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Adobe buyers' guide: Which licensing plan is right for you?

Choosing an Adobe plan can be a confusing process. To try and make things a bit clearer, we're going to break your licensing options down based on something you're more likely to know: which apps you need access to. Knowing whether you need the full Creative Cloud suite, can manage with a stripped down version or just need to update your PDF workflow will go a long way to help you find the right plan for you.


Conal Siddall
If you need Creative Cloud...

You need to involve yourself in the Value Incentive Plan (VIP) licensing programme, which provides both Creative Cloud Complete and Creative Cloud Single Apps. The VIP licensing programme is a subscription model that gives you access to the software itself, any updates as soon as they are released, mobile apps, and an Admin Console for managing multiple licences.

Through VIP, you can purchase Creative Cloud for teams or Creative Cloud for enterprise.


Creative Cloud for teams

There are two Creative Cloud for teams plans: a complete plan (all Creative Cloud apps and services) or a single-app plan (access to only one app, such as Photoshop CC and select services).

Creative Cloud for teams is designed for small work groups and design teams. Users get access to extra online storage and collaborative tools that are not available to individuals. Team licences can be assigned to an individual (named licensing), or to a device (shared device licensing*) if you are an educational institution. The licences are owned by the company, not the end users, and can be reassigned to new users as needed.

*Shared device licensing has now replaced device licensing. If you currently have active device licences, you can find out how to migrate to shared device licensing here.


Creative Cloud for enterprise

Creative Cloud for enterprise is designed for larger deployments, and comes with extra management and security tools, which you can read about here.

Flexible payment options

VIP offers three subscription term options – annual, extended and three year commit. The annual subscription is for 12 months paid upfront, so you’d renew annually. The extended subscription can be chosen when you sign up to VIP and allows you to pay upfront for up to three years for businesses, or four years for education and government.

Finally, the three year commit option is available when you qualify for VIP Select, and means you pay a set price in return for maintaining your licence quantity over three years (commercial and government customers also get increased discounts). You achieve VIP Select status when you buy 10 or more licences (50 for education). As well as giving you the option to sign up for three year commit, it also gives you volume discounts on all purchases.


Which plan is right for your business?
Over 20 apps, including Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, XD and Dimension.
Company control of user licences.
Integration with Adobe Stock and Acrobat DC.
Volume discounts for 10+ seats.
Advanced user identity management, including Single Sign-On (SSO).
Company control of assets stored in the cloud. 


Commonly asked questions about Creative Cloud


Members of my organisation already have individual Creative Cloud memberships. Can I switch them to Creative Cloud for teams?

Yes, you can invite someone with an existing individual membership to join Creative Cloud for teams. All they have to do is accept the invitation with their Adobe ID, where they will automatically be prompted to cancel their individual membership. 

You can also call customer care who can do it over the phone for you. All you need is:

  • An Adobe ID for the primary admin of the teams membership.
  • The Phone number for the primary admin.
  • Adobe IDs for the individual memberships you want to switch to the teams membership.


My organisation wants to block access to certain services, such as storage and community features, available through Creative Cloud. Is this possible?

Yes, your IT administrators can block users from accessing the online services. The online services and their URLs are listed here.


Can I block my users from using Creative Cloud for teams storage?

Unfortunately, there’s no way to centrally disable access to cloud storage for users. However, if users are on the company network, your IT administrator can block the following network calls on your firewall:

  •— port 443

This will block users from accessing cloud storage while they are using your network.


Do I have to be connected to the Internet to use my desktop apps?

No, although you will need to connect to the internet at least once every 90 days to validate your membership.


Adobe Acrobat DC

The best way to get Adobe's all-conquering PDF program is through the VIP licensing programme, this gives you access to the software itself, any updates as soon as they are released, mobile apps, and an Admin Console for managing multiple licences. This is the same model used to purchase Creative Cloud, and like Creative Cloud, Acrobat DC can be purchased for teams or for enterprise.

Opting for a VIP subscription is better than buying Acrobat outright, as the subscription model gives you access to extra services and features not available in the perpetually licensed version.

If you only need the desktop version of Acrobat and think you can do without the extra features, you can buy a perpetual licence seperately.


Adobe Stock

If you’re a Creative Cloud customer, you can choose to add an Adobe Stock subscription to your VIP membership. Administrators of a Creative Cloud for teams account may add Adobe Stock for their entire team by going to the Adobe Stock plans page and clicking the Team Plans button. All team members share an Adobe Stock subscription, and more can be added to meet your team’s usage requirements.

Subscription plans range from ten standard images per month to 750 standard images per month. Premium assets, such as videos, Premium collections images, and editorial images or videos, can be licensed on-demand or using credits from a credit pack.


Common questions on Adobe stock subscriptions


What are credit packs? How can I use them to purchase stock assets?

Credit packs let you purchase assets on Adobe Stock using a virtual currency. You buy a pack of credits, ranging from 5 to 150, and then use them to purchase assets based on their value. For example, HD and 4K videos can cost between 8 and 20 credits.


What happens if I need assets over the monthly licence limit for my Adobe Stock subscription?

If you exceed your asset limit for the month, you will be prompted to purchase an on-demand “overage” licence. Your overage licence cost is a discounted rate based on your subscription plan.


How do I buy Adobe Stock for enterprise?

Adobe Stock for enterprise is only available via an Enterprise Term Licensing Agreement (ETLA). An ETLA is a customised and flexible term volume licensing programme designed for Adobe’s largest customers.


Other packages

If you've not seen what you need here, there are other adobe apps and services only available on the TLP or CLP. The Elements range of apps (cut down versions of Photoshop, InDesign and Premiere Pro), Adobe Captivate, FrameMaker, FreeHand, PageMaker and ColdFusion, as well as tools like Adobe Meta Server, Tech Communications Suite and Font Folio, are all available on standalone perpetual licences, but not through any of the subscription options.


Want to know more about Adobe Creative Cloud? Give us a call on 03332 409 251 or email To keep up with all the latest trends, news and events, follow us on LinkedIn, Facebookand Twitter.