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Photoshop is seen by the overwhelming majority as the de facto pinnacle of image editing and manipulation. Whilst revered for its vast tool set, seemingly unlimited plugins and general, all-round power, it is out of the price range of many average users looking to learn / dabble in a little Photoshopping. Each year, Adobe beefs up its umbrella of Creative Suite products (encompassing Photoshop), with prices remaining higher than most other paid software out there, but in something of a turn up for the books, Photoshop is now free.

Before you smash open your "saving for Photoshop" piggy bank to splash on expensive champagne in joyous celebration, it’s important to note that we’re not talking about the latest version, rather the ten year old Photoshop (and Creative Suite) CS2. It would appear Adobe has grown tired of maintaining a bunch of activation servers to keep users on the right side of legal, and has simply caved, instead releasing it free of charge.

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Presumably, this means it’ll always be free, and while CS2 is missing quite a few features compared with the latest release, it’s certainly a nice late Christmas / New Years’ present for those who love nothing more than sitting at a computer and slipping into creative mode. Hopefully, this sets a precedent, meaning CS3 will soon become free as Adobe weighs up the costs of keeping activation servers running in relation to how many people would legitimately buy a decade-old software.

Despite its longevity, CS2 is certainly not bad, and in my opinion, this is a very smart move from Adobe. Omitting those who’ll grab their software from unfair mediums, quite a few would-be Photoshop users will have settled for cheaper or free alternatives, notably the GIMP, but by giving everybody a taste of Photoshop through CS2, I wouldn’t be surprised if some users bit the bullet and ended up paying for a newer version.

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The only real downside – aside from the prerequisite of an Adobe account – is the fact that the Mac version was designed for PowerPC devices, hence you will need OS X 10.2.8–10.3.8, or Rosetta, in order to get things up and running. To take advantage of this offer, please follow our guide below.

Step 1: Visit this link.

Step 2: Sign up to create a new Adobe ID, or log in if you already have one.

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Note: If you’re signing up as a new user, fill in the required fields after which you’ll be sent a verification email. After the email has been verified you’ll be taken to the downloads page.

Step 3: On the downloads page, scroll all the way down the section where it says ‘Photoshop CS2’. Refer to the screenshot below for guidance:

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Step 4: Download the version of Photoshop CS2 tailored for your operating system.

Step 5: Copy and save the serial number right next to the download and use it to activate Photoshop CS2.

That’s it, enjoy your free copy of Photoshop CS2!

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