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Cornell University

Adobe Software Licensing Frequently Asked Questions

This article applies to: Software Licensing

What is Creative Cloud All Apps Plan?

Creative Cloud is Adobe's suite of creative software, which includes the latest versions of products like Acrobat Pro Document Cloud (DC), Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, and Premiere. The Creative Cloud suite replaces Adobe's older Creative Suite product line. Unlike the earlier Creative Suite software, Creative Cloud rights are assigned to an individual user, who can then use Creative Cloud on any computer.

What is the Creative Cloud Enterprise Term License Agreement (ETLA)?

In November 2014, Cornell purchased a license agreement with Adobe that covers Creative Cloud and Acrobat Pro DC for all Cornell employees with a documented business need for the software. The license is paid for centrally, meaning that individual subscribers are not charged a subscription fee. Departments determine which employees have a business need for the relevant Adobe software. We renewed this license in 2017, and again in 2021. The latest license renewal extends the contract to students who meet eligibility criteria.

Is Creative Cloud Free?

Customers are not charged an individual license fee, and in that sense it's "free." The ETLA license fees are paid by central IT funds. There is an upper limit to the number of licenses we can grant, so we do restrict them to a "Cornell business need" basis.

Is Acrobat Pro Free?

Acrobat Pro is included in the Adobe Creative Cloud All Apps Plan. We also have additional Acrobat Pro standalone licensing available for Cornell staff and faculty with a business need for Acrobat Pro, but who do not need the other Creative Cloud applications. There is an upper limit to the number of licenses we can grant, so we do restrict them to a "Cornell business need" basis.

Like the Creative Cloud license, Acrobat Pro DC is funded centrally, and there is no individual charge for the license.

Are All Adobe Products Covered by the Creative Cloud ETLA?

No. Only products that are part of the Creative Cloud suite are covered. For a listing of products available through Creative Cloud, please see the Creative Cloud Desktop Apps page at Adobe. Customers who need other Adobe products must purchase individual licenses.

Are Students Covered by the Creative Cloud ETLA?

Yes, under certain circumstances. Students who have an academic need to use Creative Cloud software for a class may be eligible for the Creative Cloud for Students plan. This plan is granted on a semester-by-semester basis, on the request of an instructor or academic department. We will need to know the course catalog number of the class that requires student use of the software. Students should ask their instructor or academic department to email such requests to CU Software. We are not able to honor requests for access from the students themselves; the request must come from a Cornell academic department or instructor. Student employees with a Cornell business need can be granted access the same as regular Cornell employees.

Are Retirees Covered by the Creative Cloud ETLA?

No. Eligibility for the Creative Cloud ETLA ends if an individual's employment at Cornell ends.

Are Emeritus Faculty Covered by the Creative Cloud ETLA?

Yes. Emeritus faculty are considered to be Cornell employees under our license, and may receive Adobe licensing in the same way as employees. Please note that customers must have an affiliation status of "emeritus" in Workday to be eligible; customers with a status of "retired faculty" are considered retirees per our license.

Are Weill Staff and Faculty Covered by the Creative Cloud ETLA?

Weill has signed its own independent Creative Cloud ETLA. Weill staff and faculty should check with their local IT staff, or with Weill ITS for information about Weill's Creative Cloud ELA.

How Do I Sign Up for a Creative Cloud License?

Creative Cloud licenses are assigned by departmental request. Please ask your manager or local Technical Support Provider (TSP) to submit a request for a license on your behalf. The request needs to include

  • your name
  • your NetID
  • a brief description of your business responsibilities that require Creative Cloud software
  • a list of the specific Creative Cloud applications you need.

Your supervisor or TSP should email that request to CU Software.

How Do I Sign Up for an Acrobat Pro DC License?

Acrobat Pro licenses are assigned by departmental request. Please ask your manager or local Technical Support Provider (TSP) to submit a request for a license on your behalf.

The request needs to include your name, your NetID, and a brief description of what you need to do with PDF documents that requires the features of Acrobat Pro DC. Your supervisor or TSP should email that request to CU Software.

How Long Will It Take for My Application to be Processed?

You will receive notice within five business days of application. Most applications are processed on the next business day.

I Have an Immediate Need to Use Creative Cloud and/or Acrobat Pro. How Can I Use It Right Now?

Ask your department's IT support team to submit a request on your behalf, and ask them to mark the request "High Priority." We will do our best to activate the license as soon as possible, although we cannot guarantee it will be immediate. While it is possible to start a 7-day trial license, which will grant immediate access, we advise against that. To start a trial, Adobe will require that you provide a credit card number, and they will begin charging you automatically after 7 days. To avoid charges, you must cancel before the trial period is over. If Adobe does charge you, you'll need to request a refund from Adobe directly. We have found that Adobe rarely issues refunds in this situation.

How Do I Sign In to Adobe Applications?

Please see our Sign In to Adobe Products article for detailed instructions.

Can I Use Creative Cloud or Acrobat Pro on My Own Personal Computer?

Yes. Your Creative Cloud Named-User license allows installation onto any number of computers. These can be Cornell-owned, personally-owned, or a combination. You may open Creative Cloud applications on any one computer at a time.

Is Creative Cloud a Cloud-Based Service?

No. The name is somewhat misleading. With Creative Cloud, you still download and install software that runs on your local desktop computer, and you store your documents on your local computer's hard drive. It's the licensing that's cloud-based.

Are My Documents Stored in the Cloud?

They can be. By default, your documents are stored on your local hard drive. You also have 100 GB of cloud storage that you can use to collaborate on documents with other users, or work on Creative Cloud documents via other computers or Adobe mobile apps.

I Already Paid for Creative Cloud. Can I Get a Refund?

No. If you had paid for your own private Creative Cloud subscription, you cannot get a refund for any amount already paid. However, you can cancel an existing subscription with no termination fee if you have an ETLA subscription. Please email CU Software for instructions.

Where Can I Go if My Question Isn't Here?

If you have more questions, please contact the IT Service Desk or email your questions to CU Software.


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