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It's True: Adobe Bridge 2021 Is 100% Free for You to Download & Use

What Is Adobe Bridge?

In response to our How to Join Adobe’s Creative Cloud for Free post, we received this question from a reader:

Hi – is it really true that Adobe Bridge (the full version) is totally free to download and use forever, and I don’t have to pay for it or have a subscription?

The answer is yes, it’s absolutely true – although not that many people know about it because Adobe hasn’t really publicized it widely…

Bridge 2021 is Adobe’s flagship desktop media browser and powerful digital asset manager that allows you to efficiently locate, organize, browse, preview, and batch process your content files – including most image, vector, audio and video files. You can view (in fullscreen) and manage Photo­shop PSD, Camera RAW, Illustrator AI, InDesign INDD, Adobe XD, Acrobat PDF, Flash SWF/FLV, and many other types of files and documents, all without paid programs.

While Bridge won’t edit the content of these files on its own, it works beautifully as an easy-to-use visual gateway to all your creative assets – a universal file manager and very handy utility for quickly viewing and working with your creative files in many different formats (Adobe and otherwise). Bridge can also manage & set file metadata, create collections, add image watermarks, rate & label photographs, do slideshows, perform batch file operations including renaming, browse directories without importing, support multi-user workflows, and more. And it’s available worldwide in dozens of languages for both Windows and macOS:

Adobe Bridge Workspace - Download Free Full Version Now

What’s less known is that the license to run/use Bridge is completely free from Adobe and never expires! It doesn’t matter whether you’re running a free Creative Cloud trial or a paid subscription (or even any other Adobe software at all). Regardless, Bridge will legally continue to work and be able to manage and view your media and Adobe files even if/when your trial or subscription ends.

Surprised? Well, it used to be (with CS6 and older) that Adobe Bridge was bundled together with paid programs like Photoshop and After Effects. But Adobe decided to unbundle Bridge and make it a separate download for Creative Cloud, so now this product doesn’t even require a paid subscription. This basically means that Bridge comes with all CC plans – including the popular Photography plan – and even the 100% free level of Creative Cloud.

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Adobe's Best Offer: Get Both Photoshop and Lightroom for Just $9.99 a Month

You can install Bridge 2021 either standalone by itself, or together with other applications like Photo­shop (and all the rest), or even Photoshop Elements… Either way, Bridge requires no purchase, no paid membership or subscrip­tion, and not even any other Adobe tools on the same system. It installs and runs fine, and even allows updating to the latest version of the app itself plus the ACR (Adobe Camera Raw) plugin for the display and previewing of raw files within Bridge.

Adobe recommends that photographers use the more sophisticated Lightroom ecosystem to manage their photos, and that’s a product and workflow which work amazingly well for many customers. But folks who want a simple solution including designers who work with many different applications and file types will still want to use Bridge. Plus, you can install and use it on as many computers as you like, your friends and colleagues can use it, your clients and customers can use it, all at the same time (and even with the same files collabor­atively) – there is no cost or limit or restriction.

So how to take advantage of it? To get your permanently-free Adobe Bridge (100% legitimate and authentic full version), you can download and install it here – look for the big blue “Download” button at the top right, which will give you Bridge via the Creative Cloud Desktop App. Alterna­tively, you can use the CC direct download links. Either way works fine – and it’s not a free trial, nor has any expiration date – as promised above!

Get it now

Special: Legally download dozens of free Adobe books for a limited time!

If you’re not yet running the most recent release of Photoshop, then you can easily get it (plus Lightroom, and all ongoing upgrades to both products included) through Adobe’s Photo­graphy bundle for just $9.99/month. If you’d like to try out the latest Creative Cloud 2021 software first at no cost, then just download the free trial to get started.

Watch: Adobe Bridge in One Minute

Adobe’s Julieanne Kost: Should You Use Lightroom or Bridge?

This policy could change at any time, so don’t miss this unusual opportunity to quickly grab the full working version of new Bridge 2021 legally from Adobe at no cost:

Download now

See Also

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133 thoughts on “It's True: Adobe Bridge 2021 Is 100% Free for You to Download & Use”

    • Hi Cosmo, thanks for your question. It comes with the free level of Creative Cloud, although technically you don’t even need to have that. But it certainly couldn’t hurt, considering all the other benefits you get with that…

      There are two ways you can download and install Bridge: The usual way is from Adobe’s Bridge CC page – look for the big blue “Download” button at the upper right, which will download the main Creative Cloud Desktop App (called “CreativeCloudSet-Up” for PC/Mac). After you install & run that, you’ll see Bridge CC listed there (possibly in the “Previous Versions” section), and then you just click “Install.”

      Alternatively, you can use the CC direct download links here, which just requires a login with your Adobe ID. Note you must carefully follow the download instructions given on that page (required by Adobe’s servers), before clicking on the Bridge 32-bit or 64-bit Windows or Mac links. That will then download the Bridge CC installer directly to your computer.

      Either way will work and give you the full and free version of Bridge CC, as promised above. Once the software is installed on your system, you can easily get all updates to the most recent release (including the latest version of ACR used by Bridge) by selecting Help menu > Updates. Enjoy!

    • Yes Ryan, absolutely. That’s one of the reasons why we believe Adobe has made this a separate free download available for everyone…

      Bridge CC can display full-screen views of many Adobe format files & documents, such as PSD, DNG, AI, EPS, INDD, PDF, SWF, and FLV – including page-turning where applicable – and it also can visually preview and thumbnail a ton of other file formats for images, vectors, audio, video, etc. – all without leaving the application. Just select the file(s) you want and press the spacebar.

      Hope that helps!

  1. Thanks for your reply but I remain confused. I tried to download it but was told I needed to sign up for a free CC subscription. So do I need to do this or not? A simple, clear response would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks

    Reply
    • Hello again Cosmo, as mentioned in the article and the comment above, there are two ways you can download and install your free copy of Bridge CC…

      The first way (the standard method) also gives you a free level of CC membership including free 30-day trials of all CC products, as well as many non-expiring benefits.

      The second way (the direct download method) does not give you that, and only requires a log in with your free Adobe ID.

      Either way, the installed Bridge CC software is the same, and is fully updateable via the Help menu > Updates.

      Hope that makes things clearer.

  2. Please ProDesignTools, could you explain in more detail what are the pros and cons to installing Bridge CC for a CS user ?
    Note : I have already read your post, but I don’t find all my answers.

    A few questions for example :
    What is the impact on the Adobe Camera Raw plugin inside Photoshop CS6 ? Are we still stuck with the 9.1.1 version of ACR, or do we get a new version (current 9.3) ?

    If we are unhappy with the Bridge CC version for any reason, can we still go back to the CS version afterwards ?

    Thank you very much.

    Reply
    • Hey there Evergreen,

      Installing or using Bridge CC would not change or update the Camera Raw plug-in/version that is used by Photoshop CS… They are managed separately within each program.

      Bridge does install and use the latest Camera Raw plug-in itself for its own functionality, but in a read-only way in order to display and preview the content within your Adobe files. Bridge CC can edit image metadata and the like, however to make changes to the image pixels (and actually open the file for editing) you would use your version of Adobe Photoshop and/or the ACR that comes with it.

      So whenever there is a new update to ACR, then your Bridge CC will definitely receive that update for those purposes. By using the current release of the ACR plug-in, the free Bridge CC will always be able to properly manage, display and preview the latest Camera Raw images within its media browser.

      To answer your second question – yes, you can go back and use previous releases of Adobe tools at any time, and even have them installed together on the same system. There should be no conflict outside of occasionally the system’s file associations not being connected to the app version that you want. However, you can easily set these back however you like, at any time.

      Hope that fully answers your question; if not then just post back!

  3. The updates of Bridge are not parallel with the other apps. Why? Especially the integration with After Effects sucks. And Bridge is still very slow.

    Reply
  4. Pro design tools,

    I am still working with Photoshop 5 and lightroom 5.7.
    Will this free Adobe Bridge CC be compatible with those older versions?

    Reply
    • Yes Louise, Bridge CC remains a permanently-free application for everyone even with today’s upgrade. Here are the details:

      Adobe Bridge CC 6.2.0 Update: This update improves cache management with options to automatically manage for optimal performance. Improved app response with on-demand thumbnail generation and faster access to metadata filtering and search. Reinstated Autostack Panorama/HDR menu (Mac), MPEG2 and Dolby video playback. Added media import option on El Capitan. Updated several Bridge components.

      Adobe wrote an article about it here:

      Bridge Reloaded

      …and you can download Bridge CC for free here.

  5. I have downloaded the free Bridge CC and have it installed and working except the camera raw plugin. When I try to open a photo in camera raw i get an error message saying I need to use another qualifying program first:

    Bridge’s parent application is not active.

    Bridge requires that a qualifying product has been launched at least once to enable this feature.

    I don’t use photoshop or lightroom, but I do have and use photoshop elements 14 and camera raw works great in that program. I would like to use adobe camera raw in bridge as well. Is there a fix for this? I am using windows 10.

    Thanks for your help

    Reply
    • Hey Bob, try opening the Edit menu > Preferences settings within Bridge CC and see what the File Type Associations say… If necessary, change those to “Adobe Photoshop Elements” for the file types you’re editing.

      Then select your file within the Bridge workspace and see what the File menu > Open With says – does it indicate “Adobe Photoshop Elements Editor” as the default?

      Following these steps, you should be able to get your Photoshop Elements working with Adobe Bridge CC.

      We tested this with the latest release of Bridge CC together with Photoshop Elements 14 and were able to open a Canon .CR2 raw file directly from Bridge into Adobe Camera Raw running within Photoshop Elements simply by double-clicking or opening the file.

      So you should be able to use the free Adobe Bridge CC with either Photoshop CC (and other Creative Cloud tools), or with Photoshop Elements.

  6. @ProDesignTools
    maybe I am missing something but I fail to see an “edit with” input field under Edit > Preferences settings File Type Associations or anywhere else under Edit > Preferences settings. I have associated all the file types I use with Elements 14. Still no go. I still get the message “the parent application for Bridge has not been activated.”

    Thanks again

    Reply
    • The “Open With” command is under the File menu, not under the Preferences…

      Our suggestion was select your file within Bridge and see what File > Open With says – does it show “Adobe Photoshop Elements Editor” as the default option?

      After verifying the settings, we tested double-clicking a Canon .CR2 raw file in Bridge CC, and it opened the file directly into ACR within Photoshop Elements.

  7. I just got kickback from corporate overlords that “…basically Bridge CC is not free for us under our Enterprise Agreement.” I tried calling Adobe, talked to Sipal on what sounded like an overseas call, and he said it wasn’t free either. He asked me to send him the link where I got my information, which I did, and he said this information was old, and referred to CS6. Has the whole world gone crazy? Is there any official documentation I can get on this subject. We have over 20 active CC subscriptions for designers and prepress technicians, but we just need something for customer service folks to preview indd and ai files and get them to the right place. Someone give me some advice, please!

    Reply
    • Sure Ben, we’d be happy to. Sorry for the confusion, but it’s exactly the other way around from what you heard… This information is not old; on the contrary – Bridge CS6 was absolutely not free (it was bundled and sold together with Photoshop CS6). But then later, Adobe separated out Bridge CC and now delivers this tool independently.

      You can download and try it yourself – and you’ll see that it is not a limited-time free trial, and there is no software expiration date. Bridge CC requires nothing – no purchase, no log in or sign in, no subscrip­tion or member­ship, no activation, and not even any other Adobe tools on the same computer. It installs and runs standalone, and even allows full updating to the latest version of the app itself plus the Adobe Camera Raw plugin.

      And per your use case, yes – Bridge CC can definitely visually preview INDD, AI, PSD, PDF, and SWF/FLV files (among many other file format types).

      The issue is that Adobe is a big company and there was no announcement about this relatively recent change – so even some employees inside aren’t aware of it yet… But we are longtime Adobe partners and in direct contact with the current development and product management teams for Bridge CC, and can assure you that what is stated on this page is accurate and correct.

      Hope that helps!

  8. Thanks! I saw what you’re talking about… I followed the instructions you guys posted elsewhere for standalone installs, and downloaded Bridge CC for Mac and PC, but unfortunately we still need to hear it from the horse’s mouth before I can distribute it.

    Next time you’re in touch with those Adobe insiders, nudge them to make an announcement of some kind… even if they just go to the Adobe Bridge Community forum and respond to my thread, “Is Bridge CC Free?” I will try to keep bumping it to the top.

    Thanks again,
    Ben

    Reply
    • No worries, here is a response from Adobe confirming what you want.

      Subject: Adobe Bridge Question
      Date: Wed, Nov 11, 2015 2:07 pm

      There was some discussion in our meeting this week about Adobe Bridge, what the status is, is it free, etc. I heard back from the product team with some information which may help:


      There actually is a product page for Bridge CC. http://www.adobe.com/products/bridge.html

      Bridge is available in the list of tools that you can download in the CC Desktop app.

      Bridge is free for all customers.

      I also want to confirm that Bridge is indeed “alive” — and, we are currently developing a new release.

      We don’t currently promote it as a key part of Creative Cloud Photography plan and recommend that photography customers use Lightroom for asset management.

      Based on some of the customer feedback, photography and Bridge usage do go hand-in-hand and we plan to keep that in our mind as we work on different workflows in Bridge.

      We are very excited to be a part of the next era of the product. I can tell there is a lot of passion around this application based on posts in the forums & through other sources. It’s clearly important to your work and to your success — and we want to ensure that it continues to be so.

      Thanks,
      Hina Naqvi, Product Manager for Adobe Bridge


  9. Hi ProDesignTools – Thank you for your knowledgeable information and this excellent thread !
    I understand from the information given here that free ACR is read-only.
    Is there a way to license full ACR functionality without licensing PS or LR ?

    Reply
    • Thanks Michael. That’s correct, the Adobe Camera Raw that’s included in the free Bridge CC is used for the proper display and previewing of different raw file formats… To get the full ACR functionality including editing, you do need to purchase or subscribe to either Photoshop or Lightroom.

  10. I had CS5 and Bridge and added PhotoshopCC. Is the Bridge that is available with PhotoshopCC the same as the one I bought with Photoshop CS5? Do I need to upgrade to a new version? Will I see all my pictures on the new version? Do I need to delete the old version?

    Second question, if I get a Mac, how do I change my PhotoshopCC (currently have PC).

    Reply
    • The two versions are absolutely different – so yes, we’d definitely recommend using the newer Bridge CC version instead, because it has the latest ACR plugin and will be able to see/preview all your current photos/images that were made with Photoshop CC.

      You can probably have both versions of the Bridge application installed on the same computer, but we’d recommend just uninstalling the older one to avoid confusion… Anyway, the newer Bridge CC is already free-for-life anyway – so you can always have it.

      On your second question: If you get a Mac, then you would just install the Mac version of the CC software onto your new system. For more details, see these two guides:

      How Many Computers Can You Install or Run Adobe Software On?

      How to Move Adobe Products Between Computers, or from PC to Mac

      Hope that fully answers your questions, if not then just post back!

  11. I’ve downloaded and installed Bridge CC and it seems to be working fine. Chuffed! If I try to open Camera Raw I get the same error message as described by Bob above. I’ve downloaded the Camera Raw 9.5.1 installer from https://helpx.adobe.com/camera-raw/kb/camera-raw-plug-in-installer.html.

    What I’m wondering now is if I download the Photoshop CC trial and run that to activate Camera Raw, will Camera Raw from Bridge still work after the Photoshop trial expires?

    Reply
    • Glad you have it working for free as promised. What Bob mentioned wasn’t actually an error message; Bridge was just reporting that it wasn’t configured with a version of Adobe Photoshop that it could open/edit a raw file with.

      So if you download the latest Photoshop trial then it’s no problem as both Photoshop CC and Bridge CC use the same version of Adobe Camera Raw… And yes, the ACR plugin will continue to work inside of Bridge itself even if your Photoshop trial expires.

  12. Great! So, just to clarify: After the Photoshop trial has expired, will I be able to select a RAW file in Bridge and select “Open in Camera Raw…”, or will this functionality disappear with Photoshop and just the RAW image previewing be retained?

    Reply
    • It’s the latter (previewing). As noted above, the Adobe Camera Raw that’s included in Bridge CC is used only for the proper display and preview of different raw file formats… To get the full ACR functionality including editing, you need a working version of Photoshop or Lightroom, either via purchase/subscription or free trial.

      The good news is that it used to cost $999 upfront (plus $349 upgrades) to get Adobe Photoshop Extended – but now it’s just $9.99/month for the latest full Photoshop CC with ongoing upgrades included, plus you get Lightroom CC too… See:

      Adobe Gives Ongoing Discount for Photoshop + Lightroom CC Bundle

  13. Ah, OK. Thanks for clarifying. Seemed like a sneaky workaround that was too good to be true! But it’s still great to have Bridge for free. I’d been looking for alternatives and haven’t found anything that can match it, for me.

    Reply
    • Yes, it’s pretty awesome to have Adobe Bridge permanently at no cost – and most people don’t even know or aren’t aware of it… That’s why we wrote this article!

      The cool part is anyone can use Bridge CC to view many Creative Cloud files even after a membership ends or expires – or even if they don’t have a subscription to the CC tools – because of the intelligent Adobe file format display capabilities that Bridge has built right in, for free.

      Finally, Adobe continues to actively develop Bridge and improve its existing set of features plus add new capabilities, as you can see in this recent post update:

      Adobe Bridge Reloaded

  14. Informative and persuasive video and comment stream. As a longtime user of Bridge and CS xyz, I have been leery of the subscriber model. But I like updates, and, parenthetically, have had it with iPhotos and Photos, which is one place I have put my edited jpgs for easy accessibility. Raw files and edited versions stored separately, of course. What about moving to Aperture for the various benefits cited in the video – and not needing any separate utility for jpg images? Can I stop using Photo for storage? What to do about the 20,000 images in that library? Should I uninstall Bridge and CS6?

    Thanks for any advice.

    Reply
  15. Unfortunately, it seems the free Bridge CC (either older 6.0 or 6.2 latest variant) will not open Raw files when LR CC is installed. At least it didn’t while I tried LR out, before purchasing the non-cloud LR 6 license. Now, with Bridge CC 6.2, LR 6.6.1 and Photoshop Camera Raw 9.6.1 installed (and properly registered and updated), trying to open a Raw file produces the dreaded “parent application missing” error message. So, LR is not considered a “parent application”, and we can’t edit Raw in Bridge anymore ?

    Reply
    • Hey Akak, opening raw files directly from Bridge into (or with) Lightroom isn’t usually the way things work… Bridge is more of a simple file/media browser than Lightroom is. Lightroom essentially replaces both Bridge and Adobe Camera Raw, because the Develop Module in Lightroom and ACR are exactly the same.

      You could possibly drag the photo from Bridge and drop it on the Lightroom window or desktop icon. However, that may be an inefficient way to work since you’d still have to import the image(s) into Lightroom’s catalog in order to do your editing.

      Also, because Bridge does not have access to Lightroom’s catalog/database, note that the image as you see it in Bridge will only reflect adjustments that you make in Lightroom if ‘sidecar’ XMP files are created for the image (select Catalog Settings > Metadata tab > Automatically Write Changes Into XMP).

      Bottom line, Bridge remains 100% free, and uses the latest release of the Adobe Camera Raw plug-in in a read-only way to display and preview the content within your Adobe files. Bridge CC can edit image metadata and the like, however to fully edit raw images from Bridge using ACR, you need Adobe Photoshop (which is the qualifying product or ‘parent application’).

  16. Hey ProDesign, I was just trying to clarify further on previous, older comments about what needs to be registered (apart from Bridge) for it to maintain its Raw-file-editing functionality. You are of course right to say that, nowadays, Bridge CC is a simple file/media browser. But for me, coming from a 3-year experience working in a photography studio with a dozen licenses of Creative Suites (our last update before shutting down was a one-year subscription to Photoshop / Lightroom CC only) editing Raw files in Bridge was my everyday life!!! It was after our subscriptions ended that I started making distinctions between ACR (or Photoshop Camera Raw, as Adobe is calling it now) and the “other variants”, the ones embedded in Bridge and Lightroom. Enter Lightroom CC, and I was hoping that registering THAT would eventually “unlock” the Raw editing capabilities of Bridge CC (the “Open in Camera Raw” option)…. Alas, it doesn’t. Anyway, thank you for being there for us (the end-users) and clarifying matters all this time – your offline-installers article alone helped a ton of folks overcome the first difficult steps of Adobe transposing to a cloud-based subscription model ;)

    Reply
    • Sure Akak, glad to know we are doing some good here – that’s great to hear, and thank you for your kind words! We truly appreciate your appreciation :)

  17. I have downloaded the free Bridge CC. It will not open Camera RAW v. 9.7 within Bridge (as opposed to opening Camera RAW in Photoshop), nor will it allow me to open the Camera Raw preferences. If I select a RAW file and hit Command-R, which would normally open a RAW file from within Bridge, I get a dialogue that states “Camera Raw is not enabled. Camera Raw editing requires that a qualifying product has been launched at least once to enable this feature”.

    I am running CS6 normally, so I DO NOT have any purchased CC products. So, my conclusion is that Bridge WILL NOT open ACR unless one PURCHASES a qualifying product within the CC suite. It’s not really a fully functioning version of Bridge if one cannot use the most recent version of ACR within the Bridge.

    I can still open ACR 9.1.1 in CS6 (PS and Bridge), but of course, the goal was to be able to use ACR version 9.7, which can only be accessed in CC apps.

    I hope I’m wrong, but I doubt it.

    Reply
  18. Of course, just FYI, I’m running El Capitan 10.11.6.

    One more comment, the issue for me is opening ACR within Bridge so i can access the latest ACR version while sticking with CS6 for a bit longer. CS6 will only support ACR v 9.1.1, no higher.

    I get the impression from blogs and youtube videos that many folks don’t realize that double clicking a RAW files in Bridge opens ACR in Photoshop, not Bridge (at least on a Mac, not sure about Windows). Command/Control-R or “Open in Camera Raw” under “File” opens the Bridge’s ACR.

    Reply
  19. I have confirmed that Bridge is indeed free, both Windows and Mac. Done it both ways and yes it works. However, the Camera Raw feature is not enabled unless you pay for it. The ACR feature will not be enabled until one opens a licensed Creative Cloud product first, such as Photoshop. So yes, Bridge is free, but ACR is not.

    Reply

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