Where can I find a free download of Photoshop?

Where Can I Download Photoshop?
Photoshop CS6 was the last boxed version of Photoshop sold before Adobe introduced Creative Cloud, which requires a subscription. © S. Chastain, Photoshop CS6 Cover Art © Adobe

Question: Where can I find a free download of Adobe Photoshop?

I need to download Adobe Photoshop CS6 or an older version of Photoshop. Where can I find a free download of Photoshop?

Answer: Adobe Photoshop is not free, however, you can download a fully-functional 30-day tryout version of Photoshop from Adobe.com. If you wish to continue using the software after the free trial period, you will need to purchase it.

Photoshop CS6 was the last boxed version of Photoshop that was sold before Photoshop and the rest of Adobe's Creative Suite was changed to the subscription-based Creative Cloud service. It is now only available with an ongoing subscription, although a free trial period for Creative Cloud is still offered.

If you don't want all of the applications in the Creative Cloud you can subscribe to the photography plan which includes both the latest versions of Photoshop and Lightroom.

If you have lost your installation media for Photoshop, but you do have a legitimate serial number for Photoshop, you can install the trial version and enter your serial number during the installation process to convert it from a trial to an non-expiring full version.

Do be careful when seeking a free Photoshop download online. Many sites will try to trick you into thinking you are downloading a legitimate or official product, but the files they are distributing are actually malware or virus infected.

The safest place to obtain a legitimate download of Adobe products is from Adobe.com. Unfortunately, only the most recent versions are distributed as trials, though you may have some luck finding older versions of Photoshop on Adobe's FTP site. Start by drilling down into either the win or mac folder on the FTP server, and from there you will find folders for all the versions of Photoshop.

There is no guarantee you will find an installer for the version you need, however. If you need to re-download an older version of Adobe Photoshop from a non-Adobe site, be very careful--do a search on the safety of the source and run a virus scan on anything you download.

If the cost of Photoshop is too much for you, consider Photoshop Elements instead. Photoshop Elements offers about 99% of the functionality of Photoshop at about a sixth of the price, and was designed to meet the needs of most non-professionals who will never use many of Photoshop's advanced features. A free 30-day trial version of Photoshop Elements is also available for download from Adobe.
Comparison of Photoshop and Photoshop Elements
• Should You Switch from Photoshop to Photoshop Elements?

If you're unable to obtain Photoshop legally, there are many very good photo editing programs that are free and offer many of the same features of Photoshop. To learn more, browse the free graphics software section of this site, or visit the following links for my top picks.
Top Free Photo Editors for Windows
Top Free Photo Editors for Macintosh

Today we have so many options for free and inexpensive Photoshop alternatives, that there is no need to pirate Photoshop and potentially risk getting a computer virus, malware, or having to deal with the hassles of credit card fraud.

The following articles will help you weigh the value of Adobe's Creative Cloud, and present you with several lower cost alternatives.