Getting the Most Out of the Adobe User Forums

How to save time when using this free support resource

Your deadline’s closing in, but you can’t overcome a glitch with your Adobe Photoshop or InDesign file, and the help files aren’t helping. Where can you turn for a free, and often quick solution? Try the Adobe Forums, also known as the Adobe Community. Many forum members use Adobe software in production every day, so they can have useful insights and are sometimes aware of problems before they’re officially documented by Adobe, or become known to tech support. A few simple strategies can help you get a great Adobe Forums answer more quickly.

Finding the Right Forum

If you’ve used other online forums, you already have an idea of how the Adobe Forums work: You find the right forum, post a clear and specific question, and read the replies you get. But Adobe has so many products that you may be overwhelmed by pages of links and sub-forums. Fortunately, it’s easy to drill down to what you need.

To interact with the community, first click Sign In at the top of the Adobe Forums home page and enter your Adobe ID. Then, if you don’t see a forum icon for your application in the Popular section, click See All Forums to find the one you need.

Fig 01-Forum Home page with forum list

What’s tricky is that some Adobe applications have sub-communities for more specific groups of users. Click the Subspaces link to see them.

Fig 02-InDesign subspaces

Clicking Subspaces reveals the InDesign sub-communities.

Posting in the correct forum is essential. If you need help with Adobe Camera Raw but you post your question in the general Adobe Photoshop forum, the question may not be read by Camera Raw users so it may take longer to get a good answer.

Some of the more popular applications (such as Photoshop) have so much information on the main forum page that you might not see the posts right away. Scroll down to see them. The main forum page shows just a few recent discussions, so click the Content link near the top to see the rest.

Fig 03-Scroll to see discussions

At first glance you might not see any discussions in the Photoshop forum (left). Keep scrolling…they’re at the bottom (right).

If your primary language isn’t English, look for the international product forums at the bottom of the Forums home page. Posts have a Translate button, too.

Fig 04-International

Finding an Answer Before Posting

Sometimes you don’t need to rush headlong into the forum posts. The links near the top and in the sidebar of many main forum pages are often frequently answered questions (FAQs) or important recent issues, and the Search option at the top may turn up existing posts that already answer your question. If one of those options brings you a solution, you won’t even have to write a post.

Fig 05-Useful links

Many of the tips in this article are covered in more depth in the Forum Resources section at the bottom of the Forums Home page, which is worth reviewing for useful information including:

Forum Help & Resources section

Getting Started on the Forums

Forum Guidelines and Tips

Forum Success Guide

Fig 06-Forum Resources

Getting a Better Answer, Faster

When a problem stops your work, all you’ll want to do is get into the forums, grab an answer, and get back to work. You may be frustrated, or even quite angry at the software. But take a moment to remember where you’ll be posting. Adobe Forums is like a big room full of working professionals, and you want them to help you. If you’re a little stressed out, take a deep breath; you want to appear as a professional colleague who deserves the best assistance available.

You’re more likely to get a great answer when your question:

  • Is posted in the correct forum
  • Has a specific, descriptive title
  • Includes details such as system specifications, product and operating system versions, and the exact wording of error messages you saw
  • Mentions any troubleshooting or tests you’ve already tried
  • Includes a screen shot or video showing the problem or question

Now let’s look at a couple of examples.

Fig 07-good post

The post pictured above is good, and will probably get an answer relatively quickly. The problem is presented so that it’s easily understood, with enough detail to narrow down the scope, and a few forum members may have an accurate answer to the question right away.

Here’s an example of a less effective post:

Fig 08-bad example of post

The post pictured above is not so good because:

  • The title will look vague in the list of posted questions, because it doesn’t mention the actual problem. A descriptive, more specific title helps attract the members who can help you.
  • The post itself lacks details, and it doesn’t even say which product has the problem.
  • It includes personal information. Don’t put your email address, telephone number, or product serial number in a public post, because it can fall into the hands of spammers and identity thieves.
  • There’s strongly negative emotional language. It’s as if this person barged into a room of professionals and started ranting. When that happens, people aren’t so motivated to help.

It’s OK if you’re unhappy with how the software works or have strong feelings against a product or even Adobe itself. But keeping posts polite encourages more forum members to help you find a solution. Most forum members are volunteers, not Adobe employees, answering questions on their own time. For more direct help from Adobe, try contacting Adobe Support or the @AdobeCare account on Twitter.

When you want Adobe to change or improve their software, two routes are more direct than the forums. Adobe provides a Feature Request/Bug Report Form that you can fill out. Some products, such as Photoshop and Lightroom, maintain a feedback page that’s more interactive: Everyone can see your problem report or feature request, discuss it, and add votes for it — a public process that helps the Adobe product teams set their priorities.

When You’re Ready to Post in the Forums

To ask a question when you’re on a forum home page, click Actions to reveal the Create Discussion link. When you’re on a Content page, a Start Discussion link should be visible in the left sidebar. If you don’t see those links you probably need to sign in first.

Fig 09-Create Discussion

Who Do You Believe?

The quality of forum answers can vary. Sometimes it’s not clear whose advice you should follow, especially when you get conflicting opinions. On the Adobe Forums, badges under profile pictures help identify members whose posts are likely to be more informative.

Fig 10-Badges

An ACP (Adobe Community Professional, I’m one of those) or MVP (Most Valuable Participant) badge indicates a volunteer who makes significant contributions, not just in terms of points but also in a way that the community feels is consistently helpful.

A Staff badge indicates an Adobe employee. What they say can be considered official, and that also means anyone without a Staff badge is not speaking for Adobe.

Sometimes you may disagree with advice that recommends a different workflow when it isn’t the way you’ve always done it. Keep an open mind; software has to adapt to support the latest technologies and workflows. While new ways may initially be slower due to unfamiliarity, they’re often more efficient in the long run.

Giving Back and Paying it Forward

It’s easy to help make the community a more reliable resource for everyone. When you get a good answer, mark that post as a Correct Answer; this helps the next person who has the same question. If posts by other members contribute to the answer, mark their posts as Helpful, or Like them. These actions reward those members with points that elevate their standing in Adobe Communities. Over time, high quality contributors may be nominated for ACP/MVP status, helping members recognize posts by those who consistently provide good information.

Fig 11-Post feedback btns

Click Helpful to mark a post that contributes to a solution, or Like to agree with or support a post.

When you get a correct answer or great advice, it’s nice to post a reply saying that it helped, or solved the problem. Forum members like to know if their advice turned out to be correct, because that helps them to improve their answers. In contrast, it can feel somewhat inconclusive when someone gets a lot of replies to their question but they aren’t heard from again.

Continuing Your Education

At the top of the Adobe Forums home page are four big buttons. While you might skip right past them to the forums if you’re trying to solve an immediate technical problem, when you aren’t in a hurry it’s worth taking a closer look at them:

  • Meet the Experts. This document explains Adobe Forums badges and levels.
  • Learn Our Products. This leads to the Community Showcase of tutorial videos recorded by Adobe Forums members.
  • Stop by The Lounge. The Lounge is a Forums area where you can talk to other members about topics not directly related to software, such as typography, design, or career development.
  • Watch live Adobe streams on Twitch, a site dedicated to sharing live software demonstrations.

Fig 12-Forum Home page top buttons

Seeing Your ID

To edit your Forums profile, sign in, click your avatar icon at the top of the page, and then click Edit Communities Profile. One thing that confuses members is that you can’t edit your forum screen name or password in your Communities profile, only in your Adobe ID settings. To do that, go to accounts.adobe.com, sign in, click Profile, and edit the “Name for Adobe Community forums” option.

The Way to the Forum

The Adobe Forums are a rich and vast resource that’s always available in your web browser. You’ll get the most out of the Adobe Forums by asking clear and descriptive questions in the right forums, and encouraging the members who give the best advice.

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Posted on: July 18, 2016

Conrad Chavez

Conrad Chavez writes about digital photography and Adobe Creative Cloud workflows. He is the author or co-author of many books including Adobe Photoshop CC Classroom in a Book (2017 release), and is also a photographer. You can find out more about Conrad at his website, conradchavez.com.

1 Comment on Getting the Most Out of the Adobe User Forums

  1. Great article, Conrad! If only people posted like you suggested!

    Chuck – ACP

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