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How Adobe Makes Document Collaboration Easy 2021

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Key Takeaways

Photoshop, Illustrator, and Fresco users can now collaborate in the cloud.Users cannot work on the same document simultaneously.The tool works on desktop, iPad, and iPhone.

Adobe has added cloud collaboration to Photoshop, Illustrator, and Fresco. It's no Google Docs, but it sure beats the usual back-and-forth via email.

If you're using Photoshop, Illustrator, or Fresco on desktop or mobile, you can quickly share your current document by tapping a button and adding the email of your collaborator. You both have access to the same file, and you both can edit it. Unlike Google Docs, however, you can't work on it at the same time, but it's still a lot better than the alternatives. 

"I send documents to clients with WeTransfer Pro," a professional graphic designer who prefers to remain anonymous told Ach5 via direct message. "A lot of my work is based on the fact that clients think they can't use Photoshop."

Stop, Collaborate, And Listen

Sharing is done via Adobe's Creative Cloud, its online storage and syncing service. To share your document, you just open the sharing panel and enter an email address. Because your document already is stored in the cloud (if it isn't, you have to store it there to share), sharing is instant. Your collaborators can view and edit these files in their own copies of Photoshop, etc., and these are synced back to your copy.

As mentioned previously, multiple people can't work on a document at the same time, the way that multiple authors can simultaneously collaborate on a Google doc.

Even if you don't collaborate on a document, though, there are other uses for this feature. For instance, instead of emailing comps and proofs back and forth with a client or your boss, you could share the original. The advantage is you can make changes on your end, and they can view them. You won't have multiple copies of the same documents, and the process goes a lot quicker.

Another great use is for teams. If your team is working on a project, you can now share assets. And because there's only one version of a file or document, you can be sure you're always working on the right one. And if things do go wrong, Creative Cloud saves versions, so you can revert to earlier edits, still without keeping duplicates.

"Having the collaboration tool built into the [software] makes life better, and also—since we are talking about Photoshop and Illustrator, which the majority of the creative teams use—it's icing on the cake," Rohit Pulijalla of DevPixel design boutique told Ach5 via email.

Cloud Trust

The downside of any sync or collaboration service is that it exists in the cloud. In practice, it's more likely you'll accidentally delete your own files, than a company dedicated to cloud services will lose your data. But cloud storage is also completely out of your control. Some designers can't use cloud storage for privacy reasons—perhaps their clients won't allow it. And for others, the size of the files involved make it impractical.

"I have lots of Photoshop files that are hundreds of Megabytes in size," graphic designer Graham Bower told Ach5 via email. "Some are gigabytes. I wouldn't trust any cloud storage with them, and certainly not Adobe's."

Photoshop Presets

Photoshop users enjoy an extra bonus from this new update. They can now sync their presets between devices. This is more useful if they use multiple desktop computers because Photoshop for iPad is still, putting it generously, a work in progress.

But that's really just a side benefit compared to sync. It's a simple addition, but if you ever have to share a file with another person, it could be a huge timesaver, and prevent lost work. But first, Adobe might have to win over the skeptics.

"I've never seen a good sync solution," says Bower. "I would never rely on one for paying work."