An Important Update to Creative Cloud Libraries: Read-Only Access

Since the arrival of Adobe’s Creative Cloud, applications like Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign have become increasingly integrated with an expanding set of mobile apps and services. Nowhere is this more evident than with Creative Cloud Libraries. There’s a reason why Adobe made the decision to have the CC Libraries panel (simply called “Libraries” in the CC apps other than InDesign) pop open in the Essentials workspace, and when creating new swatches and styles.



It’s to get your attention and make you notice them, because CC Libraries are a really big deal!

  • By default, they let you share creative assets like text styles, colors, graphics, patterns, and brushes between the CC apps on your computer: Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Muse, and more;
  • They form the connective tissue between mobile apps like the amazing Capture CC and desktop apps;
  • The CC Libraries panel gives you a direct conduit to Adobe Stock Photos, with a built-in search field and licensing options; and
  • You can invite other CC users to Collaborate on a given library’s assets, with other CC users in your workgroup or elsewhere.

(For a full rundown on everything CC Libraries have to offer, check out Steve Werner’s feature article in issue 83 of InDesign Magazine.)

But until recently, there was a limitation in the way the powerful Collaboration feature worked with CC Libraries, one that prevented many users from taking advantage of it. First, remember that when people accept an invitation to collaborate on a given CC library, that library not only gets added to their CC Libraries panel, but when the library is modified (assets changed, added, or removed) by someone, the changes are synced on the fly to everyone sharing that library. That’s the point, and the power, of the Collaboration feature.

The problem was that until now, you couldn’t restrict a user from making changes to the shared library — any member who accepted the Collaboration invite automatically received full editing rights. They could modify or even delete an asset, and that change would ripple through to all members via the automatic syncing, including the owner (originator) of the library. Even if you did trust all your collaborators, all it took was one person to accidentally delete an item for everyone to lose access to it.

But that’s no longer a problem, since CC Libraries now offers a second option for the owner of a library who’s inviting a user to Collaborate: grant them Read-Only access. The library will sync with read-only members’s CC Libraries panel as usual, and they can view and use the assets in their documents. However, they can’t edit or delete anything in the shared library itself.

How to Set Read-Only Access for CC Library Collaborators

From the CC Libraries panel, choose the library you want to work with, and then choose Collaborate from the panel menu.


This opens the library in your Creative Cloud account in your web browser, where you can invite collaborators and set their level of access. Choose “Can View” to assign Read-Only access.


At any time, you as the owner of the library, can change or revoke access of collaborators, making for a much more controlled and worry-free workflow.

Sharing a Link to a CC Library

Instead of collaborating, you might choose to simply to share a link to one of your CC libraries. This lets users view the contents (colors, art, styles, etc.) of the library in their web browser even if they’re not a CC subscriber, such as a client. If the viewer does have a Creative Cloud account, they can copy the library to their own account. There is no automatic syncing, however, as with the Collaboration option. They can view, or they can copy. The end. Sometimes, that’s exactly what you want!

To share a library link, make that library active in your CC Libraries panel and choose Share Link… from the panel menu. You’re brought to your CC account on the web, where the Send Link dialog box appears.


The Public Link that Adobe generates is a unique URL to the library’s assets. Users with whom you share the URL can view the assets, even if they’re not a CC user. If they are subscribed  (and logged in) to the Creative Cloud, and you’ve enabled Allow Downloads, they’ll also see a Save to Creative Cloud button when they go to the link. Clicking it will copy the library to their own account, which makes it appear in their own CC Libraries panel(s). It is not synced, however. If you update the library, they won’t get notified and won’t see your changes.

How do you use Creative Cloud Libraries?

Are you using CC libraries? Tried the new read-only access feature? Let us know in the comments!

Posted on: June 29, 2016

Mike Rankin

Mike is the Editor in Chief of, InDesign Magazine, and He is also the author of several video training series, including Font Management Essential Training, InDesign FX, and InDesign CC: Interactive Document Fundamentals.

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