Software tagging in Adobe products


Organizations have a need to determine, at any given point in time, the installation and license-related information about the software products deployed on their systems. This helps them in their Software Asset Management (SAM) tasks, and helps them to deploy the products effectively, while also complying with the licensing terms.

As the number of employees in an organization and/or the software products deployed increases, the problem of maintaining the installation and license-related information becomes more and more challenging. Identification of standard Creative Suite application installs compared to Creative Cloud subscription based applications can also be difficult.

One approach to addressing this challenge is use of software tagging. Software tagging is the process of maintaining a set of tag files (.swidtag) on a client machine to determine the installation and license state of various software products. A software tag file is an XML file that contains information for identification and management of software products. The tag format that Adobe utilizes is the ISO/IEC 19770-2:2009.

For asset management, an administrator can run a SAM tool that scans the tag files on the client machine and parses them for analysis and reporting. Software tagging can thus be an important part of Software Asset Management.

Identify elements in tag files

Mandatory elements




true for serialized/activated

false for trial/unlicensed


Adobe InDesign CC


  • name
  • numeric


  • string version (combination of major, minor)
  • numeric version (major, minor, build, review)



  • name
  • regid

  • Adobe Inc.


  • name
  • regid

  • Adobe Inc.


  • unique_id
  • software_manufacturer_domain


  • name
  • regid

  • Adobe Inc.

Optional elements




  • activation_status
  • channel_type
  • customer_type


  • trial/serialized/activated/subscription/unlicensed
  • Retail/Trial/Subscription/Volume/Unknown
  • Retail/Trial/Volume/Unknown


This is the product serial number and is held in encrypted form.

The location is platform specific. For Creative Cloud the .swid tag files are created in the following locations after install/first launch:

  • Windows XP: %ALLUSERSPROFILE%\Application Data\
  • Windows Vista & Windows 7: %PROGRAMDATA%\
  • Mac OS: /Library/Application Support/

No. The .swid XML file is human readable and can be opened in a text editor.

No. In the case of installs of multiple Creative Cloud applications (For example, Photoshop and Dreamweaver) only one Software ID tag will be present on the system.

No. Only the Creative Cloud apps that were part of the Creative Suite have them. Lightroom and Muse, for instance, do not have them presently.

No. Software ID tags are simply a crucial piece to the SAM (Software Asset Management) and deployment infrastructure that aids in asset and inventory management.

Implementation of the ISO standard into SAM and deployment solutions has been slower than anticipated but many major vendors including Microsoft and JAMF Software made commitments to the standard in 2012. Please contact your solution provider for more info.

You can determine the Creative Cloud version looking at the SWID tags.

For custom offerings, the SWID tags mention the type of offering of Creative Cloud between "CreativeCloudEnt" and the version "1.0-Mac-GM-MUL.swidtag". For example, following are the SWID tags for the custom offerings of Creative Cloud for Mac and Win:

Mac (custom offerings):
WIN (custom offerings):

For Creative Cloud All Apps, the swid tags mention nothing between  "CreativeCloudEnt" and the version and platform. 

For example, the SWID tag for Creative Cloud All Apps for Mac and Win are:

Mac (All Apps){}CreativeCloudEnt-1.0-Mac-GM-MUL.swidtag

Win (All Apps){}CreativeCloudEnt-1.0-Win-GM-MUL.swidtag

You can use the value of the unique_id tag to determine the software. The value maps to the unique Licensing Identifier (LEID). For example:

  • Creative Cloud for teams: <swid:unique_id>V6{}CreativeCloudTeam-1.0-Mac-GM</swid:unique_id>
  • Creative Cloud for enterprise: <swid:unique_id>V7{}CreativeCloudEnt-1.0-Win-GM</swid:unique_id>

Activation_status tag indicates the signed in status:

  • Signed in: <swid:activation_status>activated</swid:activation_status>
  • Signed out: <swid:activation_status>unlicensed</swid:activation_status>

Sample SWID Tag Files

The attached Zip file includes three sample SWID Tag files:

  • Creative Cloud
  • Creative Cloud for teams
  • Creative Cloud for enterprise


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