Depends on what you mean by compatible.
Can you place an ID document into Illustrator CS 4 no but you can't place any ID document into Illustrator regardless of what version.
Can you place and Illustrator CS 4 document into ID CS 2 of course.
Can you place a CS 4 AI file in PS CS 2 yes Can you place or open a PS CS2 file in AI of course can layers be converted to AI objects yes.
As a smart object I believe so but that I am not certain I have yet to try it myself.
But the good thing is that you can try the trial version which last for 30 days and is fully functional.
and find out all the answers you want yourself.
It can be installed along side of a previous version of the software as long as the previous version is already installed.
Currently, in the dept. that has made the request, no one has any version of Illustrator
installed (nor do we in IT), so we can't do any testing.
The dept. receives Illustrator docs from outside vendors, and apparently they have
earlier versions of the product, hence the question.
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First, please consider that Version CS5 is due by this April.
I do not recommend installing CS4 Trial version. It's known to cause problems. The installer is one the first problem you should encounter (http://blogs.adobe.com/jnack/2008/11/installer_rant.html) confirmed by John Nack - Principal Product Manager, Adobe Photoshop.
You will have some issues with fonts. Adobe is trying to control the font's revenue lost of people not paying for fonts, therefore CS4 version have serious restrictions. It is also known that Illustrator CS4 can crash if the software considers that one of your fonts is "corrupted" This may or may not affect your fonts in your computer.
Color system in CS4 does not perform as well as CS2 versions. This also can cause color shifting (even using Pantone Colors).
I think you best option is to wait for CS5 to come out, download the Trail Version and try it.
I hope this helps!
Yu can download the trial version from the Adobe site free and try that out it is a fully functioning version no restrictions it just only lasts for 30 days.
All the files you make wwith it however wil ciontinue to work with other applications.
Skullmaker has no experience with CS 4 at all.
He also interferes were he clearly should not.
As for when CS 5 is due out I do not know but that you might research.
One thing I am certain of as soon as the next version of Illustrator comes out Hans (skullmaker) will be not be upgrading and will without trying it demand that Adobe fix the bugs in CS 5 and will list them none of the items in the list will actually be a real issue.
If I were you I would try the trial version you have 30 days to evaluate it and you can decide for yourself.
Hans also did not ready your last post very well and since you do not have any version of Illustrator and so when you uninstall the trial version all will be well as long as you actually uninstall the application before installing the retail application.
Some people simply tried to install the retail value or the trial version and that causes problems since the trial version expires, when you do that it messes up your license.
When one does not act rationally yes there will be problems. So install the trial version evaluate it then use the uninstaller even if you decide not to purchase and you will be fine.
People that can recognized a building on fire from far away, normally live longer. Other people, prefer to be inside of the burning building to know it is on fire. Darwin was right!
Who Am I to contradict John Nack - Principal Product Manager, Adobe Photoshop, and the thousand of users saying that installers are bad. Wade, I think you know more than John Nack - Principal Product Manager, Adobe Photoshop! WOW!
So you think all these people are wrong:
No help from Adobe: http://forums.adobe.com/message/2518421#2518421
Well, there are lot more. But I think you can tell to all that people and a Principal Product Manager that they are wrong.
If I waste my money in Adobe's CS5 with bugs that Adobe will refuse to fix, it's not Jim's concern. It is only yours!
I am just telling Jim to be careful and to TRY CS5 version (because I want to help him)
And stop being infatuate of what I am going to do next. People here, don't care about your whining about what I do or don't do. This is Illustrator Forum, not Hans' Forum.
But thank you for your attention and care for what I do in life!