One of the most common upgrade questions we see out there is asking what’s new, what’s different, what’s better, what’s changed between Adobe’s just-launched CC 2017 release and the previous CC 2015.5, CC 2015, CC 2014, CC 2013, or 2012’s Creative Suite 6 – or even the older CS5, CS4, CS3? Or more fundamentally, what are the key new features and advancements in CC 2017 versus prior versions?
Now that the new CC 2017 milestone release is shipping worldwide, everyone is entitled to either a free upgrade or a new free trial for 7 days. Ongoing access to these tools requires a Creative Cloud membership (either for one app or for all of them), with discounts available for education customers. Adobe says that if you look at all of the changes since CS6 to the current CC 2017 release, there have been thousands of significant updates – meaning new and enhanced features, added capabilities, and performance boosts – to the key creative applications.
Now that the Adobe CC release has become ubiquitous with over 18 million paid customers, some folks are asking us whether the new versions of the tools in the Creative Cloud can read or save older data/document/project file formats like CS6, CS5.5, CS5, CS4 & CS3…
In fact, since Adobe’s flagship creative toolset CC 2019 is now seven major releases past CS6 from 2012 (which they no longer sell), file version compatibility can sometimes be an important decision point in moving forward.
In the past, new Adobe product versions have often brought different or expanded file formats to support significant new features – and customers want to know if their existing projects will easily carry forward with them when they upgrade, or if they will be able to save back to older formats for coworkers or clients who may still be running an earlier revision of the programs…
OK then, here’s how it works. Generally, your new CC tools will be able to open and use any and all earlier CS project and data files – including CS3, CS4, CS5, CS5.5, and CS6 files – with no problem or loss of information. In other words, all Adobe software is able to read or import file formats from previous versions of the same program – and it should happen seamlessly and automatically. The only exception to this is Premiere Pro, where it’s best to open/edit projects in the same versions that created them.
One of the most common upgrade questions we see out there is asking what’s new, what’s different, what’s better, what’s changed between Adobe’s just-launched CC 2015 release and the previous CC 2014, CC 2013, or 2012’s Creative Suite 6 – or even the older CS5, CS4, CS3? Or more fundamentally, what are the key new features in CC 2015 versus prior versions?
Now that the new CC 2015 milestone release is out worldwide, everyone is entitled to either a free upgrade or a free 30-day trial (possibly up to 60 days). Ongoing access to these tools requires a Creative Cloud membership (either for one app or for all of them), with discounts available for education customers. Adobe says that if you look at all of the changes since CS6 to the current CC 2015 release, there have been well over 1,000 significant updates – meaning new and improved features, added capabilities, and performance improvements – to the key creative applications.
Here’s the brand new edition of a very handy resource from James Wamser – a complete reference to all versions and features of Adobe Photoshop from CS1 to CC 2019… Similar to his InDesign and Illustrator handbooks, it’s called the Adobe Photoshop New Features Guide: From CS to CC – and this 97-page ebook is available for free download now:
Here’s the new and updated edition of a very handy resource from James Wamser – a complete reference to all versions of Adobe InDesign ever released… Similar to his Photoshop and Illustrator handbooks, it’s called called the Adobe InDesign New Features Guide, 1.0 to CC (2020), and this 120-page ebook is available for free download now:
One of the most common upgrade questions we see out there is asking what’s new, what’s different, what’s better, what’s changed between Adobe CS6 and CS5.5 or CS5? Or more fundamentally, what are the key new features in CS6 versus prior versions, even compared to CS4 or CS3?
Creative Suite 6 contains hundreds of new or enhanced features and functions across the 14 point products that comprise it. So the easiest way to look at it is by major product… For example, Photoshop CS6 Extended has 62% more new features added in this cycle compared to the previous one, and nearly twice as many JDI requests (user-focused “Just Do It” items) addressed. You’ll find the details on these linked from the table below.
Adobe turns 30 this year. Over the decades the company has excelled at creating software that abstracts the latest technology in a way that makes it easy for customers to express unique ideas and deliver those ideas in a variety of media. Whether you’re editing an image with Photoshop, creating vector graphics in Illustrator, or laying out a page in InDesign, the goal of Creative Suite 6 is to give you total creative freedom along with the control and precision to ensure the highest quality when it comes to production. And when you combine the new time-saving features in CS6 together with the major reengineering of key user interfaces – in particular Photoshop, Illustrator, and Premiere Pro – plus further deep optimization of tool performance, you should be able to get that work done faster and more efficiently.
Adobe has made available an excellent resource that’s now updated for CS6 (and CC) – a free printing handbook in the form of a 149-page downloadable e-book: The Adobe Creative Suite 6 Printing Guide. Earlier editions of this book have been out for previous releases (see the older CS5.x, CS4 and CS3 links below), but now this is fully refreshed and upgraded for the most recent versions of the products.
This is one of the top questions we get. Especially now that Adobe is releasing a new version of Creative Suite once per year – with each edition potentially bringing a different or expanded file format – customers want to know if their existing projects will easily carry forward with them when they upgrade, or if they will be able to save back to older formats for clients or colleagues who are still running an earlier version of the tools…
OK then, here’s how it works. Generally, your new CS6 tools (including those in the Creative Cloud) will be able to open and use any and all earlier project and data files no problem (including CS3, CS4, CS5 and CS5.5 files), without any loss of information. In other words, all Adobe software is able to read or import file formats from previous versions of the same program – and it should happen automatically.
Going the other way, when wanting to use CS5 or older tools to open a file saved from a CS6 product, the answer is it depends… Let’s take a look at the interoperability for each application within the Creative Suite, then at the bottom we’ll talk about some additional tips and best practices no matter what your situation.
[UPDATE – Some of these still work to download the old CS3 & CS4 trials from years ago, but Adobe has recently taken down many links… However, you can also now get the all-new Creative Cloud 2020 Direct Download Links!]
Even though Creative Suite 6 is out and is a phenomenal release, some folks still need the earlier versions for various reasons: 32-bit vs 64-bit (e.g., After Effects and Premiere Pro), compatibility with other software or systems owned, the rest of your class or company is still on CS4, you need to reinstall but no longer have your original disks or download file, etc… But this older software is now hard to find – Adobe doesn’t publicize or provide a web interface for it. So if you’ve been searching high and low all over the Internet to find the official Adobe trial downloads for CS4 or CS3, well your search is over!
Below are two tables for CS4 trial downloads in major languages. These links go to the authentic and original CS4 files residing on Adobe’s servers, are guaranteed genuine and will not change. For Windows, each program consists of two files, an .exe and a 7-Zip file (.7z). The .exe file will only work once the .7z package is fully downloaded and resides in the same location. For the Mac, it’s just a single .dmg file for each program.
There are also optional “extra content” (or functional content) downloads included here for most tools that consist of one or two additional files, which you can install separately after the main product is installed. It typically includes fonts, templates, documentation, etc.
Adobe Photoshop is a sophisticated tool with a 21-year history and a seemingly-endless array of powerful capabilities. And after spending $549 for the product with discounts (or $199 for students), who wants to pay a lot more to learn how to use it all?
Fortunately there are a number of avenues to get great training and tutorials for free. The first stop is Adobe TV, which has nearly four hours and 37 chapters of 100% free tutorials for Photoshop CS5 alone. There is also a wealth of content for prior versions like Photoshop CS3 and CS4. It’s a good place to get started and orient yourself with the major functions, and all of it is gratis.
For learning how to use the best new features added in Photoshop CS5, take a look at our collection of articles with tours of:
- Content-Aware Fill
- Puppet Warp
- Top Masking Techniques
- Creating Time-Lapse Videos
- Impressionist Oil Painting
We also have a regular page here on the site with a rotating selection of tuts for all versions of Photoshop, stepping through various tips and tricks. And for a terrific set of little-known but very handy techniques, check out Adobe’s Photoshop “Hidden Gems” series with Product Manager Bryan O’Neil Hughes.