Adobe Software Licensing FAQ

Getting Started | Eligibility | General | Computer Labs | Support

Getting Started

For information on how to obtain an Adobe license and software, please review our Knowledge Base Portal article.

Your local IT support team or the UBC IT Software Licensing Team will provide you additional information once your request has been reviewed.

License is associated to user. Adobe software can be installed on more than one device and activated on two devices. However, only one active session is allowed. If a user logins to more than two machines, an over activation dialog will pop-up and will ask the user to sign-out of other devices before signing-in to the current device.

Yes, you can install Adobe to non-UBC owned devices to conduct university activities.

Some apps are hidden in the Creative Cloud app. You can find them by following the steps below.

  1. Click on this icon at the top of the screen on the upper right corner
  2. Select preferences
  3. Select Creative Cloud
  4. Select show Older Apps


UBC Faculty and staff are eligible for a license at no cost. Contractors are not eligible for this service.

UBC has a very limited number of Adobe Acrobat Professional DC and Adobe Creative Cloud software licenses for desktop. UBC IT will review software license needs for the university annually. If you have been indicated to be an inactive user, your license may be revoked and assigned to another user who needs it.

When you leave the university, your access to the Adobe license will be revoked as it is associated to your Campus-Wide Login (CWL).


UBC's Adobe agreement is limited to only desktop applications. The agreement does not include the following:

  • Online storage and applications/features that depend on online storage
  • Access to Adobe assets
  • Access to Adobe files
  • Access to Adobe Fonts (Typekit)
  • Access to Adobe Market
  • Access to Adobe Stock
  • Access to mobile applications
  • Access to Lightroom CC

Previously, UBC subscribed to Adobe licensing through Serial Number licensing method (volume license). The license through this method is tied/granted to a particular machine. The new licensing method, called Named User Licensing (NUL), ties the usage of Adobe apps and services to an individual user.

By adopting NUL, user will be able to install apps and updates on their own through a self-service portal. Moving forward, new versions of software and features will be available through NUL only.

Once apps are installed and activated on your computer, you need to keep your Adobe apps signed in in order to use them offline.

For Adobe Creative Cloud:
You can use the apps in offline mode up to two calendar months + 99 days (~159 days). The apps will attempt to validate your software license every 30 days. For more information, please click here.

For Adobe Acrobat DC:
You can use the apps in offline mode up to 99 days (grace period). The apps will attempt to validate your software license every 30 days. You will receive a reminder to reconnect to the internet to validate your license after the 30 day period has expired. For more information, please click here.

No, with our current licensing method (Named User Licensing), you will not need to renew your license. However, as we do have limited licenses available, we will periodically perform a license review to identify and remove inactive users.

With our education license, Adobe does not collect any information or perform any information sharing. For more information, please visit Adobe’s privacy page on desktop apps.

Since certain Adobe files are not backwards compatible, we recommend users sharing files to have the same version installed to avoid issues with opening and editing files that have been created on different versions. We also recommend users to upgrade to the latest version of Adobe Creative Cloud as the latest version of the installer will be patched by Adobe for platform bugs moving forward.

The latest Adobe software is available through the Adobe Desktop Creative Cloud app which acts as the portal.

The listed software on the portal should be the latest version by default. If a newer version of your software is available, the portal will show ‘update' next to the software.

The current serial number license is expected to expire on November 30, 2019 or February 29, 2020 depending on the machine’s serial license. We strongly encourage users to transition to Named User Licensing as soon as possible. After the expiry date, users may not be able to access Adobe products. Named User Licensing is required for Adobe software versions 2019 and later. You can verify your Adobe Creative Cloud version by the title of the software on your desktop. For Adobe Acrobat Pro DC, please follow the below steps:

  1. Open Acrobat
  2. Go to help
  3. Check and see if your CWL account has signed in

Please contact your System Administrator for assistance in verifying the expiry date on your machine by using the AdobeExpiryCheck tool.

Computer Labs

Computer labs and classroom setups can use Adobe’s Shared Device Licensing (SDL). Visit the SDL page for more information


For licensing questions, please contact the UBC IT Software Licensing Team.

For software installation or support questions, please contact your local IT support.

Please note: If you are a UBC IT SCCM supported user with previous Acrobat or Creative Cloud installed on your system, you might already have the updated license. If so, you may proceed with the updated Acrobat or CCDA installation. Otherwise, please contact the UBC IT Software Licensing Team.