Photoshop Extended upgrade options

A couple of folks have written to ask whether it’s possible to upgrade from Photoshop CS3 Extended to Photoshop CS4 (the non-Extended version), or whether once you’ve bought Extended once you can only buy Extended in the future.  The short story is that you have a choice.


It turns out there’s an oversight in our pricing and upgrade mechanisms, and CS4 pricing materials don’t list a way to go CS3 Extended->CS4 standard.  We’re working to get that corrected now.  You’ll need to call Customer Service if you’d like to go down this route, but you might want to wait a few days for them to get the details squared away.


Ultimately, if you choose to buy Photoshop Extended, we want it to be because it’s the version that you’ve determined best fits your needs–not because you don’t have options.

0 thoughts on “Photoshop Extended upgrade options

  1. Great news, John.
    Now, if there were just a comprehensive list of which features were in which version, I’d be set.
    There’s still a penalty if you don’t jump straight to Extended, right? (CS3 to CS4e costs the same as CS4 to CS4e)
    [That’s correct. –J.]

  2. This is refreshing to read. I know that not all big software vendors *ahem AutoDesk* allow downgrades in this fashion. This gives me a warm fuzzy feeling, knowing that Adobe is not trying to force me into buying things I do not need. Thanks!

  3. sadly european prices rip-off is still not considered as an oversight? shame…. at least anyone from adobe would stand and comment that fact and issues publicly.
    [I hear you, as do others. It’s something we’re discussing. That’s all the info I have at the moment. –J.]

  4. I want to thank you John for all the work you put into keeping us in the loop.
    I feel for the europeans. I have another pricing issue. I think those of us who already paid for PSCS3 extended should be paying a little less than those coming from PSCS-CS3 regular. I don’t mind paying a slight upgrade premium to stay on extended, but we should have a discount from those who are new.

  5. I’ll second Brian’s comment. As someone looking to upgrade possibly to extended from regular, it really lessens my incentive to do it now as opposed to later that there is reduced price for extended to extended upgrades. $350 for an upgrade made sense when everyone was going from regular to extended. Now it seems excessive…

  6. Since LR was released so that you could do a cross-OS install (Mac laptop, Windows desktop or vice versa), does Adobe plan on that same setup for the CS4 generation? It wasn’t available on the CS3 generation so pricing became rather cost prohibitive…
    [Sorry, that’s not planned. –J.]

  7. My feelings (and history) on Adobe’s upgrade policy are here :
    I just can’t afford the full CS3-CS4 upgrade right now.
    Is it possible to retain CS3 Design Premium (for Indesign, Dreamweaver, Acrobat …) and DOWNGRADE to Photoshop CS4 Standard?
    [Legally speaking, the Suites are treated as discreet entities, not as bundles of individual products. That means you need to upgrade them as Suites; you can’t pick and choose the pieces you want to upgrade. You can, however, re-upgrade from an older standalone product. So if you previously owned a copy of Photoshop (something you had prior to buying the Suite), you can upgrade that copy on its own to CS4. Hope that makes sense. –J.]

  8. Thanks for the prompt response — not that I like the answer =8-(
    To summarize, I was forced into Design Premium to get a particular set of programs.
    [Well, you could have purchased them separately, but of course buying them together offers a discount. The flipside is that you now have one product and you can’t upgrade it piecemeal. –J.]
    My ‘smallest’ package is CS1/2 Standard … an upgrade to CS4 standard would be $499, but I don’t suppose that’s allowed, either.
    [I don’t know; if you have questions, try Customer Service. That’s what they’re there for. –J.]
    So I’ll just stick with what I have, until I get a camera that’s unsupported.
    Or I could go to eBay and try to find an ancient, boxed Photoshop and pay the $199 upgrade …
    [It can’t be too ancient: you can upgrade from CS, CS2, or CS3. –J.]

  9. Found Adobe Photoshop *VERSION* 3.0 on Diskette FOR WIN PC
    for $70 … will that be good for a $199 upgrade?
    [No; see previous reply (typed while you were responding). –J.]
    [All I have to do is dig out one of my old machines with a floppy drive … ]

  10. Additionally, I’ve been told by customer service it’s possible to upgrade Photoshop 7 to Photoshop CS3 until Oct 15th. Then order a free (+shipping) post-announcement upgrade to CS4.
    [Interesting; thanks for the heads-up. –J.]

  11. Dear John,
    can you PLEASE explain why has it been so hard to create ONE Photoshop version including the PS-extended features and options.
    [The challenge isn’t the code; it’s finding the right way to address an incredibly diverse set of users while bringing new people into the fold. Extended is a strategy that lets us spend more money developing features that are of great importance to select users (who are willing to pay extra for them). –J.]
    Remeber Adobe having two different versions of AE, Standard and Pro.
    Sorry but all this different Adobe Suite Package stuff is absolute BS, just confusing/kidding around with customers and users, of course all besides your european pricing policy. damn, it could be everything so freaking easy and nice.

  12. Thanks for the info. This is exactly the option that I need since I originally purchased CS3 Extended and it was not what I really needed.

  13. I guess I’m confused. I recently called customer service and was told that my only option (as an owner of PS CS3 Extended) was to go to CS4 extended for $349.
    I would have gone to CS4 right there for $199 if offered, but I was told it was not.
    I bought Extended of CS3 thinking I’d use it, but I have not.
    John, you seem to allude in this blog post that there is a way to go from CS3 extended ->CS4 standard, but is that at the $199 price?
    Customer Service does not seem to be clear on the issue.
    [Hmm–maybe they haven’t all gotten the word yet (which is why I suggested waiting a little while to contact them). I’ll try to figure out what’s up. –J.]

  14. Dear John,
    can you PLEASE explain why has it been so hard to create ONE Photoshop version including the PS-extended features and options.
    [The challenge isn’t the code; it’s finding the right way to address an incredibly diverse set of users while bringing new people into the fold. Extended is a strategy that lets us spend more money developing features that are of great importance to select users (who are willing to pay extra for them). –J.]
    if PSX would be that much more different as it is, i´ll agree. personally i´m a video editor AND photographer, even i don´t have a camera besides me every minute. as far i can read AND understand your reply i can´t see any other purpose for you (developers) than having a playground where adobe is (blindly) willed to put effort = money into it.
    are you guys really afraid to loose your job in such a bright tech-future we´re all standing in front of?
    stop kidding with us, ok?
    [I don’t know what you’re talking about. You have the option to pay more money and get more features, or to pay less money and get fewer features. Seems pretty fair to me, and it results in us being able to deliver more functionality sooner. The alternative is that we go back to one size trying to fit all. –J.]

  15. Thank you for your super quick reply to my question about upgrading from CS3 Extended to plain CS4. I am impressed! Sorry to be a pain but is there a way to upgrade without having to call Customer Service?
    [Sorry, not that I know of, but there should be a CS option in your area. –J.]
    I am in New Zealand so calling would be pretty difficult (and expensive) and I really don’t want to drop a load of cash and find out it doesn’t work.

  16. I downloaded PS CS4 yesterday thinking I could upgrade from CS3 extended (extended was in the bundle) based on your original post.
    When it would not install, I called customer service and was told I needed to spend $349. I’ve been using PS since version 2.5 and long had a fondness for Adobe. But now, with the $599 suite upgrade price, I regard it as just another greedy monopolist. Why the Justice Department allowed the Macromedia merger puzzles me.
    Jacking the suite upgrade by $200 will backfire. I’ve already heard from friends that they plan to sit this one out — and that was before the market meltdown.
    Adobe screwed up. Hubris.

  17. I just talked to Customer Service in the Netherlands, where I live, and they told me is perfectly possible to upgrade from CS3 extended to CS4 stardard.
    The purchase & install procedure is different, though: you need to order a specific CD from Customer Service and should not download or order from the Adobe website. When installing you need to call a certain number where you will be given an unlock key and it should upgrade perfectly.
    The guy told me they will not change the website order page for some reason, but that this is the only way to upgarde from CS3 EX to CS4 standard.
    I haven’t tried it yet, but seems like a simple procedure. Hope this helps any of you sitting on the fence…

  18. I spoke with customer service here in the US and they did not give me that option….then again I didn’t push it any higher than the person that I first contacted.
    I first bought the upgrade from CS2 to CS3 extended because I thought it best to have the 3D tools in case I ever needed them…which it turns out I don’t. I assumed that once you bought the upgrade at the extra price that subsequent upgrades would not be more expensive than the regular CS3 to CS4 but it turns out they are…particularly since I don’t need the tools.
    Even if the CS3 Extended to Cs4 regular is possible Adobe is certainly making it quite difficult to do so.

  19. I want to buy the Abode Creative Suite 4 – Standard. Will this run on the following computer?
    Intel® Core 2 Quad Processor Q9400
    6GB DDR2 RAM
    750GB 7,200RPM Hard Drive
    Labelflash SuperMulti Dual/Double Layer 18x DVD±RW Drive
    15-in-1 Media Card Reader
    ATI Radeon HD4850
    10/100 Network
    Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium (64-bit)

  20. This just isn’t true. I spent 15 minutes on the phone with Adobe customer support and was told categorically it isn’t an option. Referencing this blog did nothing to change the position. So unless there is a specific person we need to contact to make this happen, your readers should know that Adobe will not approve this specific upgrade.
    [That’s really upsetting. I’ll work on getting this sorted out ASAP. Thanks for letting me know. –J.]

  21. In addition to Kuryan’s post there was a report from a Windows user on the Photoshop Macintosh forum who bought a basic CS4 upgrade (from Amazon?) and the Installer would not recognize the CS3 Extended install so it would refuse to install, saying it could not find Photoshop CS3.
    I can’t verify this myself, but as long as you’re going to look into it, Mr. Nack, it might be a good idea to check whether the software itself allows such an upgrade or not.
    [I’d be very surprised if PS refused to install, but CS4 standard won’t see a CS3 Extended serial number as valid for enabling an upgrade. That’s the scenario we should have enabled in the upgrade logic but which we overlooked. That’s why it’s necessary to call Customer Service if you want to go this route. –J.]

  22. I have spoken with customer service just a few days ago and they say it is not possible to upgrade CS3 Extended to CS4 Non-Extended. I have already given up the battle and ordered CS4 Extended with the hopes that this upgrade path will be sorted out by the time CS5 comes around

  23. To follow up on my earlier post: John had Adobe customer service call me at my phone number in their records and offer me the upgrade. I had to call the activation center to get the CS4 upgrade activated, but it’s working just fine now. Thanks, John.

  24. Jack….
    1) PLEASE, Please, please get your colleagues in ADOBE to formalise this on the web site and with the customer service staff. It is largely unknown and the (by now) many technical and customer support staff I have spoken to have said it is not an allowed upgrade path and then insist on putting me through to customer service, who insist I have to buy an extended upgrade. I am in Australia and seem to get through to the Adobe Philippines Support Centre. It has taken a lot of taking for them see if they can to ‘get special approval’ for the upgrade. So far they haven’t yet got that approval!!!!! I have referred them to your blog and they say that is irrelevant and not part of their instructions.
    2) For people’s information this is a much more insidious problem than it appears – so be very very careful. For example, I started Photoshop CS4 in Trial Mode since it was at night when I did the install and I could not call Technical Support for the Unlock. The next morning it had decided that it was a CS4 Extended version and wanted a license key for that (i.e. it would not accept the real CS4 key) This turns out to be because I had installed the upgrade using US English as a language and the original CS3 was for International English, and once I had run the product in Trial Mode it locked in as a Extended Adtion Trial! Fixing this has required a complete uninstall, registry clean and full reinstall after several other suggestions by the support Taff did not work!
    3) I still do not have the problem resolved and have wasted many hours of time on the phone to support staff or installing and reinstalling software. In fact I am not even sure I will get approval from those ‘nice’ staff in the phillipines for the upgrade. Truelyu s shameful situation!!!!!
    So PLEASE, PLEASE take the time to pass this on to Customer Support and have them put in a more standard and supportive approach to the upgrade path. Then verify that they actually have the proceedures in place. Right now, although the staff on the phone are terribly polite etc. – They really are not aware of this issue, can’t see it in their customer support database and see it as something they need to seek special approval for.

  25. The issue needs to be fixed beyond the calling and begging for an individual fix….it needs to be fixed in a formalized and easily adaptable way without phone calls, waiting on hold, and complicated procedures. It needs to be fixed in a way easily adaptable to all consumers….my opinion anyway
    [There’s obvious room for improvement here, and it’s very frustrating to hear about customers waiting on hold, waiting for weeks for the paperwork to be processed, etc. I don’t know what percentage of people this affects, as those who have a negative experience are obviously much more motivated to seek out a place to write about it. I’m actively investigating this topic with Customer Service.
    Having said that, I don’t know how we could eliminate all calls and paperwork when it comes to switching platforms. –J.]

  26. Jack,
    Thanks. I understand that given that the upgrade logic is hard coded in the shipped product, this needs to be a call to suppport.
    In my view, what needs to happen is that support have the issue clearly documenteds and say ‘ of course, sir, give me your two product keys and lets get this fixed’ rather than the current situaiton (for your Asia / Pacific call centre at least) where they simply do not know that the upgrade is supported corporately and have to be begged to escallate to get special permission etc.. I had to ring several times before I was even able to find someone perpared to escallate this request. Think og it.. Ages waiting in a queue. Then the long explanaitons. They they say “I’m sory sirwe just can;t do that”. I hang up. Call again… Until I eventually get someone wiling to push the issue.
    [Man, it’s absurd and unacceptable that you (and presumably others) get this kind of run-around. I don’t know why the problem apparently remains, and I don’t quite know how I can push harder for a fix, but I’ll keep trying. In the meantime, sorry to have wasted your time. –J.]
    I would also recommend that there is a mention of this o the CS4 upgrade pages. Perhaps an “*” footnote on the CS4 Extended upgrades that notes that upgrade to non extended is possible but requires a support call.
    Then there would be no sense of this being something that is being hidden by Adobe to make more money etc.
    [Good suggestion. Let me look into that as well. –J.]
    Thanks in advance…

  27. I have a toshiba satellite laptop with vista in it. I cannot open any RAW photoes. I tried it in CS2 & CS3 Extended any sugestions

  28. I recently purchased CS4 Standard. The vendor upgraded it to CS4 Extended because they were out of Standard. I don’t need the extended features and was concerned about the high cost of future upgrades. They assured me Adobe allows downgrades from Extended to Standard. I called Customer Service to confirm. Their answer: cannot purchase a downgrade now from CS3 Extended to CS4 Standard and will not be able to downgrade in the future from CS4 Extended to CS5. Has this mess been worked out yet?
    [When did you call Customer Service? They should be doing the right thing, and should have been doing so for 6+ months. I’ll check in with them. –J.]

  29. My purchase was on 6/12/09. Called customer service today: 6/18/09 (1-800-585-0774). So I presume my vendor was correct, that we should be able to “downgrade” from Extended to Standard in future “upgrades?” And hopefully it will be less difficult, i.e., not needing separate disks from Customer Service??

  30. By the way, not only is customer service unaware of the “downgrade” path from
    Extended to Standard, but there is no mention of such a path on the Adobe web site either. I am beginning to have second thoughts about keeping Extended.

  31. Hi John-
    I actually want the Extended Version of Photoshop CS4- however, because it made the most sense for what I needed/wanted, I purchased the CS4 Design Standard Suite, which unfortunatly comes with the regular Photoshop CS4, not the extended. Now, I think I can actually answer my own question from what I have gathered reading through the above comments/questions/and your replys, but I’m not completely clear- it seems that there is not a way to upgrade Photoshop CS4 to Photoshop Extended CS4- without having to pay the same full upgrade price as a PS CS3 to PSX CS4 upgrade- even though i already have the correct version- CS4- i just want the additional 3D capabilities…
    Before you say it- I realize that the Design Standard Suite is a “single-entity” anyway, and I couldn’t just upgrade my Photoshop CS4 to PSX CS4 anyway- but the problem is- unless i am incorrect- I was not able to get the Design Standard Suite with PS Extended…so i am kind of stuck here- Are there any suitable options to get the PSX CS4? I need all the other software in the Design Standard Suite- so either Id have to buy the Suite in addition to a PS X standalone (despite also having PS regular in the suite) which would be completely nonsensical, or Id have to buy the Design Premium Suite- despite the fact that I would only be getting it for the stupid PS X (as I dont need the other software in that suite)- OR i could purchase each & every one (ID, AI, Acrobat, PSX…etc) standalone! It all seems a high price to pay for some extra 3D features- do you know of a better solution for me? what do i do? why could i not get the Design Standard Suite with PS X?

  32. “Legally speaking, the Suites are treated as discreet entities, not as bundles of individual products. That means you need to upgrade them as Suites; you can’t pick and choose the pieces you want to upgrade. You can, however, re-upgrade from an older standalone product. So if you previously owned a copy of Photoshop (something you had prior to buying the Suite), you can upgrade that copy on its own to CS4. Hope that makes sense. –J”
    Legally speaking you have created a trap to ensnare customers! What a scam. I basically only use 3 programs (and only care about upgrading 1) and now suddenly I find myself locked into full mega-priced suite upgrades only? All the money on CS3 and CS4 down the drain, start over or forever get stuck with hundreds and hundreds forever after.
    What an appalling way to treat the people who purchased your products.
    You push the suites like crazy at schools secretly knowing you are locking everyone into an upgrade scam.
    You don;t even offer a way to downgrade a suite into an individual product!
    Thanks for nothing!
    I could’ve just purchased a few individual products and just upgraded the only one I need, now I (along with many others I know) are stuck.
    Well forget it, instead of $299 you now get $0 from me.
    What a clearly calculated scam.
    Good day.

  33. I purchased PSCS4 and what I thought was a standard package about two or so years ago. I want to know if I have to stay with the extended or if I can go with the regular up grade. I bought the program from a third party vendor. I paid the regular ps price. I have a laptop that will not work with the extended-something about the graphics card.

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