Important Adobe licensing changes take effect on Feb. 14, 2020. This article describes options for all CAES Faculty and Staff.

We appreciate your patience and understanding as we work through this transition. As always, please reach out to the CAES IT Service Desk (, 706-542-2139) if you have any questions or need any assistance.

In this article:


As some of you have already heard, the College of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences will no longer participate in the University System’s Adobe licensing agreement. For several years now, the college has had access to most of Adobe’s desktop products at no cost to the individual or department through this program. Unfortunately, such factors as the recent budget reduction, an expanding user base and a 15+% price increase have made our continued participation unrealistic. Our college is not the only UGA entity ending its participation in this licensing program. Creative Cloud accounts tied to the UGA agreement are expected to stop working on February 14, 2020. Earlier versions of the Adobe products may continue to work beyond that date.

We realize how important these products, particularly Acrobat, are to many of you in getting your work done. A great deal of time and effort has been invested into identifying and vetting the most reasonable option moving forward.

If you are work at an Extension Office or Research & Education Center…

For those of you supported by the Office of Information Technology Field Services Team, please DO NOT follow the instructions below at this time. In the very near future, you will receive specific instructions from your support agent.

If you are on a campus and the only Adobe product you use is Acrobat…

For the vast majority of you who only use Acrobat but none of the other Adobe desktop applications, we have identified and are procuring an alternative PDF editor called PhantomPDF. This product is a very popular and widely adopted Acrobat alternative from a company called Foxit. Testing among users within the college has been very positive with some individuals indicating their preference for PhantomPDF over Acrobat. This solution will be made available to anyone needing this functionality at no cost to the individual or department.

To get PhantomPDF:

  1. Visit OIT’s service request portal ( to submit a request to have PhantomPDF installed on your computer(s). Note: each person can have the software installed on up to two devices.
  2. An OIT support technician will schedule a time with you to install PhantomPDF and to remove Acrobat from your computer.

We would like to thank each of you who invested time to test and provide feedback on this product.

If you are on a campus and use Adobe products other than Acrobat…

For the much smaller group of users who need access to Adobe products other than Acrobat (Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, etc.), it will be the responsibility of the individual to procure a license for Adobe Creative Cloud using faculty or departmental UGA accounts. This could take the form of a P-Card purchase or a personal credit card purchase that is reimbursed.

After investigating the available options, buying directly from Adobe under their education discount program seems to be the most cost effective source for these licenses. At present, the cost for the full Creative Cloud suite is $19.99/month or $239.88/year for the first year and then $29.99/month or $359.88/year, thereafter. While the USG Technology Store does currently have this product for less than $50, you should not purchase from them as these licenses are intended for students and will expire along with the current Adobe agreement. We will no longer have the option to buy these individual licenses through the USG Technology Store under the new agreement. Also, current state contract vendors for software have confirmed that they cannot sell individual licenses to us. They can sell “Creative Cloud for Teams” which has collaborative tools that the typical user will never use and the price exceeds $400 per user.

To Purchase Adobe Creative Cloud:

  1. Go to and select the “Buy Now” option.
  2. Enter a valid UGA email address and select the plan you would like to purchase (we recommend the annual subscription).
  3. If you have an Adobe account tied to the email address that you entered, you will be asked to login. Otherwise, you will get an opportunity to set a password and create your Adobe account later in the process.
  4. Enter payment information and then click the “Continue to verification” button.
  5. On the “Education status verification” page, select “I am a teacher, faculty, or staff”, enter your name, enter “University of Georgia, Athens, GA, 30602” for “School”, and then select a “Primary area of instruction”. “Undecided/None” is an acceptable answer if nothing else fits – if you are staff, for example.
  6. Click “Place secure order” to complete your transaction.
  7. Click the “Get Started” link on the confirmation page or in the “Thank you for your purchase” email from Adobe to download and install the Adobe Creative Cloud desktop app.
  8. If you already have Adobe Creative Cloud products on your computer, accept the prompt to import previous settings and to update and remove all older versions.
  9. During the sign in process, you should follow the prompts to setup alerts for updates, billing, etc. if they appear.

Photoshop Alternatives…

Several of you have reached out to ask if we could recommend an alternative to Photoshop. The following is a list of commonly-used, free or lower-cost photo editing products. While these products are promoted by reputable sources, they have not been tested or otherwise vetted by OIT staff.



Pricing: Free


Affinity Photo