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Compare Versions: The Differences Between Adobe CS6 and CS5.5

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Adobe CS6 vs. CS5.5 Comparison – What’s the Difference Between?

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58 thoughts on “Compare Versions: The Differences Between Adobe CS6 and CS5.5”

  1. How come I can’t find Dreamweaver, Fireworks, Flash Pro, InDesign/InCopy, Premiere Pro, After Effects, Audition, and Encore now that I installed CS6?

    Reply
    • 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:

      Illustrator CS6 Motorcycle with New Gradients on Strokes

      Also, have you seen the feature-by-feature details for CS6, for all products?

  2. Hello,

    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?

    Thanks!

    Reply
    • 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!

    • 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.

  3. 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?

    Reply
  4. 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?

    Reply
  5. 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.

    Reply
    • 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.

    • 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.

  6. 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.

    Reply
    • 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.

  7. 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.

    Reply
    • 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.

  8. 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.

    Thanks!

    Reply
  9. 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?)

    Reply
    • 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.

  10. 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

    Reply
  11. 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.

    Reply
  12. 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?

    Reply

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