Adobe CS compatibility question
April 1, 2009 7:53 AM   Subscribe

Adobe CS vs. CS2 vs. CS 4 compatibility...what are my options?

I currently have InDesign CS and Photoshop and Illustrator 7.0 at home. I have CS2 at work, and a slim-to-none chance of getting an upgrade anytime soon.

I want to make a pitch to my boss to work at home at least every now and then. In order to work on files at home and be able to then work on them at the office, would it be better to just work with what I've got or upgrade to CS4 at home? (I can get an edu discount but that's still a chunk of change.)

I mostly use InDesign, some Photoshop, and very occasionally Illustrator. No one else will be using the files, so I'm not worried about staying compatible with anyone else.

Thank you, Hive!
posted by JoanArkham to Computers & Internet (20 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
Maybe you can find a cheap upgrade to CS2 on eBay? If you won't be going to CS4 at work, there's no sense in going there at home right away.
posted by bink at 8:21 AM on April 1, 2009


Based on my recent experience with Flash, I'd wait for a patch or two before upgrading to CS4 as it is buggy and crashy, even with 3.5 Gb of RAM on my XP machine. (Minimum memory required is 2 Gb -- ha!!) However, Photoshop has been reasonably stable, and I don't use the other apps, so perhaps this is only a Flash issue.

Try ebay or Craigslist for CS2. A lot of people sell their original CDs extremely cheaply after they upgrade.
posted by maudlin at 8:30 AM on April 1, 2009


Well, all of them can make files compatible with older versions. So, you don't necessarily need to upgrade your home version to CS2 if you don't want to, as long as there's nothing you really need for work that was new on CS2. If you want to shell out the cash, you can get CS4, but you'll be limited to CS2 features until you upgrade at work.

Like the other folks above said, you can try for a really cheap CS2 upgrade, if you really need it. Me, personally, I'd just let it slide until the upgrade me at work and then catch up with whatever version that is.
posted by General Malaise at 8:39 AM on April 1, 2009


Thanks! I don't know why I just assumed CS2 would be impossible to buy. They seem to be going for crazy prices on eBay ($1,000???) but I just found one cheap via Craigslist.
posted by JoanArkham at 8:44 AM on April 1, 2009


Yeah, try and get CS2, it's the simplest and least painful way of transferring files from work and home.

Or you can use CS2's Indesign Interchange format to back and forth with CS. When you're in CS2, just chose Export>Indesign Interchange and save the file, which will have an .inx extension. Then use CS to open up that file and continue working on it.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:47 AM on April 1, 2009


General Malaise and anyone else who does need to think about backwards compatibility: Flash, at least, is a real bitch about it. CS4 can save down to CS3, but not CS2. Photoshop is much easier, as PSD seems to open in everything, but you're still in trouble if you use a new feature not supported by CS2.
posted by maudlin at 8:47 AM on April 1, 2009


Well, all of them can make files compatible with older versions.

If you get InDesign CS4 at home and you have CS2 at work, keep in mind that InDesign Interchange files are generally only good for one iteration; you can't save down from CS4 directly to CS2. From the Adobe docs:

"Note: To open the InDesign CS4 document in InDesign CS2, open the exported INX file in InDesign CS3, export to INX again, and then open the exported file in InDesign CS2. Make sure that all versions have been updated"

That is total bullshit, as I'm sure you'll agree, and there's obviously no technical reason why this has to be the case. I would recommend buying a cheaper used CS3 license instead of upgrading all the way to CS4 at this time.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 8:49 AM on April 1, 2009


Oh, but technically you can trick CS2 into opening INXs from CS4 by changing the following string in the INX file:

DOMVersion=”6.0″ readerVersion=”5.0″ featureSet=”257″ product=”6.0(352)”

to:

DOMVersion=”5.0″ readerVersion=”4.0″ featureSet=”257″ product=”5.0(662)”

Be sure to immediately resave as a new file though, because who knows how stable it is at that point.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 8:56 AM on April 1, 2009


Flash, at least, is a real bitch about it.

The OP only uses Indesign, Photoshop and Illustrator and I'd imagine that Flash would be difficult as it doesn't come with CS2 since it was still part of MacroMedia at the time.

Oh, but technically you can trick CS2 into opening INXs from CS4 by changing the following string in the INX file:

I wouldn't trust any of my files doing that.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:19 AM on April 1, 2009


Oh, I know the original poster doesn't use Flash, but I just wanted to clarify that point for anyone else considering any CS4 suite. And I should have said "save down to Flash 8", not CS2. There's a logical reason for this lack of backwards compatibility, but it could be a real problem for people using a mix of 8 and CS3 (see: my colleagues), so it's worth noting.

Anyway, it seems that Adobe doesn't even try to support saving back to anything but the last version of InDesign, too. Anyone reading this thread who has to work with people using various versions should be aware of this issue before they upgrade.
posted by maudlin at 9:40 AM on April 1, 2009


A lot of people sell their original CDs extremely cheaply after they upgrade.

You cannot legally sell your older version if you buy an upgrade license at the discounted price. When you upgrade the license, it replaces your old license for the previous version. Plus, you have no way of knowing how many activations the previous owner left installed somewhere. Since all versions of CS use activation, they'll probably nail you on this, and Adobe is unlikely to consider you the original owner if someone else has upgraded with your serial number and you can't produce an original receipt. It may be fine, but that's something to watch out for.

Bob Bringhurst, lead writer for InDesign, has offered to convert files from CS4 to CS2 for free, but not many of them and this wouldn't do on a regular basis.
posted by Caviar at 10:15 AM on April 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


This is a side point, but have you tried out the trial for Indesign CS4? It has smart guides, which are fucking fantastic and will make your job a million times easier when aligning or spacing things. If you use Indesign a lot, you may want to consider the time (and thus money) saved by using this feature.
posted by suedehead at 10:32 AM on April 1, 2009


Yikes. Be careful buying "used" unless they will transfer the ownership to you through Adobe. (The instructions for doing this are here. Otherwise there's a decent chance you're just getting an expensive coaster and an amusingly long number. As Caviar said the one they sell you could easily have run out of activations. (Don't forget you can likely take a tax deduction on what you spend on any work-at-home expenses.)
posted by Ookseer at 10:45 AM on April 1, 2009


Yeah, I was wondering about the license issue. The one I found on Craig claims he switched from Windows to Mac and doesn't need his Windows version anymore. I'm hoping that's true.

I'd love to switch up to CS4, but I don't see it happening at work and I don't use it enough outside of work to justify the cost.

Thanks again, all...lots of good info here.
posted by JoanArkham at 10:48 AM on April 1, 2009


Thank Ookseer...link? :)
posted by JoanArkham at 10:50 AM on April 1, 2009


I think you should unmark my first response as a best answer, as this is obviously risky. People don't always get burnt this way, but even once is too often.
posted by maudlin at 10:56 AM on April 1, 2009


The one I found on Craig claims he switched from Windows to Mac and doesn't need his Windows version anymore. I'm hoping that's true.

Adobe actually allows you to do a platform switch for no charge other than a nominal shipping cost, which I think is $5-10. They do make you sign a piece of paper that says you've destroyed your old discs when you do this. (I did it.)

I'd be moderately skeptical of anyone who claims to have paid full price for a new version.
posted by Caviar at 11:55 AM on April 1, 2009


Hmm, looks like I'm back to trying to swap across versions then. Unless there is a way to get a legit (sealed) copy of CS2. I assume reputable software dealers are required to send all their unsold old versions back?

Dammit, Adobe. I like your products. Why do you make this so hard?
posted by JoanArkham at 12:07 PM on April 1, 2009


Gah, badly hand coded HTML got eaten.

Link to Adobe license transfer procedures.
posted by Ookseer at 12:40 PM on April 1, 2009


By the way, CS4 is really good, and if you're going to upgrade, you likely want to do it before 4/30, when the upgrade discounts run out.
posted by Caviar at 3:10 PM on April 1, 2009


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