Learn to activate or deactivate Adobe applications.

Activate an app

What is activation?

Activation is the process by which Adobe validates your software license to prevent fraud and abuse of Adobe products and services. Activation involves sending information to Adobe at various times, such as at download, installation, uninstallation, serialization, launch, and during update checks for Adobe software. Adobe may also use this information, alone or in conjunction with other information Adobe may have, to (i) provide you with appropriate license renewal options, and (ii) to help understand Adobe software usage so we may engage and retain our customers.

Creative Cloud | Acrobat DC

To activate Creative Cloud or Acrobat DC apps, simply start the app and sign in using the Help > Sign In menu option. For instructions, see Activate and deactivate Creative Cloud apps.

Running into a problem? See Troubleshoot Creative Cloud activation errors.

Creative Suite 2 and 3 | Acrobat 7, 8, and 3D | Audition 3

Our aging activation servers for earlier versions of Acrobat and Creative Suite (CS) applications had to be retired. Without the activation servers, these applications display an activation or connection error when trying to verify a license. To install a version that doesn't require activation, see either Error: "Activation Server Unavailable" | CS2, Acrobat 7, Audition 3 or Activation or connection error | CS3, Acrobat 8.

Affected applications include: Creative Suite 2 and 3 applications, Acrobat 7 and 8 (Standard and Professional), and Acrobat 3D Version 8.

Creative Suite 6, 5, and 4

CS6: Sign in with your Adobe ID and password to activate your software within the first seven days of use. To do so, follow the steps below.

CS5.5, CS5, and CS4: Activation happens automatically as soon as the software detects an Internet connection, or the software prompts you to activate it during installation. To activate your software manually, follow the steps below.

To activate your software manually:

  1. Make sure your computer is connected to the Internet.

  2. Launch the application.

  3. Choose Help > Activate. (If this option is dimmed, you have already activated your software.)

  4. Sign in with your Adobe ID and password to activate your software.

    If you don’t have an Adobe ID, you see an option to create one. Follow the onscreen instructions.


Running into a problem or need to activate offline? See Activation and deactivation troubleshooting.

Acrobat XI, X

Adobe Acrobat XI and X are automatically activated as soon as the software detects an Internet connection.

If you need to activate your software manually (for instance, if you deactivated it on one computer so you could activate it on a different computer), follow the steps under Creative Suite 6 and earlier.

Flash Player, Acrobat Reader, and Shockwave Player

You don’t need to activate these products. If you need help with these products, visit the following sites:

Photoshop Elements, Premiere Elements

The product gets activated once you launch it for the first time after entering the serial number.

If you deactivate the product by selecting  Help > Sign out, you can activate it again by selecting Help > Sign in. The product is launched in the Trial mode. Select License This Software and provide the serial number.

You would have received the serial number when you purchased the product. For more information on finding the serial number, see Find your serial number or redemption code.

Find your serial number or redemption code

Some products require you to enter your serial number or redemption code before you can start using your product. Your serial number or redemption code is provided to you when you purchase the product.


Creative Cloud apps do not require serial numbers. If you are asked to enter a serial number when you start a Creative Cloud app, it is an error. See Troubleshoot when Creative Cloud apps ask for serial number for information to resolve the issue.

Activate an app on a new computer

Creative Cloud and Acrobat DC

You can use your individual subscription on up to two computers or devices. See On how many computers can I use my Creative Cloud subscription?

Stand-alone products such as Photoshop Elements or Premiere Elements

You can install your product on up to two computers. If you want to move your product to a new computer, simply select Help > Sign Out in the product from one of the computers that has an active license. You can then install the product on your new computer.

If the computer on which you installed the product is no longer available, contact us to update the information in the system. Once the information is removed, you can install the product on a new system. 

Deactivate an app

What is deactivation?

Deactivation disconnects an application from a valid user license. Once deactivated, you can reactivate at any time, if you choose. You do not need to uninstall an application from your computer to deactivate it. Uninstalling an application does not necessarily deactivate its license.

A single license for Adobe software lets you install an application on two computers—for example, at home and in the office. If you want to install the software on a third computer, first you must deactivate one installation of the application. Here’s how.

Deactivate Creative Cloud or Acrobat DC

To deactivate a Creative Cloud or Acrobat DC app, start the app and choose Help > Sign Out (your Adobe ID). For instructions, see Activate and deactive Creative Cloud apps.

Running into a problem? See Troubleshoot Creative Cloud activation errors.

Deactivate Acrobat XI/X, Creative Suite 6, and earlier

  1. Make sure your computer is connected to the Internet.

  2. Launch the application.

  3. Choose Help > Deactivate.

  4. Choose one of the following options:

    • Deactivate or Suspend Activation: These options deactivate the software but retain licensing information on your computer. Choose one of these options if you want to deactivate the software temporarily, and you are planning to activate it on this computer again.
    • Deactivate permanently: This option deactivates the software and removes the licensing information from your computer. If you want to use the software on this computer again, reenter the serial number.

Deactivate Photoshop Elements or Premiere Elements

To deactivate Photoshop Elements or Photoshop Elements, simply sign out of the application by selecting Help > Sign out.


Running into a problem? See Activation and deactivation troubleshooting.


What information is sent to Adobe during activation?

The following types of information may be sent to Adobe during activation:

Identifiers (IDs)

  • Unique IDs (generated by Adobe) specific to your machine and to the license you have purchased for the software. These IDs cannot be used to locate your machine or identify you personally.
  • Your Adobe ID, if you have logged in to Adobe as part of the installation, update, or use of the Adobe software. The Adobe ID personally identifies you, and links to all information that you have provided to Adobe while creating or using your Adobe account. If you or your company uses an administrator or other authorized party for the foregoing, Adobe may also receive the Adobe ID of that party.

Installed Adobe product information

  • Serial numbers associated with the installed product licenses
  • Product name and version number; license type purchased
  • Version of End-User License Agreement associated with the software
  • The number of times you have launched an Adobe application since the last activation, for each application that is associated with the product license

Operating system information

  • Operating system type and version
  • Locale (language dialect and writing system) in use
  • Local machine time (including time zone)
  • Machine name
  • MAC address

IP address

The IP address assigned to you by your Internet service provider is received by Adobe as part of the process of sending the activation data to Adobe.

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