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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 send such requests by email to: cusoftware@cornell.edu. 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 Weill staff and faculty covered by the Creative Cloud ETLA?

Weill has signed its own independent Creative Cloud ELA. 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 send that request via email to: cusoftware@cornell.edu

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 send that request via email to: cusoftware@cornell.edu.

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. How can I use it right now?

You may download Creative Cloud from Adobe and sign up for a free 7-day trial license. After you have been approved for the Creative Cloud ETLA, you can switch your trial license to the ETLA.  

What is an Adobe ID?

Adobe uses your Cornell email address to assign your access rights in Creative Cloud. You will need to register your "netid@cornell.edu" email address with Adobe and set an independent password. Do not use the same password you use with your NetID. Adobe sometimes refers to Adobe IDs as "personal accounts," but it is still a Cornell-provided service.

We are planning to switch authorization with Adobe from Adobe IDs to Cornell Single Sign-On (SSO) during 2021.

I have an immediate need to use Acrobat Pro. How can I use it right now?

You may download Acrobat Pro DC and sign up for a free 7-day trial license. After you have been approved for the Creative Cloud ETLA, you can switch your trial license to the ETLA. Please see our Acrobat Pro licensing page for download links and more information.

Which address should I use as my Adobe ID?

You will need to use your NetID@cornell.edu email address as your Adobe ID. This is true even if you have set up a Cornell Alternate Email Alias (COEA) and normally use that as your email address. Your Adobe ID maintains its own independent password. Please do NOT use the same password for your Adobe ID that you use for your regular NetID.

Can I use Creative Cloud 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 store your Adobe ID and password on up to two computers at a time, and may open Creative Cloud applications on any one computer at a time.

Can I use Acrobat Pro DC on my own personal computer?

Yes. Your Acrobat Pro DC Named-User license allows installation onto any number of computers. These can be Cornell-owned, personally-owned, or a combination. You may store your Adobe ID and password on up to two computers at a time, and 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 ELA subscription. Please contact 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 send your questions by email to CU Software at: cusoftware@cornell.edu.

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