adobe_logoAdobe develops some of the best software tools for web design and image editing but the licenses for these tools are often too expensive to afford for a majority of freelance designers or even small businesses who have a limited budget for software.

If you have wanting to use Adobe tools but were unable to justify the high up-front cost of software licenses, here’s something for you – you can now rent Adobe software and pay a fixed monthly fee. When your project is complete, simply cancel the subscription.

To give you an example, a single-user license for Adobe Photoshop costs around $700 but if you only plan to use it for a month or two, you can rent Photoshop from Adobe.com by paying $49 per month. The following chart compares the regular and pay-as-you-go costs of various Adobe software titles that are available through subscription.

Regular Price Monthly Subscription Yearly Subscription*
photoshop   Adobe Photoshop $699 $49 $420
dreamweaver   Adobe Dreamweaver $399 $29 $228
illustrator   Adobe Illustrator $599 $45 $348
indesign   Adobe Indesign $699 $49 $420
flash   Adobe Flash $699 $49 $420
premiere pro   Adobe Premiere $799 $59 $468
after effects   Adobe After Effects $999 $75 $588

[*] Yearly subscriptions cost anywhere between 58-60% the regular price.

All Adobe software are available for a 30-day trial download but the software license agreement prohibits you from using trial software for any commercial purpose. You can’t create a website mockup in Photoshop for your client using a trial version. That’s where a subscription may come handy.

Software subscriptions are also a good option for users who have an older version that meets all their requirements. For instance, you could be running Photoshop CS but your next project requires you to use to Photoshop CS5 Extended since it has support for 3D. Instead of buying a new license, you could simply rent Photoshop CS5 for the duration of the project.

Some of the other Adobe products – Adobe Captivate, Lightroom and Adobe Audition for example, are not available through subscription though.

The following video will walk you through the process of buying subscription based software from Adobe.com. You can check the subscriptions page on Adobe for more details.

Also, software subscriptions are only available through Adobe.com and it is therefore obvious that they’ll be available only in countries where Adobe has an online store. Use the store selector to see if Adobe has a store in your country – they definitely don’t have one India yet.

Earlier, Microsoft also offered the Office Suite in India under a similar prepaid scheme though I doubt if that option is available any longer.