Yes, CS3 can be tested cross-platform

In response to very popular demand (to the tune of 150+ requests on the Labs CS3 forum), I’m happy to say that Adobe is now making it possible for Windows customers of Photoshop CS2 to get a Mac CS3 beta serial number, and vice versa.  To request a number, you can send mail to & include your CS2 serial number.

We made this decision a couple weeks ago, but I didn’t want to publicize it widely until the staff was back at full strength after the holiday break. Please note that this is a manual process on our side right now, and we appreciate your patience as we handle requests.

Related: If you find that you want to switch an Adobe product license from Mac to Windows or vice versa, please contact Adobe Customer Service.  They’ll walk you through the process.

0 thoughts on “Yes, CS3 can be tested cross-platform

  1. I always wondered, why don’t you just use the same serials for Mac + Win versions?
    [Well, the Mac & Win versions of a product are two separate pieces of software, with invidual development costs. When you buy Office for the Mac, you don’t get it for Windows, and vice versa.
    Having said that, Adobe license agreements permit users to install an application on two separate computers, provided it’s not running simultaneously. I’m not really sure why it makes a difference whether that’s two Macs or two Windows machines or one of each. I don’t know if and when a change might be forthcoming, but it’s the sort of thing that usually takes a while. –J.]

  2. How cool, a blogger that works for Adobe. Your views are not necessarily those of Adobe’s.
    BS – they just don’t have a PR mid-manager to read your mumbo jumbo in real time!

  3. adobe should really reconsider cross platform licensing issues since nowadays when macs can run windows also – it’s really a pain to have photoshop on one side only or have to pay twice..
    if the license agreement permits installation on two _separate_ computers if not run simultaneosly- dual boot/virtualization workstation usage should be treated even less restrictively since when using multiple os it’s just not logicaly worth or possible to run same program on both platforms in the same machine at the same time 🙂
    also- regarding office comparison: microsoft actually markets whem as _different_ products compatible to each other (with lots of exceptions). feature parity doesn’t exist, interface is very different etc. while adobe always points that creative suite applications are cross plaform with identical user experience, same document format etc.
    take a look at luxology’ modo – 3d application which runs on win/mac/linux. they probably also compile from different code bases but includes multiple versions on the same disc and allows to install on any platform.
    i think it’s great- they get paid for license of _their products_. not for their “application for windows” or “for mac”. e.g. – they are really non biased which platform user chooses since they neither sell nor prefer macosx or windows.. it’s all about user workflow and decisions..

  4. Why Photoshop CS3 doesn´t support Linux 🙁 Much people switched to Gimp because Photoshop wasn´t avaible on Linux! You will get much new customers!

  5. I would absolutely for this to happen with the CS3 apps. I use a PC at work, and work at home on on a PC, but will be making the switch to Mac (which I much prefer) sometime this year. Being able to use the same serial cross-platform would be an awesome, awesome idea.

  6. David – go to the CS3 beta forum, and search the forum for “Linux”. Your question has been answered there (ad nauseum).

  7. Nick Nack’s comment is rather amusing, some people are so paranoid.
    I agree with ‘dd’, the ability to run the same copy on Win/Mac would be amazing.
    All the best

  8. I have been wondering if maybe Adobe would change thier licensing to be like Macromedia’s was. I own both CS2 Suite and Macromedia (Adobe) Studio 8. I called and asked Macromedia if I could use Studio 8 on Mac and Windows and they said as long as it’s not at the same time the license says it can be on two machines and that would be fine, so I did. Is Adobe now going to tell me I can no longer do this? I really think Adobe should consider doing this. By the way Lightroom is cross platform from what it says on Adobe store.

  9. I have moved from win to mac and agree with comments about restrictive licensing. Not sure how it worked for you Pat but I can’t install my Macro software on the mac and Adobe support says you can’t change platform for dreamweaver or flash once activated. So options are to either – fork out for the full cost of the software again or – do what I suspect lots of platform changers are doing and just run pirate software.I know this is an issue to consider before changing platforms but it seems pretty inflexible to me…

  10. Hi there —
    I have to say that I will be very dismayed if a cross-platform license is not available for the new release of CS3.
    I am generally a PC girl who has been a license photoshop user since version 5. I have faithfully upgraded as things went along, and eagerly bought the first release of CS as soon as I could afford it. I upgraded to CS2 without question.
    During this process, I bought a new laptop. The ONLY reason I stayed with a PC for my laptop purchase was because I did not want to shell out a lot of additional money in order to buy another full version of the Adobe Suite.
    Now as we stand at the crossroads of CS3, I really want to upgrade when the time comes. And I probably will. However, if a universal serial number is not made available, all that that is going to force me to do is not buy my Mac again. For another year.
    Why does it have to be one or the other? Why isn’t it acknowledged that there are more and more people out there who are cross platform? Indeed, I find it an advantage being in the business that I am in that i am just as comfortable on my PC as I am on a Mac.
    You are bleeding dry the legitimate, licensed users of your software. Please consider our needs as you finish polishing CS3.

  11. I’m looking for a solution to this also. I’ve always been a PC guy, but I’m planning to buy a Mac Book Pro this spring. I will use Bootcamp to ease the transition, but I’m hoping that I’ll be able to run my license of Adobe Production Studio (and most importantly Photoshop) on the Mac OS. However, I don’t want to permanently switch my license. I also have Macromedia Studio MX, which I plan to upgrade soon, and I’m hoping I’ll be able to run that on the Mac as well.

  12. I recently purchased a Macbook as a replacement for my PC laptop. My main desktop computer is still a PC and I used to have Photoshop on both the desktop and laptop computers. That way I could work on projects at home or on the road. Now I’m forced to either purchase another copy of Photoshop for the Mac (which I’m not going to do) or stop being able to work when I’m out. It would be great to have Photoshop cross platform so I can actually use it on two computers as allowed in the licence.

  13. I would like to echo previous comments about cross platform use. I have used windows and various versions of photoshop for years.
    I just bought a Macbook pro and plan upgrading to CS3 as soon as it is realeased but I’m not going to buy two versions of CS3.
    If you guys at Adobe can come up with a solution we your customers would greatly appreciate it, thanks for listening.

  14. It sounds like you’re saying that switching back and forth from mac to windows can be done by contacting customer support
    [I don’t know that “switching back and forth” is possible. There may be some cost involved. –J.]
    and that running two copies for the same person is OK? Am I reading this correctly?
    [The license agreement is written with the intention of letting you install the app and run it on multiple machines–e.g. a desktop and a laptop–but not simultaneously. –J.]
    If so then running one machine as a Mac and the other as a PC should be ok as well… .right?
    [In theory, but that’s now how the licensing works now. The Mac and Windows versions of each app are separate entities. –J.]

  15. If you have Photoshop installed on 2 different computers – home and work say – and then get a new computer – can you contact Adobe to have them deactivate your old computer and activate your new one?
    [You can actually do it yourself: choose Help->Deactivate. –J.]

  16. OK, I’ve just decided to make the leap and bought a new Mac. I’m on the phone with Adobe to do the cross-grade, and they say I can’t do it because I no longer have the original PS 6 disk that I’ve been upgrading all these years on Windows. Nevermind that the Adobe docs say “At the time of installation, this product and your computer create an activation number which, along with the product serial number, is provided to Adobe during the activation process.” and since my copy was activated, Adobe should have the serial number. Apparently they don’t, and they say I have to shell out the full cost for the Mac version because of somebody’s screwup.
    [Actually, activation does not equal registration. Activation doesn’t send your personal info to Adobe, by design. –J.]
    I even called Adobe bepore ordering my new Mac to make sure I could cross-grade, since it’s the only reason I’m switching platforms anyway.
    I’m a freelance graphic designer and I really can’t afford the extra several hundred dollars. I don’t see why I should pay for someone’s mistake, especially since I’ve been giving my hard-earned money to Adober for years. Any suggestions?
    [Let me look into it. –J.]

  17. I just purchased the upgrade to CS3 Web Premium and the motherboard on my primary development machine, a PC desktop, failed. Since the system is a three years old, the process, memory, and video card are also worthless. Basically, I’ve got to buy/build a new system. Not in my budget for at least a year, so I’ll have to get buy on my 1.2 Ghz laptop. Anyhow, I’d like to “switch” to a Mac when I can afford it. I stumbled on your site and after skimming I’ve gotten the impression that I may or may not be permitted to install CS3 on a Mac workstation and my PC laptop. Is this true?
    [It’s true that each license for Suite apps is platform-specific: either Mac or Windows. Personally, I’d like to change that, but it wasn’t in the cards for CS3. You can, however, call customer service and switch your license from Windows to Mac or vice versa, and the cost is often nominal. –J.]

  18. Hi John,
    Monday of this week my system died on me (Thank you Dell!). They came out and replaced the motherboard and everything on my system is back up and running fine – except CS3. It keeps coming up with an Activation “Repair” screen. I have tried everything – uninstalling, running the CleanCS3 script thing. Multiple reinstalls – each one taking FOREVER. Adobe phone support said to format my drive and try again. That would intail a TON of reinstallation of applications and data restore. To say the least – NOT a good option. My local PC tech said their should be a way to reset it for initial activation. He spent several hours trying to resolve this for me as well to no avail. So I guess my question is – How do I remove everything to get this thing to allow me to activate/reactivate it? I thought uninstalling and running the clean script from Adobe would do that, but it hasn’t. Right now it says I have 2 days left before it quits on me.
    Thanks in advance for any help you can offer!
    Mark S.
    [Mark, it sounds like the phone support tech was mistaken & that we can manually handle your request to activate. The tech support folks should be getting in touch with you soon. –J.]

  19. …in the meantime I have kindly asked to enable me to use the demo ( which just terminated ) until the cross platform purchasing process is finished …. I have some really urgent jobs to do … but no WIN pc available …. lets see – lets hpe the people are mor creative and helpful than regular adobe custserv people

  20. whats wrong with my 1st comment earlier today?
    [I’m not sure what you’re referring to. I approved your comment exactly as I received it. –J.]

  21. As this licensing bothers me to I would like to add some ideas that would be ok for me. When I bought CS3 Design Premium I believe that I own it for my personal and professional use and I don’t like it that it must be deactivated on some other computer when I want to work on my nearest. What I want to say is that it would be great if I could login into Photoshop. This way I will be able to work only on one computer in the time and on another computer installed Photoshop is going to be useless if person who wants to work didn’t buy licence (username&password) for himself. This could be option for people who wants to access to programs this way. It all would be checked over Internet. Also, if you forgot to logoff from another computer you would have an option to logoff over (or something like this).
    [That’s certainly an interesting idea. I’ve been pushing for a *long* time to make Photoshop take better advantage of the network, and we have ideas about storing user content online (securely and optionally, of course). I’ll bear this suggestion in mind as we talk further. –J.]

  22. I purchased a copy of Photoshop CS2 some time ago now and I have just recently bought a Macbook Pro. How can I switch my photoshop licence over to my new mac? I thought adobe had made there serials cross-platform now!?!?

  23. Hi John,
    I’ve a bit of an issue. I have been given (a nice gift) an original boxed copy of Photoshop CS3 for Windows, but have recently crossed over to Mac and am getting conflicting information about the possibility of migrating the license to Mac, which really shouldn’t even be an issue. At least I can’t imagine why it should be?
    I’ve contacted to which the reply was: ” Dear Sir,
    you can move from Win to Mac, but you need to contact our customer services
    department, I advise you to call or e-mail them for more details:..”
    Which I did. The response:
    “Your Customer Service Number is:136182748
    Unfortunately that is not possible because we do not sell to Africa and changing platforms means that you have to purchase a new product.
    Should you require any further information, please do not hesitate to contact us.
    Yours Sincerely,
    Claribel Mercado Pena”
    Then I read this post, and now I’m totally at a loss. Does Adobe really expect people to buy the same very expensive software twice?
    More importantly, can you help? I’d be much obliged, less grey and slightly richer.
    from South Africa…
    [Weird–sorry about the hassle, Evan. Let me forward this to my customer service contact and see what I can find out. –J.]

  24. I ran across this blog in the google results of the search: Does CS3 run better on the Mac or PC platform…
    I have both and since there isn’t cross platform licensing..I wanted to get it right the first time! 🙂
    [Performance and features should be essentially identical across platforms. You should be able to choose whichever OS you want, or move between them, without worry. –J.]

  25. Hi Guys, Had\have a similar problem in wanting to change my MM8 for Windows to upgrade to CS3 for Mac. I wrote to Adobe Asia Pacific and specifically asked them the question if I could upgrade from Windows to Mac. They replied back I could. On this basis went out and spent $7000 on a new Intel Mac with all the bells and whistles plus another $3000 in software to work in conjunction with CS3. Went to activate the old MM8 licence and was told to ring customer support. Got a feeling something was wrong so jumped on the net and, “Hello” found this blog. To whit if this can’t be done I am Screwed “Totally”
    Have sent them a letter so hopefully will get a favourable response. Will let you know.

  26. Well guys I am happy to report that Adobe were more than helpful, I mean really helpful. Spoke with Trish from Asia Pacific support who I have to say was most patient and dedicated to my problem. She heard my concerns and took my number for Sopport to call me back. This they did within 30 minutes and guided me thru process.
    “Very Impressed” with the service have a fantasic product working beautifully.
    Thank you Adobe and a special thanks to Trish of Asia Pacific support and Adobe Support.

  27. Hi John,
    I’ve finally, today received my copy of CS3 from the UK.
    Thank you for the help getting me on the right track with the cross-platform migration.
    All the best,
    [Glad to hear it, Evan. Thanks for your patience. –J.]

  28. Hi,
    I have a problem that has become quite frustrating. I bought the CS2 Web Bundle last year on the Windows platform with the intent to cross-grade when I bought my Mac this year. Well, I wasn’t aware of the CS3 release and bought my Mac after CS3 came out. When I went to request my cross-grade of CS2, I was informed that I had to upgrade to CS3 for $500 because Adobe would no longer cross-grade the older suite. Do you have any suggestions/information concerning this predicament? I have searched high and low for answers other than piracy (which I’m not against at this point as I should rightfully have a copy in the Mac format), even to the point of trying to contact Mossberg at the WSJ. I have had this software for less than a year and have had to keep it in the box as my windows laptop is out of commission. It’s either buy a Windows license and run boot camp, or get a copy of CS3. Slower performance for less $$, or higher price for higher performance. Please tell me there is a way to cross-grade my CS2 suite… But any information you are able to offer would be greatly appreciated. Thanks…
    [Trey, Customer Service says, “He is entitled to a cross-plaform to either CS3 Design Premium if he has Creative Suite 2 Premium or CS3 Design Standard if he has Creative Suite 2 Standard.” Hope that helps. –J.]

  29. Hi John,
    I have just been given a copy of CS3 by a Canadian friend. Unfortunately, although I have a Mac, he bought me the Windows version…
    I was very pleased when I read on your blog that it is possible to convert a Windows license to an OS X license, and I immediately opened a support case with Adobe customer service, explaining my problem and asking for advice.
    Today, I recieved two identical emails from Adobe customer support saying that my case had been closed and I should go to the support site or see the attached PDF for the response to the case. Unfortunately, there was no response on the site or either PDF! I have reopened the support case and I hope that the same thing won’t happen again… Can you give me some advice? I’d rather not have to phone up if possible, as I am temporarily living in Spain (although I am British).
    Many thanks,
    [Sorry to hear about the hassle, Caesar. I’ve pinged Customer Service for more info and will let you know what I hear from them. *Man* it bugs me when I hear about these things getting screwed up… –J.]

  30. I have just got off the phone from Adobe again. (since my last email) The situation has changed again.
    Now they say they cant do a cross platform change from pc to mac on my cs2 to cs3 without upgrade charge of over $500-$600.
    Alternatively i then asked for them to just do the cross platform on my cs3 photoshop (which was an upgrade from my cs 2 suite) they told me they cant do this since i shouldnt have been allowed to upgrade to a stand alone from a suite!
    What does this mean? Was my $199 upgrade charge to cs3 photoshop a waste?
    What are my options?

  31. I Have a question – I have a version of CS on one mac computer, and CS2 on another Mac Computer, as i use to have an assistant designer full time. My question is I bought the Upgrade CS3 for the CS version, can I also upgrade my 2nd computer with the CS2? I really don’t want to by another upgrade! ouch!
    [Well, there’s nothing in the software that will prevent you from installing on those two machines, activating, and running. You wouldn’t be using the software according to the spirit (and probably the letter) of the license agreement, however. –J.]

  32. I need where i can find a serial for adobe photoshop cs3 extended or adobe photoshop cs3.
    Please, i need to see how work this new application
    [Buy one. Genius… –J.]

  33. John, I have Production Studio Premium on Win on a workstation and have plans to move my portable work in the field to a MacBookPro. Seeing how the two-computer rule won’t work here, can I run the second version on the MacBookPro under Parallels? Do you know if the Studio is hosted OK in that environment?
    [Yep–as far as I know that should work fine. You might try searching the user forums to find out others’ experiences. –J.]
    I really don’t want to waste the space to do bootcamp.
    [I think that if I were getting a new machine today, I’d devote some space to a Boot Camp partition. I’d very rarely want to boot up under Windows (vs. Parallels/VMWare), but there are times I’d like to know exactly how things run when not wrapped by the Mac OS. I don’t know how much performance differs when running in that mode vs. when run through a virtualization app, but I believe it’s at least somewhat better. –J.]

  34. Hi John,
    Now here’s a blog that makes sense. I’m purchasing a student edition of CS3 premium and I have both a PC desktop and PC Laptop. I notice that activation is necessary by internet. Does this mean that I can only install on one computer ever?
    [Nope: you can activate the software on two machines. The idea is that you would be using only one copy at a time. –J.]
    Sorry to get into this discussion so late in the game. And if I migrate to a Mac, will I have to repurchase the entire program again.
    [No, you can cross-grade from Windows to Mac or vice versa pretty easily; here’s more info. –J.]
    Are activation and registration two completely different things?
    [Yes; more info is here. –J.]

  35. We bought four copies of Creative Suite CS3 Design addition (windows) for our web design company here in Manchester UK. With the nice new macs coming out and parallels allowing us to use IE, when our pc’s started to die I decided we should get macs. I rang adobe and they said we could transfer our licences no problem.
    Not wanting to leap before we looked I decided we should get one mac, try everything out and if it all worked follow suite with the other three. I mentioned this over the phone to our helpful adobe support person and they seemed to thin k there would be no problem.
    The first mac worked fine, so off I went and bought another 3. Now Adobe are telling me once we transfer one license we can’t do any more. We had to do them all at the same time! This leaves me with 3 copies of CS3 Windows that we can’t use on our Macs. We could install them under parallels, but they’re not the sort of programs you want to use in a virtual environment. In contrast our Macromedia Studio 8 license worked first time as the license is cross platform.
    Any advice would be much appreciated. Waiting for CS4 isn’t really an option (the upgrade route). Adobe pretty much have a monopoly on this kind of software so we can’t even jump ship in protest (especially as macromedia has now been bought up).

  36. After the last few viruses, I switched my compnay over 99% to linux. Wow, I am happy I did that. The only product I have not ported yet, is Adobe CS3 PhotoShop, Bridge, and Premiere.
    Does anyone have any recommendations?
    Currently trying out GIMP, pitivi, Ardour 2. With 40 computers, this may end up saving me huge $$$ in the medium and long run, once my staff picksup and learns the newsoftware. Adobe, what are you doing, not supporting LINUX!!
    Until Adobe offers a linux version, I will be dropping adobe, unfortunately, because I really liked it over the last 7 years.

  37. i want to get dreamweaver but am confused about the one user thing (new to this), i use three different computers depending on where i am (work, home, out). will i be able to load and use this software on all three machines.
    [You can load it onto all three machines, but you can activate it on only two. That means that you’d periodically have to deactivate on one machine, then transfer activation to another (not a hard process). –J.]

  38. Hi John,
    I should have searched before I posted somewhere else in your blog. This is quite an impressive list of similar problems and complaints. And they have been going on for over a year and still nothing has changed. According to Adobe Customer Service crossgrading from CS2 Win to CS3 Mac costs 300 EUR or $450 – not quite a “nominal fee” given the fact that the regular upgrade sells for $199.
    The platform specific licensing is not just creating a lot of problems. It is also unfair as you can see. There is no reason why the one upgrade is more than twice as expensive as the other one as I still can use the software only on the same amount of computers with the same amount of functionality.
    Please please fix this.

  39. I was about to write my experience about cross grading my copy of a CS3 bundle. Since the experience was (and still is) such a joke I just had to vent at my new Mac blog instead.
    In case you want to read what happend feel free to visit the blog. Scroll down to the Adobe part for the cross grade issue:
    Right now I am not sure how to proceed, I have given up on support.
    Any advice would be appreciated highly.

  40. I have recently invested in Production Premium CS3 Student Edition for my college work at the beginning of the year. As I knew that I would eventually be moving to Mac, I asked if I could transfer to software across. I received a reply saying yes (and I even found within this blog that it states that Student License products can be transferred to Mac) however when I rang the customer services department, they declined to accept a cross platform transfer request because of the type of license I have purchased.
    As you can now see, I feel a little cheated in this – my PC broke on me half way through a project (which inevitably led to the PC’s death). Luckily I have my project files backed up. However, knowing full well that I had the ability to transfer the license, I thought now would be the best time to purchase the mac.
    Now I’m near £300 out of pocket, and unable to continue my project work without using CS3 and ‘Windoze’ through bootcamp.
    I was told that the policy is that Student Licenses cannot be transferred. Is this new policy? I can’t understand the reasoning behind this as I can install windows and the CS3 suite through boot camp and still use it on my Mac. That and the fact that this is exactly the same piece of software, even if I have to destroy the disc etc. simply to enable me to do my college work.
    You’re help would be much appreciated in trying to resolve this matter.
    Kind Regards
    Ian Read

  41. Hi. I am in the same situation as Ian. I bought the Student Edition of CS3 Web Premium a while ago, and have now upgraded to a Mac. I simply want to move/copy my licence to my Mac. I still use my Windows machine, so I would preferably like to use both. I did read several places that said the licence allowed use on 2 machines.
    Oh, I received a letter not too long ago (from Adobe), saying that Adobe had made my personal information (posibly not excluding Credit Card information) available via a loophole in their website. I would be grateful if, as in a way of appology, Adobe allow me to install my licence on my mac.

  42. I agree with the others here – the products purchased should be cross platform compatible. I mean I paid for a licence to use the software and i can use it on my mac, its just WAY slower doing it through vmware fusion than using the native software on my mac. more efficient for everyone.. perhaps i should go back to piracy.. hrmm
    [“Hmm”… yes, “Hmm.” Such food for thought. Maybe you should instead read the info I’ve posted. –J.]

  43. Hi John
    Any progress on this issue yet? I have a pc desktop and a macbook pro for field work. I can use lightroom natively on both machines, but not photoshop, which is a tad frustrating.
    I have been impressed with adobe’s general ethical, fair practises, so I am wondering what is the roadblock on this issue.
    BTW, thanks for your blog. It is a great communication outlet and reminder that adobe is made up of people that care.

  44. I am in the exact same situation… please help. Agter shelling out 4 grand for the CS2 web and video premium… I should be able to use it on any new platform I choose. 4 GRAND… that isn’t chump change people…

  45. John
    I guess this issue is just not going to lie down and die.
    I’m a PC user moving to Mac but keeping a PC laptop.
    I’m willing to upgrade LR1 and PS CS2 to current versions. But this nonsense that I cannot use PS on a MacPro and a PC laptop is driving lots of people nuts.
    Best Regards

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