Adobe Creative Cloud | Office of Information Technology

Adobe Creative Cloud

Last Updated: 12/22/2016

Adobe Licensing

Users are still able to purchase a permanent license for Acrobat Pro, however, for other Adobe products and suites, users must subscribe to an Adobe Creative Cloud (CC) plan.

The CC subscription model allows subscribers to receive automatic and continuous feature updates from Adobe, rather than new versions every year or two. For general information on this new subscription model, visit Adobe's Creative Cloud website.

If the information below regarding obtaining Adobe licensing for your CU computer leaves you with unanswered questions, please contact Bruce Fast at or call 303-492-8995.

How can I buy a license for Acrobat Pro only?

Acrobat Pro is a product still available for "standard CLP perpetual licensing", apart from the Creative Cloud subscription program. CU M@rketplace vendors GovConnection and CDW-G both offer the license for about $80, which covers both of a user's two computers. Insight Public Sector is also an approved CLP Reseller.

Other Adobe products available for standard CLP perpetual licensing include: Captivate, Contribute, Photoshop Elements, Premiere Elements, Presenter.

What are my licensing options for Adobe Creative Cloud?

For institutional computers purchased with university funds, volume-discounted rates are available via CU's "Value Incentive Plan" (VIP) in one of two ways:

  • For an individual user's computers, a Named-User license allows a specified user to install on the institutional computer and on a 2nd computer (either personal or institutional), and includes online cloud services for that user.
  • For lab/multi-user workstations, a Device-Based license covers a single computer in a classroom or lab, for multiple users but without online cloud services/storage.

Our VIP subscription rates are roughly $19 per month for a named-user license and $14 per month for a device license. For users who need only a single program, e.g., Photoshop or InDesign, a "single-app" license is available at about half the rate for the complete suite.

Adobe CC licenses in CU's VIP all expire on June 29. When signing up, the user pays (in advance) only for the number of months remaining in the current VIP year; then in June, the user can choose whether to renew for another year, or let the license lapse.

To order a Named-User CC license, contact with the following information; First/Last name of the user, CU email address of the user, and the Speedtype to be charged.

To order Device-Based CC licenses, send the following to; the hostnames of the lab/multiuser workstations, the name of the person who administers the workstations, and the Speedtype to be charged.

What products are included in the Creative Cloud Suite?

The Creative Cloud Suite includes Acrobat Pro, After Effects, Audition, Bridge CC, Scout, Dreamweaver, Edge, Encore, Fireworks, Flash, InCopy, InDesign, Illustrator, Lightroom, Media Encoder, Muse, Photoshop, Premiere Pro, Prelude, and SpeedGrade.

Single-app CC licenses are available (at about half the price of the full suite) for After Effects, Animate, Audition, Dreamweaver, Illustrator, InCopy, InDesign, Muse, Photoshop, and Premiere Pro.

What is the future of the Adobe Creative Suite?

There will be no future CS versions, that is, no CS7. The CS product line is frozen at CS6, and it is not possible to purchase new CS licenses. Acrobat Pro is not included in this category; it is still possible to get a permanent Acrobat license, through CU M@rketplace.

I don't want to move to the Creative Cloud yet. How long can I keep using my Creative Suite licenses?

You can keep using your current Creative Suite software indefinitely.  You can activate your Adobe software on a new computer as long as you first deactivate it on your old computer. New Creative Cloud apps will be backward-compatible with CS6 until at least June 2018.

I was able to buy concurrent licenses for my Adobe products. Can I do this with Creative Cloud?

There is no concurrent licensing with Creative Cloud. In particular, VIP licensing is on a per-device basis, and is not concurrent.

What are some alternatives to the Adobe apps?

PDF Editor/Reader Alternatives

  • Adobe Acrobat Reader (for reading PDF files) is free from Also, all Macs have the program Preview, which displays and exports PDF, JPG, and PNG files.
  • Mac OS X has a simple way to "print" any document to a PDF file; choose Print from the menu, then look for the PDF choices in the lower-left corner of the the printer dialog box.
  • For Windows there are free PDF writers that will let you print any document to a PDF file, especially CutePDF Writer,
  • Certain programs provide their own PDF-export support, especially Microsoft Office; just open the menu, select Export, and select "Create PDF/XPS Document".
  • To split and merge individual PDF pages, PDFSAM (PDF Split And Merge) is opensource freeware, for Mac and Windows and Linux: see:
  • To create PDF files from any program, digitally sign and encrypt, PDFCreator is opensource freeware (for Windows only) see:

Photoshop Alternatives

Illustrator Alternatives

InDesign Alternatives

Dreamweaver Alternatives

A web search may find other possible alternatives for Adobe apps for you.

Do I need to buy an Acrobat Pro license in addition to my CC license?

No; Acrobat Pro is included in Creative Cloud subscriptions, so CC subscribers don't have to purchase an Acrobat license separately. However, when the CC subscription lapses, Acrobat Pro also expires.

On the other hand, purchasing an Acrobat Pro license separately, through CU M@rketplace, gives permanent licensing, independent of any CC subscription.

Do these changes affect other universities too?

Yes, these changes to Adobe licensing affect all of Adobe's customers, including other Higher-Ed institutions. OIT has voiced concerns directly to Adobe about how this new licensing model will impact budgets and teaching and learning using Adobe applications.