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Grace Period for Free Upgrades to Adobe Creative Suite 5.5

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Grace Period for Free Upgrade to New Adobe CS5.5


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46 thoughts on “Grace Period for Free Upgrades to Adobe Creative Suite 5.5”

  1. Hi. I just recently purchased the Adobe CS5 Production Premium on April 1st, after much contemplation of whether I should wait for CS6. I decided to bite the bullet, and today I received an announcement that CS5.5 is available. I wanted to know what my options were for upgrading. I JUST bought this. Had I known there would be an upgrade in a week I surely would have waited.

    Then I found this page and it got me singing the praises of Adobe all over again (since I have been all week long, today was just one of those bummer days in nearly all aspects). Thank you so very much for your timely and incredibly satisfying news – turned my day all around! Much, much, MUCH appreciation!


  2. I have been on the cusp of buying CS5 for about a week now after finding a good deal online… then today I thought maybe I’ll wait till CS5.5 comes out and hopefully the online retailer will offer it for a similarly good deal… Until that is, I came across this article. So now I’m just wondering if this a valid option if not purchasing from Adobe directly…?


    • Hi Tony, thanks for your question. It’s possible that could work, but we don’t recommend it. The reasons are you have to be really careful about 3 things:

      1. That the other party is an official authorized reseller of Adobe. If not, there’s no chance Adobe would accept it. This rules out a lot of places like eBay, Amazon Marketplace,,, etc. – none of those would work.

      2. That the documentation you submit from the seller would be accepted by Adobe after you send it in (naturally this wouldn’t be an issue if you get the software direct from Adobe).

      3. That the product you purchase is genuine and authentic. There is a ton of bad software out there that will harm your computer and worse, and it’s often not worth the risk to try to save a few dollars. Usually this software falls into the “good deal” category, if you know what I mean.

      Since it’s often hard to tell, these days your best, fastest, and safest bet is to go directly through Adobe – and especially for this limited offer. If you buy it somewhere else, and Adobe doesn’t accept it, then you’re out of luck and stuck with no free upgrade, and it’s too late.

      Anyway, hope this helps and good luck!

  3. We just purchased the Creative Suite 5 site license for our high school. We just received the software the day before the new launch. Is there a way to get the 5.5 version?

  4. Hello,

    I just bought CS5 Master Collection March 3rd, and they will not give me the free upgrade to CS5.5, and the kicker is that I have not even installed it yet, but unfortunately I have opened the box.

    I asked what the grace period is for the free upgrade. Their response: “Starting the date CS5.5 was announced.” So if you bought it on April 10th, you’re out of luck.

    Unfortunately I was “way far out of the free upgrade period”

    • Hi Smalldog, it may be that regrettably you are too far out of the grace period to qualify – sorry about that!

      However the information you received is not consistent with what we have been hearing… There are definitely folks that bought before the CS5.5 announcement date that are receiving the free upgrade.

      We know one person who purchased two weeks prior to 4/11 that was eligible, and this is in line with Adobe’s public statements in the Q&A above. So some parts of what you were told may be inaccurate.

      But it may still be that if you bought seven weeks ago, it is too long passed. Unfortunately no matter what policy or date Adobe sets, it will always leave some people unhappy – because whatever the cut-off is, there will be folks that purchased a day earlier who wouldn’t qualify.

      If you or anyone has any question about their particular case, you can always contact Adobe about it.

      Anyway, hope this helps at least a little, and CS5 Master Collection is still an amazing product!

  5. I’ve read from different sources that the student and teacher versions of CS5 do not qualify for an upgrade, but then other places say that the academic version does qualify for a free upgrade. Which is right?

    Is there a number at Adobe that you can call without having to navigate through some crazy phone system and talk to someone in under 30 minutes to get a simple question answered?

    • Hello again Smalldog, not a problem – we can say definitively that Adobe’s educational versions do indeed qualify for the free upgrade to Creative Suite 5.5, if purchased within the grace period…

      As for the best way to contact Adobe about this, chat is definitely the fastest and easiest – but if you call, the phone number depends on where you’re calling from… See this page for information on how-to and where for both.

  6. Hi, I purchased the cs4 to cs5.0 design premium upgrade March 2nd. @600$ I was denied a free upgrade to cs 5.5

    Now I have to explain to my management why after given instructions to bring our CS5 Design Premium licenses up to date they will have to pay an additional 400$ per copy to do so a month later to make our software up to date again.

    It would be nice to prorate pricing outside of the grace period if possible. I realize I am over a month outside the forgiveness window but to have to pay 100% full price seems unfair. Even a physical item like a retail store purchased TV normally has a 30-day FREE return or worst- small restocking fee. But yet Adobe can not manage something even that fair for a non-physical item? Really?

    This has left a bad taste in our mouth and we will have to reconsider future upgrades. To date we have been a faithful customer of Adobe upgrading our corporate licenses at every turn but we knew well ahead of time when the next releases would be. This release 5.5 has blindsided us. I am sure our corporation is not the only with these sentiments so just something for Adobe to consider.


    • Welcome Mike, thanks for sharing your thoughts, and sorry you found yourself outside of the window for a free upgrade. As commented above, Adobe is bound to face unhappy folks no matter when they put the date, because there will always be people who bought just before that time.

      The prorated idea is interesting. In fact, that is what the company tries to achieve (in some part) with their tiered upgrade pricing policy. What this does is makes upgrades less expensive for those who have newer versions than older. So the cost for you to move your suite from CS5 to CS5.5 will be less than for those who are upgrading from CS4 to CS5.5. Yes, you’ll pay more in total than if you didn’t purchase CS5 in the middle, but you’ll still get a discount on CS5.5 now for being closer.

      Regarding returns, Adobe does indeed have a 30-day money-back guarantee and return policy… So if you have any difficulty or issue with your product (whether boxed or downloaded), you can return it for a full refund within that timeframe If you need to, you can even return a product to Adobe that you purchased from a retailer or reseller, if the reseller will no longer accept it – which arguably is pretty generous.

      So, if Adobe’s free upgrade grace period were also to go back 30 days, that would make sense – because otherwise someone could return their purchased CS5 product within the window, and then order CS5.5 instead.

      Again, sorry to hear you fell outside of the period, but hope this helps understand at least some of how it works… Going forward, please consider following our blog (Twitter, Facebook, RSS, or email) – it may help in the future as we started reporting on CS5.5 as early as last October, and can already tell you that CS6 won’t be out for quite a while!

      Take care Mike and thanks again for your thoughtful input.

  7. Why announce it silent on Twitter, Facebook, RSS, or email and not big on your website! I think I know the reason. It’s because then everybody waits for the latest edition…

    • Well, it must be quite costly for Adobe to offer this program – think of all the exchanges, reshipments, and customer support…

      But since Adobe already has a longstanding 30-day return policy on all products, really anybody who bought CS5 recently could take advantage of this swap without any special announcement.

      Appreciate the comment, thanks!

  8. Do you know when the last day the free upgrade offer will be?

    I am looking to purchase Adobe CS 5 from my school store NOW, (5.5 isnt at my school store yet), and want to be sure I can still get the 5.5 when it comes to my school.

    Am I still safe?


  9. I received an email from adobe saying I qualified for the free upgrade, but I can’t figure out how to get it… has it officially been released yet? thanks!

  10. Hi there, I have Adobe Premiere Pro CS5 (upgrade from an earlier version – CS3), and I would like to establish if I could upgrade to CS5.5 now.

    I bought the product from a registered Adobe dealer in Cape Town, South Africa. What is the best way to go about it, and what would the cost be?

    • Greetings Andre – yes, you definitely can, although it depends on how recently you purchased it as to whether it would qualify for a free upgrade to CS 5.5… You would need to contact Adobe to determine this.

      Otherwise, you can just purchase and download your upgrade online using Adobe’s easy Upgrade Guide – and it will give you the correct discounted price and links.

      Hope this helps!

    • Hello Lisa, great question – and if you just bought it then you should be able to get a free upgrade to Adobe Technical Communication Suite 3.5, which includes Captivate 5.5 and appears to be imminent!  (release date August 16th, 2011??)

      If for some reason you can’t get a free upgrade, then just return it within 30 days to Adobe – and buy and download TCS 3.5 as soon as it comes out…

      Good luck and please let us know how it turns out!

  11. I find this totally ridiculous, does Adobe does not remember how they got where they are… Recap Quark Express treated their customers so badly. I bought six licence upgrades when 5.0 Standard suite became available, two days ago I bought a new 5.5 Standard suite as our studio is growing this version causes incompatibilities in InDesign. As I believe in constructive criticism, charge your customers for full version upgrades not incremental ones (5.0 – 6.0, not 5.0 – 5.5) ….. frustrating. WAKE UP ADOBE.

    • Welcome NB. Some people do feel as you do, but others don’t mind – and even appreciate – that Adobe put out this .5 release.

      Read about some of the reasons/needs for CS5.5 explained. And these aren’t inconsequential changes – there are some major differences from CS5 in most applications.

      But it’s optional – so if any customer doesn’t want or need the upgrades, then they don’t need to buy or use them. The product you have will continue to work the same as before.

      Now, should it be free? Adobe did offer a grace period as described here, but if they gave all these significant new features free for everyone then it would be that many fewer people making the move up to CS6

      And if there were no paid upgrades for Adobe, there would be little funds to pay Adobe developers, meaning there would be no real development or advancement of the Creative Suite. We essentially think of it as supporting the company and the evolution of the innovative product we love, if we need the upgrade – with the option to pass if we don’t.

      One additional note – if you have CS5 in your shop and want another license of that version instead of CS5.5 (they’re the same price), then that’s possible as well even though Adobe no longer officially sells version 5.0… All you have to do is order an Adobe Business license for however many seats you want, and then downgrade those back to CS5.0, if having a consistent or homoge­neous environment is important.

      Hope this helps!

  12. That’s nuts, $399 for an upgrade from cs design premium 5.0 to 5.5. I could see from 4.0 to 5.5 but 5.0 to 5.5 should be no more than $100.

    • Well actually Steve, to upgrade from CS4 Design Premium to CS5.0 cost $599 at the time when CS5 came out…

      In other words, to move every application within the suite (Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Acrobat, Dreamweaver, Flash, etc.) between major versions has cost about $600 historically.

      To upgrade from CS4 Design Premium to Creative Suite 5.5 now is $649, just a little bit more.

      If you already have CS5, then to bump your suite up to CS5.5 – a half step – now costs $399, which is a little more than half the price of a full step. That seems logical because Adobe has some extra expenses for issuing and managing the mid-cycle release. And people who buy the software now will benefit by getting a more current version than if CS5 (from April 2010) were still the latest.

      Read more about the different upgrade prices. If it’s worth it to you in terms of having the best new features, speed, and productivity, then go for it. But if you don’t need or want the upgrade, then it’s not obligatory.

      On your last point, the “.5” releases mean different things to different products. For example, Lightroom 3.5 (just released) is a free update for any/all owners of Lightroom 3. So, it depends on the software, and level of “upgrade” versus “update.”

  13. @ProDesignTools

    Thank you Pro Design for your reply.

    This is not the 1990’s where .5 updates were charged. I feel they need to wake up their business model for charging, and I do remember the Photoshop and Pagemaker .5 days a ways back then but it is 2011.

    One of the most frustrating things is incompatibility out of the box for InDesign CS 5.5; thankfully they didn’t do that for Acrobat X, Photoshop or Illustrator. I do understand the InDesign workaround, but still it is frustrating.

    Also the customer service lack of information for the end-user on if there will be a price difference to go from 5.5 – 6.0 as compared to 5.0 – 6.0.

    Dollars should not come into this, Adobe has a few dollars. I wonder how much they paid for Typekit?? Now that was a smart move, bringing them into this century – hopefully their accountants can follow.

  14. @ nB

    Sorry, just glanced at the first few lines of your reply. First thing I saw was ‘need to wake up’, so I immediately thought you were telling me that ‘I’ needed to wake up. Thanks for the comment

  15. @ProDesignTools

    I’m just not in big demand for a .5 upgrade, especially money-wise. I’ve just been annoyed with some speed bugs in Photoshop CS5. Always a lag time when I first open a file. I’ll definitely upgrade to 6.0 but hopefully I’ll have some money by then.

  16. Naebother (No problem, translation Scots – English) Steve.

    I have found a ridiculous speed bump in all apps including all the Adobe Suite by purchasing a secondary SSD (apps and system) and HHD for Data store with my new iMac cost approx $2300. Paid for itself in a week.

    peacepeace nB

  17. @ nB

    In particular it’s whenever I open a new file in Photoshop, both my desktop and laptop, there is a rather long, annoying lag time before anything works. Never happened with earlier versions of CS. Tried both 16 and 32 bit but the same. Was expecting much better performance when I upgraded to cs5. Still a worthy upgrade.

    • Yes Tony, definitely you can uninstall your CS5 if you like (or any other earlier version like CS4 or CS3 if you had it), and it won’t affect your new CS5.5 installation.

      Or, some people leave both if they think it will help with transitioning to the newer release, or if they need the ability to save to even older project file formats.

      But, it’s completely up to you – either way will work fine.

  18. don’t laugh, but I’ve been using CS2 for many years now. started at grad school and still have it on my home computer. I use CS2 in my work as well….in county gov’t and with dwindling budgets there is likely no way they will upgrade.

    i’m back in school and just purchased CS5.5 for myself, realizing (after the fact) that there is absolutely *no* way to get these two to talk to each other. Should I keep CS2 on my computer at home for any reason? I can open psd docs in CS5.5 but will then have to save them as a 5.5 file, right?

  19. to add to my comment above, please note that the CS2 is on an old Dell and the CS5.5 I just bought is on a new Mac. That being said, however, I was just scanning through some of your other topics and realized that if I wanted to, I could upgrade my student version of CS2 (Premium) to CS5.5! The regular retail price of that upgrade on the Adobe site ($949)…but could not find the pricing of academic upgrades. Any idea?

    • Hi lb, you can try saving your PSD files with “Maximize Compatibility” turned on, and that might get you back from Photoshop CS5 to older versions. For other applications, it may not be possible to save back that far.

      But yes, you currently can upgrade your CS2 Student Edition to a full commercial version of CS5.5 at the discounted upgrade price.

      (Note that you can’t upgrade to another student edition, only to the regular commercial version. The already-discounted education versions can only be purchased full outright.)

      Hope this helps!

  20. Hi, Can I return an Adobe product if opened or installed within the 30 day return policy? Of course it will be uninstalled from the computer if it was used.

    Does the CS6 come out in May or June? The previous CS5 and 5.5 were released in the month of May. Any info on that?

  21. Thanks there ProDesign for your clarification but I didn’t exactly understand how I can “create my own grace period”. Let’s say,

    I buy the Adobe suite Design/Web Premium now, then I have 30 days to return. For example, I buy it on Feb 15th and by March 15th the 30 days return policy expires – but CS6 may have not been released for an other 45 days until May. So will I be eligible to a free upgrade to CS6, despite 45 days having passed from the 30 day return policy? How I can make my grace period in this situation? Thanks

    BTW, I am buying a student edition for the first time so I don’t have previous versions of Adobe to upgrade.

    • Sure Moe, you’re welcome – and it sounds like you understand it well actually…

      Nobody can tell you for sure when CS6 will be shipping. So that’s a guessing game as to when it will come out, but they won’t offer you an indefinite window for a free upgrade on your purchase.

      However, Adobe’s everyday Refund Policy will you get a 30-day “grace period” from the point you move forward with CS5.5. It’s a limited time from whenever you decide to buy it, and can’t be extended.

      But note that Adobe’s grace periods in the past have never gone back more than 30 days anyway, from the new product’s launch date… So using this Return Policy strategy is as good as it gets.

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