How to Deactivate InDesign

Written by elizabeth mott
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Adobe Systems uses an authorisation procedure called "activation" to ensure that users who install Adobe products have valid licenses for the software. The standard single-user Adobe InDesign CS5 license gives you the right to install the product on two computers but allows you to use it on only one at a time. If you change your mind about which of your systems you want to be the primary or the secondary Adobe InDesign computer, you must deactivate the application on one of the computers to install it on another system. Likewise, if you buy a new computer, it is important to deactivate Adobe InDesign CS5 -- and all of your Adobe software products -- from your old computer before you sell it.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy


  1. 1

    Reinstall Adobe InDesign if you uninstalled it but didn't deactivate it first. Uninstalling and deactivating are entirely separate processes, so simply removing the software from your computer does not remove the authorisation.

  2. 2

    Launch Adobe InDesign. When the software finishes loading, click "Deactivate" from the "Help" menu.

  3. 3

    Click "Deactivate Permanently" when the "Deactivate" dialogue box comes up on your screen. Click "OK" to complete the deactivation process.

Tips and warnings

  • Adobe Systems' deactivation procedure, like its activation routine, requires an online connection.
  • Deactivation will fail if you never activated the software.
  • If you skipped Adobe InDesign CS4 and upgraded from CS3, you may have expected that uninstalling Adobe InDesign would deactivate it as well, since Adobe InDesign CS3 would have asked if you wanted to transfer your activation to another system during the un-installation process. The procedure changed in Adobe InDesign CS4 and all Creative Suite products of that generation.
  • You cannot deactivate Adobe InDesign if your employer installed the software through a volume license. These licenses don't use traditional activation counts, so the "Deactivate" option is greyed out in your software.
  • The Adobe activation and deactivation procedures connect to a special secure sub-domain on the Adobe website. If your computer firewall blocks port 443, your deactivation will fail. Consult your IT administrator or system documentation to ensure that you have access to this port for these procedures.
  • If your computer system clock displays the wrong date or time, you may be unable to complete software deactivation procedures.
  • If you reconfigure your computer hardware, you may see an error message when you try to launch Adobe InDesign and you may be required to reactivate your software to keep using it. Verify that you can find your serial number in case you receive an error message that requires you to contact Adobe Systems.

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