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How to download Photoshop and try it free for 7 days with Adobe Creative Cloud

Download Photoshop CC
(Image credit: Adobe)

Not sure if Photoshop is the program you need? There’s a very simple (and free) way to download Photoshop CC and find out! 

Photoshop CC is the world’s most famous image editor and is used by professional photographers, artists and illustrators the world over. For photographers, its strengths are not just its sheer image-editing power and control, but the huge range of tutorials, plug-ins and expert know-how that surrounds it. 

But you can no longer buy a Photoshop license for a single one-off fee. Instead, it’s only available via one of Adobe’s subscription plans (there’s more on these below). The ‘CC’ in the name indicates that it’s part of Adobe’s Creative Cloud system.

So does that mean you have to pay before you try it?  No! Adobe offers a 7-day free trial for its subscription plans, which should give you time to try out Photoshop properly. At the end of the trial period you can simply stop using Photoshop and cancel your subscription, or do nothing and have your subscription start automatically.

So here’s how to download Photoshop and try it free for 7 days.

Download the Adobe Photoshop CC free trial now

Download the Adobe Photoshop CC free trial now
Just choose the Adobe subscription plan you'd like to try and download the software. The Photoshop CC trial is fully functional and not limited in any way. Simply cancel your subscription before the end of the 7 day trial if you don't want to proceed, or the subscription will be activated automatically.

1. How to download Photoshop now

The advantage of Adobe's subscription plans is not just that you pay a whole lot less up front, but that you get a constant stream of free updates – like the latest Object Selection Tool. (Image credit: Adobe)

Click this link to start your free trial. You’ll be offered a choice of subscription plans for your 7-day trial, including the Adobe Photography Plan, Photoshop only or Adobe’s all apps plan. You will have to enter your card or PayPal details, but you won’t be charged until the end of the 7-day trial period. If you decide not to go ahead at the end of the trial, you’ll need to cancel your subscription online or via Adobe’s customer support.

2. How to choose an Adobe subscription plan

When you sign up for a free trial you'll need to choose a subscription plan to try out. Here are the choices (just to recap, you won't actually be charged until the trial period ends):

Photography Plan: $9.99/£9.98 per month

This is by far the best choice for photographers. It includes not just Photoshop CC but Lightroom CC and Lightroom Classic CC too, so you’re getting two professional programs for the price of one subscription. 

Photoshop: $20.99/£19.97 per month

You CAN get Photoshop on its own as one of Adobe’s single app plans, but it makes no sense financially because single app subscriptions cost twice as much as the Photography Plan.

Creative Cloud All Apps: $52.99/£49.94 per month

With this subscription you get access to all of Adobe’s professional apps. For regular photographers this is overkill, but for anyone who also works with video, web and print design and illustration, this could be the plan to go for.

3. How to buy Photoshop

At the end of the 7-day trial period your subscription will start automatically and there’s nothing else you need to do. If you decide not to subscribe, you will need to cancel your subscription online or via Adobe customer services.

If you're a student you can make great savings on the Creative Cloud All Apps plan. (Image credit: Adobe)

Adobe discounts for students

You can get the Creative Cloud All Apps plan at a substantially discounted price of $19.99/16.24 per month (including a first year discount, changing to $29.99/£25.28 after that), but you do have to be aged 13 or over and able to provide documentary evidence of your student status.

See the full range of Creative Cloud plans

See the full range of Creative Cloud plans
We recommend the Photography Plan for photographers because it offers spectacular value for money and includes not just Photoshop but Lightroom too. There's also a substantial educational discount on Adobe's All Apps plan for students, with a further reduction for the first year.

Download Photoshop

Photoshop Elements shares the same name as Photoshop CC, but its a separate program outside the Creative Cloud system and aimed at editing novices. (Image credit: Adobe)

What about Photoshop Elements?

This is a separate product to Photoshop and not part of the Creative Cloud system. You can buy Photoshop Elements with a one-off payment from Adobe or resellers. Photoshop Elements is designed for beginners and ‘memory keepers’, however, and does not offer the same professional tools and features as Photoshop CC.

Are there any Photoshop alternatives?

There certainly are! See our guide to the best photo editing software to get an idea of what’s out there, and how different software publishers approach photo-editing. Photoshop might be the best-known photo editor, but there are plenty of very strong rivals.

Read more:

• The best photo editing software today
• Read our photography tutorials on every subject under (and including) the sun!
• Short of cash? Check out the best free photo editing software right now

Rod Lawton

Rod is the Group Reviews editor for Digital Camera World and across Future's entire photography portfolio, with decades of experience with cameras of all kinds. Previously he has been technique editor on N-Photo, Head of Testing for the photography division and Camera Channel editor on TechRadar. He has been writing about photography technique, photo editing and digital cameras since they first appeared, and before that began his career writing about film photography. He has used and reviewed practically every interchangeable lens camera launched in the past 20 years, from entry-level DSLRs to medium format cameras, together with lenses, tripods, gimbals, light meters, camera bags and more.