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Adobe CC 2019 Licensing and Activations

This page describes how the new Adobe Creative Cloud (CC) 2019 licensing and activations work at the university.

Adobe's Creative Cloud (CC) applications use a new licensing mechanism beginning with CC 2019.

How it used to be 

For comparison, CC 2018 and earlier versions were licensed at the university such that:
  • All university people (staff, faculty and students) had free access to all CC apps.
  • Anyone (staff, faculty, student) could sign into the CC platform with their Adobe Enterprise ID (linked to your NetID), on any number of computers with no restrictions.
  • Computers could be pre-licensed by a university IT organization so that a sign-in was not necessary to use the apps. This was how most university-owned desktop computers were configured.
  • Acrobat DC was not considered part of the CC family of apps and was not affected by the CC licensing. It was also free to access for all university people.

How it is now 

Starting with CC 2019:
  • Only staff and faculty have free access to CC apps. Students no longer have free access by default (except in instructional computer labs).
  • For each person's Adobe Enterprise ID, only two (2) computers can be activated to use the CC platform apps at any one time.
  • IT organizations are no longer able to pre-license computers which are not in instructional computer labs.
  • Acrobat DC is now considered part of the CC family of apps for licensing purposes, and requires signing into the CC platform like all the other CC apps.

For staff and faculty to activate their free access to the CC apps, they must request WebStore to grant their Adobe Enterprise ID access to the apps using this WebStore offer.

Options for students to access CC apps are:
  • The student may purchase a personal license from this WebStore offer.
  • The student may use the CC platform in designated, pre-licensed computer labs. Students still need to sign into the CC platform on these computers.

What this means for you 

Until CC 2018 licensing expires in January 2020, functionality on computers that still have CC 2018 or older apps installed will not change; see above. After the license expires, installations of Adobe apps that are CC 2018 or older will either cease to function, or usage of these will be considered against the terms of the university's license agreement with Adobe.

If a computer has CC 2019 apps installed you can expect to see sign-in prompts when opening CC apps for the first time on that computer. If you've signed in to activate CC apps on two computers already, signing into a third will prompt you to de-activate one of the previously activated computers. Computers that have been activated will not require any further sign-ins, unless you deactivate them or manually sign out afterward.

Signing in 

When opening a CC 2019 app for the first time on a given computer, you will see the following prompt. Click Sign In Now.


You will be prompted to enter an Adobe ID. Enter your Illinois email address and click Sign In. Your password is not necessary yet.


You will be prompted to choose whether to sign in with a (personal) Adobe ID, or a (company/school) Enterprise ID. Click on Enterprise ID.


You will be redirected to the familiar official Illinois Login page. Enter your NetID and password. You may be prompted to follow the 2FA process to complete the login.


After a moment the login and activation process will complete and you should be presented with the CC app you initially tried to open. If you were already signed into two other computers you will be prompted to deactivate one of them. See below.

De-activating other computers 

If you open a CC 2019 app on an un-activated computer while two other computers are already activated, you will be presented with a window requiring you to deactivate one of the previously-activated computers. Note: this message will only appear when running a CC app. The CC desktop app itself does not check for activation.


Select Sign me out of the other computers... and click Continue. After a moment, the process will complete and you should be presented with the CC app you initially tried to open. You will automatically be signed out of the computer you least recently activated.

Manually signing out 

Regretfully, in the Illinois environment, you are not able to selectively de-activate specific computers, nor directly manage your activations from a web control panel like you would with Office 365 (despite the relevant link in the above screenshot). However you can preemptively sign out of the CC platform on any computer to free up an activation, as shown below.

Open the Adobe Creative Cloud app from your start menu.


Click your user avatar in the top right, and select Sign Out from the dropdown menu.


More info and troubleshooting 

Faculty and staff that don't have an Adobe Enterprise ID can get one with this WebStore offer.

WebStore has some KB articles that may be useful:

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Keywords:adobe cc 2019 activation activations license licensing acrobat photoshop creative cloud   Doc ID:92046
Owner:Matthew S.Group:University of Illinois Engineering IT
Created:2019-05-30 12:57 CDTUpdated:2020-02-18 10:21 CDT
Sites:University of Illinois Engineering IT
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