No more access to earlier AE versions - what are my options?

Hello authors, I had a question about saving backward for After Effects project files.

For the longest time I kept copies of all versions of After Effects back to CS6 on my PC. This was so I could step a project file backward using the “Save As” method, version by version.

I recently had to start again on a new machine. But sadly, as of last year Adobe no longer gives users the option to download any previous versions beyond the last major release (in this case CC 2019 or v16). Luckily, I still have a couple of previous versions still so I’m able to save backward to CC 2017 (v14), which is a start.

I know there are some solutions out there that enable you to export projects in version-ambiguous formats that can be opened in earlier versions (like OpenSesame)… but from what I understand those only work if you have the earlier versions to open those projects with.

If I do not have access to CS6 or anything earlier than CC2017, am I just plum out of luck? Or are there other solutions available?



Google for the offline installers of those old versions. That is all you need. Your license still works.

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Thanks for the tip. I’m going to assume that while this approach is not officially sanctioned by Adobe (based on the fact that the offline installers are available via 3rd parties and not via Adobe), it is pretty much the only option given the situation?

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Yes. Adobe apparently messed up badly with some licensing issues (I think it was due to some audio decoder not being licensed correctly) so they cannot give you the old installers. At the same time, they sold you the subscription under the false promise that your license will work forever, so they cannot take that away from you either.

So, try to get the installers from some not-sooo-shady 3rd party website :wink:


Ah yes, the Dolby situation, if I recall. Makes sense. Thanks for the advice, I will give it a shot! Looks like my solution will be a combination of CS6 standalone and OpenSesame.

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I had a live chat with support. Needed CC2018 version. After a short conversation they sent me direct link, and it still works.
So I think you just need to ask them for a links to all older version.

UPD: IMHO, advice to download software from 3rd party website - is very very very bad idea.

For what it’s worth, I reached out to Adobe via their chat support after reading your comment. After a lengthy back and forth trying to communicate the situation, they told me it was simply not possible to grant access to a standalone version of After Effects as far back as CS6.

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:astonished: Oh. Somebody should break Adobe monopoly. Because CC starts to be really uncomfortable service.

Of course everyone’s on their own in the deep deep corners and hidden dangers of the internet that lies beyond

You are lucky, I requested CC 14 or below to convert some of the old JPEG 2000 movies, Adobe asked me to do what @Creattive said, Download from Web and use it

@Creattive I don’t see any sense to pay for the service that can’t be delivered officially. If there is no way to get old version from Adobe, and that is what you need, then what is the reason to pay them? If what you say about audio decoders is true, then it will be illegal software. And no matter you paid Adobe or not.

@StrokeVorkz Wow! It should be a big scandal! Just imagine that after subscribing to Elements, Envato say that you should go and download items from 3rd party website! It’s nonsense!

To be fair, there are less-nefarious ways to gain access to older versions of Adobe software. If you are able to find a copy their officially released demo versions (I believe CS6 has one), your old licenses (and in some cases: your creative cloud license) should still work with those.