How to get Photoshop for free

Tyler Lacoma
·4 min read

If you’re here, you’re probably searching for an easy way to use Photoshop for free, which is increasingly harder to find. Whether you’re editing a fantastic meme or trying to get professional work done for a client, Photoshop is almost entirely a subscription service with periodic updates these days, and the old methods of using a past version of the software don’t function anymore. To get the full version of Photoshop now, you will need to pay at least $10 per month, which is hard to justify unless you’re a professional. An entry-level version called Photoshop Elements, however, is available for $100 and comes with several pro-level features — but there are far fewer options overall.

So, let’s talk about the best way to experience Photoshop for free, and the rare cases in which old downloads may be the best option for you. You may also want to check out other free photo-editing software available online, or look for the best photo-editing apps for iOS or Android if you prefer to work on mobile. But for the best results, keep in mind that you will probably want a great photo-editing monitor to work on as well.

Download your free trial

Right now, the top way to use Photoshop without paying anything is to sign up for the free trial and then cancel before that trial ends (usually seven days). Adobe offers a free seven-day trial of the latest version of Photoshop, which you can start whenever you want.

Photoshop free trial website screenshot

Step 1: Navigate to the Adobe website and select Try for Free when you are ready to begin. Adobe will offer you three different free trial options at this point. You probably want to choose the one on the left, which is Photoshop plus Adobe Fresco, the new version of Adobe’s paint app, which you may be interested in trying but can always ignore. The middle option, known as the Photography plan, will give you access to many additional photo tools you may find useful for your trial.

Photoshop free trial options screenshot

Step 2: Now you will be taken to a checkout screen where you enter your email (if you are a new user, you will eventually have to create a password and account with this email, too).

After these steps, the download should automatically begin. This download will work with both MacOS and Windows 10 as long as you have several GB of storage space for the app and related hardware.

Step 3: Find the Photoshop_Installer.dmg file and open it. Adobe will then download both the Photoshop program and the Creative Cloud desktop app onto your computer because this allows the company to tempt you with a variety of other Adobe apps in addition to Photoshop. If necessary, you will now need to fill out a few quick questions and sign in with an Adobe account or create a new Creative Cloud membership — this is the membership that you will have to pay for after the trial.

Step 4: You can now use Photoshop for seven days, which starts on the day that you download the free trial. Make sure you cancel the trial and remove your Creative Cloud account before your trial ends so that you don’t start paying for anything!

Adobe makes it very difficult for you to sign up for an additional free trial after your first and keeps a record of downloads made on your computer. If you completely delete Photoshop or use a different computer — and sign in with a new Adobe account — you may be able to get another free trial, but it doesn’t always work.

The end of Photoshop CS2

Once, Photoshop Creative Suite 2 (CS2) was available for a free download if you had purchased the old version of Photoshop sometime in the past. Since many people looking for a free Photoshop app just want the options that CS2 provides, this worked out well for many long-time Photoshop users who didn’t want to use a subscription service or download new versions.

Unfortunately, there are now huge caveats with this process that make it mostly unworkable for most users:

  • Adobe has disabled activation servers for CS2 and Acrobat 7. They are neither supported nor updated.

  • An original serial number from a past purchase was required to download and use CS2. This requirement is no longer the case — now, you can only use the specialized version of CS2 with a single serial number provided by Adobe. Your original software is no longer supported.

  • Windows 10 has had growing problems trying to use Photoshop CS2 due to outdated compatibility. It is now quite difficult to get the software running on Windows.

  • MacOS has not been compatible with CS2 since OS X 10.7 Mountain Lion, and current versions of MacOS can no longer support it.

Adobe has even removed a last-ditch Photoshop CS2 download from its website to end its support for downloading old versions like this. You can still find the CS2 download on various other sites. Still, we do not recommend trying it. At best, it won’t work, and at worst, it will cause severe problems for your operating system or have malicious software like viruses attached.