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Can You Open/Use/Export/Save Adobe CC Files on CS6 - and Back?

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Are Adobe Creative Cloud (CC) Files Backwards Compatible w/ CS6?


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92 thoughts on “Can You Open/Use/Export/Save Adobe CC Files on CS6 - and Back?”

  1. I have the latest Illustrator CC 2015. There is no problem saving files down to lower versions of Illustrator. Some newer functions will change the artwork. For example lines created with the width line tool will become fills and not editable lines. So be aware that some of the newer features when used will not be editable in the same way.

    You can easily open old Illustrator files in it. Where there is a problem is with Freehand files. As a former Freehand user who has old files in Freehand, I can tell you they do not open in CS6 or CC. You can however open them and resave them as .ai’s in CS5 and lower. Then you can open them in CS6 and CC.

    • Hello Paulette, welcome back and thanks for sharing that! And you’re right about FreeHand, which is a dozen years old now – Adobe discontinued support for opening FreeHand files back in Illustrator CS6. However, if you want to convert your files then you can use any Illustrator version prior to CS6, and resave them as .ai files as you noted.

      If you need a prior CS/CC release for any conversion project like that (another example would be for saving back several releases in InDesign), then check out our Adobe software direct download links, where you can access and install all trial versions going back to CS3… The free 30 days usage that you get will hopefully be enough to take care of your files.

      If you have or use Illustrator CS4 (even as a temporary trial), then you can even use automated scripting to convert your FreeHand files to Illustrator files.

  2. Why did you put (CS) after every version of CC? No one is calling this (AKA CS9). Seems to put a negative spin on an otherwise great and informative article.

    • Hi Kevin, why would that be negative? There’s still a significant portion of customers out there using the older CS versions, and mentioning that CC 2015 would correspond to a CS9 in the old terms helps emphasize that there are three major releases between the current tools and CS6…

      Those of us who work with the software every day may realize that – but with Adobe’s recent name change and release history, it can still can be confusing for folks who don’t follow it quite as closely.

      Thanks for the compliment otherwise and for stopping by!

  3. @ProDesignTools
    I guess I wouldn’t consider a change three years ago as “recent” and using common vernacular helps everyone understand the proper terminology. If someone came up to me and wanted to know about “CS9” if have no clue they meant CC2015. It’s not like Adobe started calling Photoshop 14, 15 and 16 even though the version is still there, everyone knows it as CS6, or CC XX. Not trying to troll or anything just different perspective I guess.

    • It’s interesting you should bring up the version numbering for the individual tools. Those all keep to their separate cadence, and still move along one at a time with each major release… So even though Photoshop CC 2015 isn’t called “Photoshop 16” by most people, that version “16” is still right there in the installer package filename!

      But good point about using common vernacular. We’re not trying to start a new trend, but rather connect to the old one for illustrative purposes… It was widely considered that the first CC (2013) was the equivalent of CS7; we just extended the analogy to the current day.

      Of course, Creative Cloud contains a lot more than Creative Suite ever did (including many bundled services), so they are not truly comparable.

    • Hey there Bob, what exact message or problem are you getting? Did you try exporting your project in EDL and then importing it in CS6? What happens when you try to open the CC-exported file in CS6?

      Creative Suite 6 is now 3½ years old and there have been many updates and new features added to CC since then – but Premiere Pro arguably has the weakest backwards compatibility of all the applications, because of signficant changes in the file format over the years to support the upgrades. But see if the suggestions given in this Adobe Forum help:

      Problem Moving Premiere Pro Project File from Adobe CC to CS6?

  4. Considering that I’ve been subscribed to the ProDesignTools e-newsletter for some time, why do I keep getting requests to subscribe? For example, the newsletters provide a link for free Adobe books. Thinking there might be something new to download, I click on the link. I’m then instructed to subscribe by adding my email address. Don’t you have a sign-in option for those already subscribed?

    • No, sorry Christine, and we apologize for any inconvenience. However, we do regularly add new books to the collection (like these), which you may not have seen or received previously. Also, it does no harm to the system if you resubscribe by just typing your email address.

      Again, thanks for the feedback and if this is not 100% perfect to everybody’s desires, at least it still does work and gets readers the helpful downloads and resources they need and can use.

  5. I have CS6 and if I upgrade to CC I would only need the six programs I currently use, I think. They are Photoshop, Premiere Pro, Bridge, After Effects, Audition and Encore. Can I just subscribe for those or how does it work? Also how long does the subscription last? I’m an old lady who has been using the Adobe graphic programs for quite a while to make DVDs of our Australian Desert Trips, some of which I sell. My CS6 is currently not working properly so I have to do something. Can you help or guide me?

    • Hi Helen, when you say “CS6 is currently not working properly,” what exactly happens? Do you receive any error or other message? If so, what is the exact text of the message? (precise word-for-word) Have you tried googling that? Often that will provide a solution.

      When upgrading to Creative Cloud, if you need more than two CC desktop applications then you would just go with the “All Apps” membership, which includes everything (all major Adobe tools & services)… You can get a CC subscription either annually (12 month term) or month-to-month (cancel at any time), with varying pricing. For more details, check out:

      Hope that helps!

  6. I appreciate this article (and your whole site). Thank you.

    Now for a CS2 dinosaur-era question:

    I am considering buying a used iPhone6 (plan on using the free Adobe Capture app via iTunes). Does anyone know if I can use my old Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator CS2 programs to work with Adobe Capture files emailed from my phone to my computer? If such a thing is not possible I won’t bother spending the $$ on this phone.

    (I have Googled myself silly looking for answers with no luck.)

    • Greetings Sharon, thanks for your question. Capture is a great Adobe app included in the free level of Creative Cloud membership, and uses CC Libraries to manage the assets you create with the app… Capture employs the cloud-based CC Libraries functionality to store and transfer your work files from the mobile app to the desktop versions of Photoshop, Illustrator, etc. That’s definitely the fastest/easiest way to do it, but libraries are only supported in the newer CC releases of those desktop tools.

      For most of the functions within Capture, you can also export a simple image in JPEG format, or save it to your Camera Roll. In some cases, you may also be able to export a SVG or ABR file via email or other means.

      Once you have your Capture asset on the desktop, you may be able to read it with CS2. Or, if you’re running Illustrator CC or Photoshop CC on your computer, then you may be able to save back the asset to a format that CS2 could read. If you didn’t want to subscribe to Creative Cloud for the longer term, then you could try this using a free trial of the new CC tools, or you could get a short-term membership for as few months as you need.

    • PS – The Adobe Capture FAQ puts it this way:

      How do I use assets created with Capture in other apps?

      Now that you’ve built your arsenal of color themes, vector-based shapes, custom brushes, and Looks, you can start using them in final artwork in a desktop app or explore concepts further in other mobile apps. All you need to do is make sure you save your assets to a Creative Cloud library in Capture. From other supported apps, simply access your Creative Cloud Libraries, pick the one you saved your asset in, and select your asset.

      For the list of Adobe apps that support Capture assets, see Support for Capture assets in other Adobe apps.

  7. Today I asked a co-worker who has Adobe Capture on her phone to email to me a JPEG of an image she “Captured.” I then dropped the file into my ancient Photoshop CS2… lo and behold! It worked like a charm! I could manipulate the Adobe Captured image just like any other.

    Color me thrilled!

  8. As a non-professional user of InDesign CS6 and Photoshop CS6, and finding these programs quite adequate for my purposes, I see no reason to subscribe to the CC versions of these programs. I appreciate that the latter provide features lacking in the former, and that future CC versions will provide further new features. But I doubt that I would find any of these “improvements” – many of which will probably be “cosmetic” – to be essential for the uses to which I put the CS6 programs. Hence I am not concerned that Adobe will offer no further upgrades to them. But it is good to know that Adobe will still provide support for them.

    • Robert, thanks for your comment, but you’re mistaken about a couple of things.

      First, have you actually taken a close look at what Adobe has added and done with CC since the days of CS6 in 2012? There are a terrific amount of new features and advancements they’ve brought, including major workflow enhancements and performance improvements to most creative tools. Some of the new features in Photoshop CC alone are huge timesavers and far from “cosmetic.”

      What we have found when readers occasionally make these claims about the differences between the versions is that they come in with an existing mindset rather than having taken the time to educate themselves about what really has changed. We here in our office love CC, use it every day, and would never want to have to go back to CS6.

      Lastly, regarding support. Being over 5 years old now, CS6 is officially “EOL” (end-of-life) and has been for some time… Adobe no longer provides any product support for CS6.

      For more details, see:

      Update: You Can No Longer Buy CS6 from Adobe – Here’s Why

  9. I have files from CS2 that CC will not recognize as valid file formats. They are all. psd. Any idea what’s going on and how to fix them?

  10. @ProDesignTools

    Thanks for your reply to my comments. I’ve downloaded the trial of InDesign CC 2017, and although it looks very good, I’m sure it will do all the jobs that I need to do. I simply do not need the “major workflow enhancements and performance improvements” that are provided by ID CC 2017 and its successors. If I were a professional user of InDesign (as I once was), then it’s likely that I would think it worth the expense to subscribe to ID CC. I should imagine that there are others in my situation.

  11. I’m thinking about going to CC from CS6. I have Windows 7 now, but am getting a new computer (PC), so I might go to Windows 10. I read that CS6 isn’t compatible with anything beyond Windows 8.1…my question is, if I do get a CC subscription, will I be able to use the CS6 that I will have access to with my CC subscription while I get used to using CC 2017, if my OS is later than 8.1? Not sure if the CS6 through the subscription is any different than the CS6 software I have with regards to it being able to run on newer operating systems.

    • Hey Kate, CS6 is over five years old now and end-of-life software that Adobe no longer supports, so we would recommend just installing CC on Windows 10 and moving forward instead…

      There are definitely things that are different (and much improved) in CC, but generally speaking, the user interfaces across the tools are still mostly familiar and you should be able to figure things out pretty quickly.

      (In our opinion, Windows 10 is also better than Windows 7 anyway, in so many ways.)

  12. I am trying to create an Actionscript 3.0 animation using Animate CC 2017, and I export the animation as a SWF file that I will insert into a website in Dreamweaver CS6. My problem is that I can preview the file in Design mode using Dreamweaver, however, when I preview the website using a browser, it doesn’t play. When I take the same FLA file created in Animate CC and open it using Flash CS6 then re-export the file as a SWF, the SWF both previews in Dreamweaver and using Chrome. Is that not compatible? Is there a major difference between an Actionscript 3.0 SWF file from Animate CC and Flash CS6? I have tried Ctrl and double clicking the SWF file to open and edit it using Animate through Dreamweaver and nothing is working. Please help…

  13. I am doing a project by using adobe flash cc. Now i want to incorporate 3d animation and character animation in my project. can you suggest the best animation software to enhance already created files in flash cc?
    The suggested software should have the flexibility to open flash cc files.

  14. I want incorporate character animation in my project.
    can anyone suggest to me the best software under adobe products only ?

  15. In my project, I want to perform lip movements and lip synchronization to a specific character.
    can anyone suggest to me the best software under adobe products?

  16. i want to incorporate 3D animation in my project.
    please suggest to me the best software under adobe products only.

  17. Hi all,
    I have the CS6 license software Illustrator & Photoshop. My problem is newer version of Illustrator files coming from customers are not opening in my CS6 Illustrator software. Can anybody please share tips to how I can open these new CC version files in my CS6 software, without disturbing the client to save an old version? Is there any online converter, etc. available to convert these files to a lower version?

  18. Hello! This post is the only one I can find right now that comes even close to addressing our compatibility problem. We receive a great number of files from outside companies. They may send trapped PDF files that we end up having to open in Illustrator for preflight work. Due to management dragging their feet (long story short, we’re working on that) we have Adobe CC 2017.0.2. Suddenly today we’ve received a PDF file (NOT AI) for which we get the message that it was generated with a newer version of ILLUSTRATOR. As far as I knew our CC 2017 can open 2018 files; if not, I’m astonished that we haven’t yet run into this, and I’m a bit suspicious of the fact that it’s a PDF. Do you have any knowledge of file-opening incompatibilities when opening a 2018 file (I’m assuming that’s what this is) in 2017? Thanks!

    • Greetings Wendi – for most CC tools, CC 2018 is a different file/project version than CC 2017… If you want to try to open the newer files in the older releases, then typically you’d have to follow the suggestions given in the article above, depending on the app.

      Also note that most CC tools can create and save PDF files themselves (without needing or using Acrobat)… This includes Illustrator CC.

      Hope that helps.

  19. Hi,
    I need to update to OS High Sierra in order to solve a Mac Mail issue. Sounds like any bugs have been worked out with Adobe. I still use CS6 versions of Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator — assuming it would be a good idea to update those as well to CC. I am a Creative Cloud subscriber. Question — what should I update first, CS6 or OS?


    • We would say to update your operating system first, then install programs as desired.

      But, you should know that CS6 (from 2012) is not supported on modern operating systems such as macOS 10.13.

  20. Our Photoshop CS2 is finally starting to cause problems. We are looking at CC and was wondering if the old files will open and be able to be edited/saved? If not, is there a conversion program/link available? I am also upgrading all our stations to Windows 10. Thank you.

    • Hello Barb,

      Yes, it’s been a long time (2005!) – but, in theory, the latest CC versions should be able to open your old CS2 project and application files…

      You can test this out yourself by downloading & running the free trials of Creative Cloud 2020 (Photoshop etc.) and see how you make out:

      Hope that helps!

  21. Ok, I am trying to get back into computer art. I have a bunch of brush sets that I bought about 2008/2009.

    You guessed it they are in .psd format. I can open each one in CC and then export them as .abr files..

    I have 2 or 3 hundred brushes. Is there any decent way around all that dain bramage.

    I found converters to convert .abr to other formats (.png mostly). But nothing for .psd to .abr.

    Thanks for any help you can provide


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