooks for CS5 or CS5.5? If they’re back to CS5, then see all the major differences between CS5 vs. CS5.5 vs. CS6.
We also have over 1,000 pages of completely free new ebooks for Creative Suite 6 you can download that may also be helpful for you and/or your students.
If you have any other questions, feel free to post back. Good luck!
will all my projects transfer from cs5 to cs6 in premiere or will I have to relink and search for files?
Yes YCT, you will definitely be able to open your existing CS5 project files into the new CS6 applications – and all the data should load smoothly and seamlessly.
The college I attend currently has CS5. If I buy the CS6 for my personal laptop, will I be able to port my projects between the two versions?
Welcome Derelle, that’s a good question – it depends on the products… Which application(s) will you be getting or using?
I will be using Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign.
OK then, here’s a complete article with all your answers:
Are Adobe CS6 Files Compatible with CS5, CS4, and CS3 – and Back?
Hope that helps – if you have any further questions then just post back!
regarding the photoshop cs6, will there be any easier and better improvements as far as masking and capturing the subjects with flyaway hair, to actually be more user friendly on the refine edges?
Hey Bob, what version are you using currently? CS5 made some big improvements there… Have you seen the series of masking techniques tutorials?
You should probably also check out the long list of differences between Photoshop CS6 vs. CS5.
I just started using Flash Catalyst and easily label it a Godsend. Now that I have upgraded to CS6, my CS 5.5 doesn’t seem to run properly and there is no substitute for Catalyst?
Why not? What are we supposed to use in place of that and Contribute? My clients love both and it makes my workday much more enjoyable.
Hey there Sean, thanks for your thoughts. First off, Adobe Contribute is alive and well – nothing has happened to it except that it was not included in the bundling of Creative Suite 6… However, it is still sold separately and who knows, there may even be a new version coming at some point. The current version is Contribute 6 (CS5), so if there did happen to be a new release then it would be standalone and called Adobe Contribute 6.5 or Contribute 7.
Two products were discontinued with CS6 – OnLocation and Flash Catalyst. Yes, it’s unfortunate about Flash Catalyst because it was fairly new and had only two versions in its lifetime. However it seems Adobe wants to focus more in the direction of HTML5 going forward, so maybe we’ll more focus for designers there. Some say the new HTML5-centric Adobe Muse is a bit like Flash Catalyst, but others disagree.
Lastly, you should definitely be able to continue using Flash Catalyst CS5.5 if you like – and all applications should work together on the same computer (including mixing CS5.5 and CS6), so if you’re having problems there then you might try reinstalling the program.
So, some good news, some not-as-good news, and hopefully a little help.
If I buy a brand-new, unregistered version today of CS5.5, will I still be able to upgrade to CS6?
Hi John, yes – if your software is genuine then you can definitely upgrade from CS5.5 to CS6…
However the upgrade wouldn’t be gratis, as the free CS6 upgrade grace period ended a while back.
One critical piece of advice though: since Adobe no longer sells old software like CS5.5, it’s problematic trying to find a safe and legitimate copy now… There are many places you should definitely not buy from.
Bottom line, why would you want to try to buy an prior version and then upgrade to the latest release anyway? On the whole, it’s faster, easier, and safer to just buy the real CS6 from the start and be done with it.
You can buy a CS5.5 for cheaper than CS6, or Adobe will even allow you to use a student serial to upgrade to a full CS6 for $525 approximately. That is is why purchasing an older version is sometimes more economical.
It seems as though Adobe is allowing any CS5.5 serial an upgrade to Master Suite CS6 for that price at present.
Sean, if you find a CS5.5 Full plus a CS6 Upgrade for significantly less than the cost of a CS6 Full, then it’s likely that CS5.5 is not authentic… And that’s something you don’t want to get caught up in – there are some risks that are not worth taking to save a few dollars.
On the CS6 upgrade pricing, it is definitely not true that the price is the same no matter what prior product you own – it varies widely… US$525 is the cost to upgrade from CS5.5 Master Collection to CS6 Master Collection only (either education or commercial). But for all other upgrade paths, the price will be different and potentially higher. And since CS6, all product upgrades must be purchased direct from Adobe – so there is no variation on pricing and no chance of bad product.
All things considered, the best deal for getting CS6 new, full, safe and real is to buy the current Student & Teacher Editions at 80% off the regular prices. Either that or the Creative Cloud.
I never claimed that “if you find a CS5.5 Full plus a CS6 Upgrade for significantly less than the cost of a CS6 Full,” what I said is that if you have a student/educational cs5.5 you can upgrade to the cs6 full for significantly lower than paying the full cs6 master price.
My student/EDUCATIONAL copy of cs5.5 is authentic and distributed by the college I attended and so I know it is legit as my serial is registered with Adobe – so there is no risk. Depending on your tuition fees and whether they include your cs5.5 serial as part of the educational material cost, the upgrade to full at $525 is much cheaper than the 80% discounted price of a new educational cs6.
Yes, upgrades from the previous version are always less expensive than buying full, and owning the student edition is the best deal of all if you can get it.
Any distribution now would be CS6 – but for someone who still/already has CS5.5 Master Collection, then the normal upgrade cost to CS6 would be US$525. But if you own any other product (including older releases or smaller suites), then buying the CS6 Master Collection Student Edition full and new at US$799 ($699 with coupon) would be less expensive than going via an upgrade route.
Bottom line, if you’re a student and already own a prior qualifying product, then you have to take a look at the upgrade prices from what you have vs. the full prices for a new student edition – and see which works out better. There is no single rule, as it depends on the circumstance, what you’ve got, and what you want to move up to.
Lastly, an important note for any of those still on CS4 or CS3 – Adobe is changing their policy so that discounted upgrade pricing to CS6 will only be available until the end of this year.
Do I install CS6 over CS5, or do I have to uninstall CS5 first?
Neither actually Jay – the two releases are independent and install side-by-side, and can run alongside one another if you want…
Or you can uninstall CS5 first (or later) if you don’t want to use it anymore.
Thanks for your (good) question.
Adobe Contribute 6.5 is out! More on http://blogs.adobe.com/contribute/2012/08/adobe-unveils-contribute-6-5-with-html5-support.html
Thanks for the heads-up Michael! It’s great to see Adobe Contribute out there on its own and continuing its evolution… We’ll be spreading the word.
Hi – purchased CS5 Master Collection in 2010 at the student discount but never opened or activated it. Before I do open and use it:
– For basic video editing and Photoshop use, would you just stick with CS5 for now? (I don’t have to use this in a work production environment at moment.) The upgrade at $1k ballpark is effectively what I paid for the whole suite. On the other hand, I would prefer not to be locked out of future upgrade options.
– Have you written about the major drawbacks vs. perks of using Creative Cloud *instead of CS6*? While I’m concerned about a run-on monthly bill vs. owning the software, it might be compelling given the hefty upgrade costs. Would welcome your two-cents-worth on that.
– While Adobe customer service can’t find any ins/outs that could allow me to skip the hefty fee involved in an upgrade, I’m wondering what the value of the packaged CS5 product might be if I don’t open it. (Saleability/transferability, etc.) Just want to think about that before I do open it, in case there might be residual value but I could be better off with the Cloud etc.
Greetings Donna, those are some interesting questions. Even though you haven’t opened it, the good news is you have an investment in Creative Suite 5 that was both purchased at a substantial educational discount, and now eligible for an upgrade at a reduced price. So even if you add those two figures together, it’s still less than what a full copy of CS6 Master Collection costs new today.
As for CS5 vs, CS6, there have been a lot of improvements and new features, and you can learn more about those here:
What Are the Differences Between CS6 vs. CS5.5, CS5, CS4, and CS3?
Upgrade costs are a normal but occasional part of life with traditional CS licensing, unless you go with the Creative Cloud – and then monthly costs would become part of regular life. On that question, Creative Suite 6 vs. Creative Cloud – yes, indeed we have a guide for that too:
Adobe CS6 Purchase vs. Creative Cloud Membership – Which Is Best?
Lastly, it is possible to transfer Adobe licensing to another party but we don’t really recommended dealing in secondhand copies of Adobe software as it is simply fraught with peril:
Why Never to Buy Adobe Software on eBay, Craigslist or Amazon Mkt
Hope this helps!
Thanks for that incredibly fast reply … one dangling additional question if I may. I see there is limited free access to Creative Cloud, and 30-day trials available of some aspects.
Will choosing either of those options negate the discount percentage currently available via promotions on Adobe’s site? (In other words, if you start the free use and 30-day-trials, does it lock you in at a higher rate if you do choose to subscribe?)
No, not at all – you don’t lose anything, and are not locked into or out of any discounts or upgrades, for either the Cloud or for CS6 permanent…
The free level of Creative Cloud membership is completely without obligation or impact on your buying decision. Included in that are free trials of all CS6 applications, as well as 2GB of free lifetime online storage for sharing and syncing files.
The best news is last week Adobe also added new Adobe Edge completely free for all comers, so you’ll get that now as well:
Adobe Offers FREE Full Edge Animate 1.0 Tool + 500 Free Web Fonts
Even still, after all that you could keep your free cloud membership and still upgrade to Creative Suite 6 the traditional way via perpetual licensing – and you wouldn’t even have to reinstall the software.
Try everything out and then the choice is completely up to you.
On Mac ID CS6 is incredibly slower than ID CS5.
When you have a multi page catalog with 20-25 images per page it is almost impossible to work with CS6
Hello Albert, what problem are you having in particular – where is it slow?
We’ve only heard of anything like that once before with the Mac, and there’s a setting you can change on your system to fix it – this could be your issue as well.
As a student I found a lot here. I learned what I did not learn in school using CS5. I have been wanting to get CS5. I had learned CS3 which I had on my computer. You have cleared this up for me and gave me a reason to purchase CS6. I still have a few questions about CS5, but I know now that I can manage CS6. Thanks a lot for clearing the difference between CS5 and CS6. First time I used my real name.
I will sign on or bookmark this website.
Sure Linda, glad to help. If you have any questions about Adobe software, feel free to post them here and we’ll try to get you the right answers fast!
Also keep in mind that Adobe’s Upgrade Policy will be changing soon for owners of CS3 and CS4.
Can CS6 be used on the same computer as CS5? I am a Graphic Design student and am looking for a new computer. Are the requirements the same?
Hi Sue, that’s a good question about using two versions on the same machine – and for the complete answer please see this previous discussion.
On the requirements, the specs for CS6 are a little different than for CS5 (but not much) – the easiest thing to do is just check the current CS6 system specs for the product you’re interested in.