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New CS6 Update Allows Opening of Newer CC Files


Adobe has gone back and added a new feature to CS6: The ability to open newer CC, CC 2013, and CC 2014 files without having to resort to exporting as IDML first.

Now, I need to be clear here: This is not all versions of CS6… this only works with CS6 if you have a subscription to Adobe Creative Cloud, and your CS6 was installed via the CC app! I’m sure many CS6 users are going to grumble about this. For the record, I hope that Adobe will, in the future, make this available to all CS6 users, even without the CC subscription. But for now: CC only.

Anyway, the new version of CS6 showed up in the Creative Cloud app today, and you can update it there:


After you update it, you can choose About InDesign (from the InDesign menu on the Mac, or the Help menu in Windows) and you’ll see that it was updated to version 8.1:

CS6 8.1

There are a number of bug fixes in CS6 8.1, and you can read about them in Adobe’s release notes here.

But as I said, the big new feature is the ability to open newer CC files. It’s incredibly easy: You just… open them!

As soon as InDesign sees that it is a newer version, it asks if you want to convert it:

convert newer version

When you click the Convert button, it whirrs away…


The bigger the file, the longer it takes, but I opened a 6 page document with mostly text in less than a minute. I should point out that this only works when you have an internet connection. InDesign is actually uploading your file to the Cloud, converting it on some server somewhere, and then downloading what I assume is an IDML file that CS6 can open.

When that’s done, InDesign asks if you want to save it (that’s optional), and you’re done.

Of course, if you have used features that only show up in the newer versions, then those could be stripped out in the CS6 version of the file. But that’s to be expected, and is how it has always worked with the old IDML-export method.

So now, if you’re stuck in a CS6 world, you can work with CC InDesign files with much less hassle. Awesome!

[Editor’s note: Apparently there were bugs in the 8.1 release for Windows, so it was pulled. A reliable source says it should be up by early next week. Mac users are unaffected.]

David Blatner is the co-founder of the Creative Publishing Network, InDesign Magazine, CreativePro Magazine, and the author or co-author of 15 books, including Real World InDesign. His InDesign videos at LinkedIn Learning ( are among the most watched InDesign training in the world.
You can find more about David at

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  • Bob Levine says:

    There was an update to CC as well. So CS6 can open CC and CC2014 files and CC can open CC2014 files.

    • Steve Werner says:

      InDesign CC was updated to version 9.3. Here’s a link to the release notes:

      • I’m curious how many CC users need this — that is, how many InDesign CC users stick with the old CC 2013. My sense is that there are CC subscribers who use CS6 (for work compatibility reasons), but that once people start using the CC version they tend to upgrade with each release.

      • Uwe Laubender says:

        I wouldn’t stick with InDesign CC v9.2.2, because some bug fixes were made in CC v9.3. That forces the question: Is v9.3 NOW ahead of v10.1 in fixing bugs?


      • Billy Chase says:

        I am one of those users that can’t upgrade to the newer CC versions very quickly because our upgrades are controlled by our IT department. I can only update whatever version is installed on my computer at work.

        This update will be useful since we sometimes get files created by versions higher than what we have installed. It’s rare but it happens.

      • Uwe Laubender says:

        Now after doing some tests with InDesign CC v9.3.0, form fields, exporting to IDML and the Simple Save Back-Service (SSB), I can tell, that CC v9.3.0 is CURRENTLY the ONLY version of InDesign doing form fields right, if it comes to IDML, IDMS and Libraries.

        That means: Do NOT use SSB, if you are working with form fields!

        Just export to IDML or IDMS, if you want to retain all properties of form fields and:

        1. Want to go to InDesign CS6 v8.0.2 or v8.1.0
        2. Want to store form fields in Libraries and Snippets

        Use v9.3.0 over v9.2.2 OR EVEN v.10.1.0 when IDML and IDMS is part of your workflow using form fields!


  • Dennis says:

    Once again Adobe tries to force us to update to the cloud/subscription model. If only there was an alternative to Adobe products.

    • Eugene Tyson says:

      There’s plenty of alternatives, quark, scribus, page plus, impression, page stream, passepartout, swift publisher, format pixel, and of course Publisher, which you can work in CMYK with.

      Pretty sure nobody is forcing you to stick to Adobe products.

      • Joel says:

        Ha, yeah, I’m pretty sure my employer is. My clients are. Every other agency in my corner of the US is. Any placement agency I might ever hope to freelance through. Not using Adobe products now is pretty much like not existing in the professional 2D design world.

  • Leigh says:

    It should be noted that the perpetual CS6 also got the 8.1 update but without the handy new file converter. At least it got some bug fixes :-)

  • Ariel says:

    What a confusing little blurb Adobe have managed to write. In the CS6 update details it says “Adobe CS6 Updated: … Now you can send files to anyone using an earlier version of InDesign CC…”

    Earlier than CS6? Send? Huh?

    What they mean, I suppose, is: “Now you can open files created in InDesign CC and up!”

    Anyway, can perpetual CS6 users download the bug fixes anywhere? (I have a CC subscription, but use it only for ePub.)

  • Ray Robertson says:


    Not sure why your comment on CC 2013 doesn’t show a reply option, but to give one answer: Many corporate users are still on CC 2013. Lots of larger companies require a certification/approval process before upgrading to any application version (and OS upgrades as well). Sometimes, this takes months if not years.

    And I must say it is with good reason. Some bugs aren’t revealed until thousands of users begin putting the software to use. A related example: Microsoft Excel has a real problem with number formatting in Yosemite. So far, neither Microsoft nor Apple have provided a fix. When number formatting is wrong in financial tables, that is a mission-critical issue.

    An InDesign example: The introduction of TypeKit has created a real problem for users employing AppleScript automation. The method we have for ignoring missing font dialogs does not work with that damn TypeKit dialog. It’s a Mac-only issue, and has been filed as a bug. This is definitely an Adobe issue, but we are still waiting on a fix.

  • Richard Groff says:

    I got the update sort of by accident, and I’m VERY glad! CS6 is the last version of ID I like to use. CC and CC2014 have lost a critical feature for me (using the numeric keypad as an editing keypad), they look ugly, there are little UI bugs all over the place, and the added features are totally underwhelming.

    I was in a pickle one day when a customer sent me a CC file and I still haven’t gotten (and perhaps never will) on the Creative Cloud bandwagon. I hate subscribing to software! Anyway, I downloaded the trial version just so I could open the file and save it as IDML so I could work with it in CS6. The CC trial expired a while back and I removed it from my computer, but Adobe was nice enough anyway to let me have this update.

    Thanks, Adobe, but as far as upgrading to CC: no thanks.

    • HiRize says:

      Do I understand this correctly, Richard? You have CS6, but downloaded the CC trial version. It had the update (allowing you to open and work with CC versions on CS6). When the trial version expired and you deleted it, the update was still there – allowing you to open and work with CC versions?

      • Richard Groff says:

        No, I was wrong. After deleting the trial version, the ability to open CC files in CS6 was no longer there.

  • StefaanD says:

    Well i just tried this, opening a CC 2014 file in CS6 8.1 but i simple get the same dialog i got in CS6 8.0

    Don’t know what i’m doing wrong here.

    • StefaanD: Did you install CS6 as part of your subscription to Creative Cloud? Or was your copy of CS6 from an earlier non-subscription “perpetual” license? My understanding is that this would only work for the CC-subscription version.

      • StefaanD says:

        David, thanks for the clarification. I didn’t install CS6 as part of Creative Cloud so that explains why it doesn’t work here to open CC files.

  • What would be really nice is if they would open source the InDesign document format as they did with PDF. Adobe have market dominance in the page layout arena, what are they afraid of? They continue to have market dominance in the PDF marketplace long after the format became an open standard, that anyone can use and develop.

    People who want to upgrade for new features in software will, those who don’t won’t. With an open standard which is used across versions, we will get rid of the problem of having to feed and maintain multiple versions of the same program and the, also, uncomfortable feeling that we are over the barrel of an unending upgrade treadmill.

  • For those with a non-subscription CS6 or InDesign CS5 or CS5.5 users, Markzware has also a plugin available to open higher versioned InDesign files in lower versions of the application. It is called MarkzTools. I work for Markzware, for all clarity, but this seems like a good moment to mention this conversion tool. See:

    • Nigel says:

      This looks useful & thanks for being upfront about promoting this. For me possibly a bit expensive but if it works seamlessly maybe worth investing in. Does it keep pace with subsequent Indesign CC upgrades and if so are your updates free? Sub £50 (whatever that is in dollars) would probably have me trying it out. Any chance of a promotional offer for people here (or more specifically me)?

  • Toto says:

    What a useless update if it’s only available for CC users! If you’re a CC user, you can use InDesign CC instead of CS6 and have no conversion issues, but if you’re a CS6 user who wants to open a CC document (created by a product of the same company!) you can really benefit from this feature.

    I understand that Adobe wants to capitalise and get everyone to switch to CC (I am a CC user, btw), but for the people who pay good money for the previous version they treat as if they’re second grade customers by not offering this update. This is customer relations at its worst, which only encourages users to install third-party plugins instead of the legitimate route.

    • Toto: I agree that it would be great if Adobe opened this to non-CC users, but I see it more as a long-term feature. It’s less useful today, but in another year or two it will be really terrific. By that time, there will be many people on CC 2013 and CC2014, while others are on CC2015 and CC2016, etc. (many companies do not allow their employees to update their software for a long time.

      • James Mc says:

        Can ID CC 2014 open the new ID CC 2015 files as well? I have a client that we recently updated to CC and they have brought it to my attention that ID CC 2014 cannot open new files they have created from ID CC 2015? (although they may be confused as they were upgraded from ID CS2…) so I think I will just install ID 2014 (leave the CC 2015 and swap their shortcuts until I can confirm this)

  • The dirty word plugins says:

    David, I crash the system whenever I open an older file with the cross reference plug in. I cannot even export them to IDML. Any suggestions? I have had to recreate each of these files.

  • Art Schwartz says:

    You can still Buy Adobe CS6 Master Collection which for most people is all they need now for Only $151.00 which has Photoshop CS6 Extended, Illustrator CS6, InDesign CS6 and just about all Adobe software and it downloads right from Adobe who makes this Adobe software. 

  • How to be assure that CS6 is part of my subscription to Creative Cloud, and if not, how to solve that and modify my subscription to include it?

      • Thanks David for quick reply. Really this article motivated me to subscript with CC, In my office there are two other designers and our manager is not enthusiast for CC, But I’m very keen to use CC apps. The problem was that I couldn’t work with CC while my colleagues use CS6.
        But now I can download CS6 on their computers so they can open my documents smoothly.

      • Abdulaziz A. Junaid says:

        I had tried to open a CC file from an InDesign CS6 installed from Creative Cloud and it didn’t work!
        The InDesign CS6 copy is updated and the InDesign CC which produced the file is last version and full updated also.

      • Abdulaziz A. Junaid says:

        It’s solved, the CC file has been opened in InDesign CS6.
        The problem was that I tried to open the file before installing InDesign CC also.

  • kurtis says:

    we are having TONS of problems with all versions of ID constantly crashing on mac os 10.9 and above. is anyone else having such issues?

    • Norma Rizer says:

      Are you by any chance referring to InDesign crashing after a data merge? If so, resetting your preferences and running the merge again will allow the program to continue. If this is not the issue, please be more specific and search the forums for the specific problem.

      • kurtis says:

        it is not during a data merge. it is just simply using the application. i am running ID on 4 different mac minis. 2 of them are running OS 10.8.x they are fine. i actually downgraded one of them from mavericks because of the crashing.

        the other 2 cannot be downgraded to 10.8.

        i have reformatted and reinstalled all system software and applications – performed all updates. i have done everything that everyone recommends in all the forums including removing the macs from the network and running stand alone.

        ID CS6 crashes to the desktop or locks the mac up completely several times a day. sometimes the crash will corrupt original files (not just the recovery files). it is impossible to use.

  • Clint Prior says:

    I tried the upgrade to CC2015 but found it too unstable. So as my colleagues are still on Indeisgn v9.3 I went back. Well I tried to anyway. The only previous versions available on the cloud are 9.0. It appears Adobe have removed all minor updates of previous versions, and not only that, but as our subscription type changed from Enterprise to Creative cloud for Teams (we were too small to warrant the Enterpise) I am not allowed to have the 9.3 update anymore. Not even allowed the 9.2.2 not i want it after what everone has said. So I put this call out to anyone that downloaded the Indesign CC v9.3 update files way back, to please email me. Thankyou!!

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