Adobe to Provide Creative Suite 2 For Free? Not Quite…

Update: Looks like the information was incorrect after all – Adobe is NOT giving away CS2 for free. According to Dov Isaacs of Adobe, “On behalf of Adobe Systems Incorporated, You have heard wrong! Adobe is absolutely not providing free copies of CS2! What is true is that Adobe is terminating the activation servers for CS2 and that for existing licensed users of CS2 who need to reinstall their software, copies of CS2 that don’t require activation but do require valid serial numbers are available (Special serial numbers are provided on the page for each product download). Apparently there still is no such thing as a free lunch… ;) See

In a rather interesting move, Adobe has made the decision to allow users to download its 2005 Creative Suite Premium (CS2), which includes Photoshop, for free. One can speculate regarding the reasons behind the strategy. On one hand, it is hard to imagine that Adobe was counting on any revenue from this older version, since software firms normally only license the current version of their products. On the other hand, Adobe may be looking to entice some fence sitters to consider easing their way into Photoshop.

Adobe Creative Suite CS2 Premium

How does this benefit you? The Channel Mixer! My main purpose for originally purchasing Photoshop vs. Elements or other program was this one feature. As I demonstrated in my infrared photography article, the Channel Mixer allows you to extract the portions of visible and invisible infrared light in a way no other feature currently provides. This feature may not be exploited as much by others, but it is a prerequisite for those that are serious about infrared photography. I am now hopelessly addicted to the full blown version of Photoshop CS6, but if this feature had been available in other programs, I don’t know how quickly I would have jumped on the Photoshop bandwagon. By allowing users to download Photoshop CS2 for free, Adobe has lowered the costs and challenges for those considering entering the world of infrared photography. And this is just one of the features of Photoshop – there are many more great tools available in Photoshop CS2 that you can utilize for your photography needs.

How does this benefit Adobe? Well, if you have been using other competitors’ products, free software like Gimp or have been reluctant to dip your toe in the Photoshop waters, you may be tempted to download a copy of Photoshop CS2 and try it out for a spin. Photoshop – in all its versions – is an extremely powerful tool that rarely gets exercised to its full potential except perhaps by the most demanding users. I suspect the more casual photo processing crowd could get value from Photoshop CS2 and still not utilize all of its capabilities. As such, Adobe might be seeking to tempt some people to explore Photoshop in more depth for free, albeit an older version.

Here is the link to, from which you can download the free CS2 suite, along with valid license keys.

It will be interesting to see how this announcement is received and how many take advantage of it. What about you? If you are not a Photoshop user, would you be tempted to download CS2 and explore its many features?


  1. 1) Jason
    January 7, 2013 at 10:58 am

    I’ve been using Lightroom and photoshop elements for a while now with my photography. I do 95% of my post processing in Lightroom, but with a free version of photoshop is tempting for me to play around with layers and the other tools photoshop has to offer.
    Thanks for the heads up!
    Best regards, Jason

  2. 2) Bob Hosker
    January 7, 2013 at 11:02 am

    Doesn’t this still leave many RAW shooters out in the cold since Adobe’s policy is not to update RAW CONVERTER for the newer cameras out there in older versions of Photoshop?

    • January 7, 2013 at 11:52 am

      Excellent observation, Bob. While I don’t have one of the latest SLR’s on the market (Nikon D90), even Nikon’s older version of Capture NX will not read the RAW file from the D90 — it requires an upgrade.

      I’m interested in other replies to your post since I know zip about PS. Would hate to download a monster program just to find that it would not read my files!

    • 2.2) Troy
      January 7, 2013 at 12:50 pm

      Won’t be a problem if you use light room and convert to dng on import.

      • 2.2.1) Bob Hosker
        January 8, 2013 at 9:43 am

        I work with a lot of images mostly in lightroom. I would love to be completely convinced that DNG is the way to go. But until then I am hesitant to change.

  3. January 7, 2013 at 12:11 pm

    Link doesn’t work?

  4. 4) Bjay Brobo
    January 7, 2013 at 12:13 pm

    Good morning! This is a good news indeed. but when i clink on the link the website is unavailable and if you dont mind can you tell me where to go on the website? It seems that it is hard to locate the CS2. Thank you and more power.

  5. 5) Mary Nash-Pyott
    January 7, 2013 at 12:16 pm

    all of the links in this email for the cs2 AND the insane deal on cs6 and lightroom go nowhere…. ???

    • January 7, 2013 at 4:12 pm

      Mary, the link you are referring to is “Related Posts”, something that the system automatically picks as related to this current post. That insane deal expired last year and it did not last long. I apologize for the confusion over this.

      Looks like the information we received was wrong (see the note in black) – I corrected the article.

  6. 6) John Gio
    January 7, 2013 at 1:01 pm

    I agree with you Bob, seems that CS2 does not work with RAW files for newer cameras based on my findings on different web sites.
    Has anyone been succesfull using CS2 with RAW files from a D3100?

    • 6.1) Jim Walsh
      April 11, 2013 at 7:40 pm

      I use CS2 and I have a D300. I also have a laptop which came with Elements 6, which I don’t like. Elements 6 allowed me to download Adobe’s newer RAW converter ( at the time), which converts D300 raw photos for use in CS2. Convoluted way, but it allows me to do some raw processing in Elements 6 and then convert to Tiff and use them in CS2. I believe this happens in Elements6 before it goes down to 8-bit processing. I don’t know if this can be done for a D3100. Might need Elements10, or 11. Hope this helps.

  7. 7) B!
    January 7, 2013 at 1:04 pm

    links to donwload dont work

  8. 8) Aruna
    January 7, 2013 at 1:12 pm

    I have Photoshop CS4 and CS5, but for the last two years I have been only using Lightroom for my photography. I don’t edit my photos that much, and Lightroom allows me to do all the minor modification I need. Also I use Nik filters as a plugin for Lightroom.

  9. 9) Don B
    January 7, 2013 at 2:11 pm

    The channel mixer is a nice tool for underwater photography. with Deke McClelland has some turorials about underwater photography that make use of the channel mixer.

    • 9.1) Don B
      January 7, 2013 at 4:24 pm

  10. 10) Nadia
    January 7, 2013 at 3:02 pm

    I think that this information may be incorrect. I just read this:

    “You have heard wrong! Adobe is absolutely not providing free copies of CS2!

    What is true is that Adobe is terminating the activation servers for CS2 and that for existing licensed users of CS2 who need to reinstall their software, copies of CS2 that don’t require activation but do require valid serial numbers are available.”

    • January 7, 2013 at 4:14 pm

      Nadia, thanks for the link – I saw that earlier today and I corrected the article as soon as I got back home. Looks like our source got it completely wrong. The links were working earlier today and people were downloading CS2 for free, with valid keys.

  11. 11) TimR
    January 7, 2013 at 3:06 pm

    Adobe pulled it… they never intended to give this away for free sorry folks…

  12. January 7, 2013 at 4:14 pm

    Folks, I apologize for the confusion – I updated the article with the info. Indeed, Adobe is NOT giving CS2 away…

  13. January 7, 2013 at 6:26 pm

    I wanted to apologize for any confusion as well. Apparently, Photography Life and a number of other sites acted on some information from Adobe that was widely interpreted as an offer to download CS2 for free. I am sure Adobe will be a bit more careful with their wording in the future. So will we!
    Thanks to everyone that gave us a heads-up on this site as well as those that emailed us personally.

  14. 14) Sebastiano
    January 8, 2013 at 3:51 am

    I think it will be nice if you could have a great discount (more than 60%) buying old CS versions, like CS3 o CS4.
    IMHO, this would help to avoid some people use illegal software, having the tradeoff between the more powerful last releases and a cheaper buy.

  15. January 8, 2013 at 4:30 am

    Click on the link today and it’s all there with serial numbers. Problems yesterday were due to demand.

  16. January 8, 2013 at 4:37 am

    Ignore that last post, just re-read the start of the article.

Comment Policy: Although our team at Photography Life encourages all readers to actively participate in discussions, we reserve the right to delete / modify any content that does not comply with our Code of Conduct, or do not meet the high editorial standards of the published material.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *