Photoshop Elements

You don’t have to Move

If you’ve used the Type tools in Photoshop Elements 11, you’ve probably noticed that as soon as you commit your text (by clicking the green checkmark or pressing Enter/Return), suddenly the Type tool is gone and the Move tool is active instead. If you want to edit your type, you have to go back over to the Tools panel and click it again.

Adobe reasons that most people will want to position their text once they’ve created it, which is why they made this change from older versions where you had the Type tool till you yourself clicked on a different tool. If you don’t like the new behavior, it’s very easy to change it, although it’s not obvious how to do it.

Just go to the Editor preferences->General, and turn off this checkbox:

turn off Select Move tool after commiting text

From now on, the Type tool stays active until you change to another tool.


Adobe Hide and Seek: Setting PSE 10 as External Editor

Lots of people are thinking there’s a problem with the Mac version of Photoshop Elements 10 as an external editor for programs like iPhoto, Aperture, or Lightroom. If you’re having this problem, 99% of the time, you haven’t really set Elements as your external editor at all, even if you thought you did.

In Elements 10 for Mac, the actual Editor application is hidden away in the main Elements 10 folder inside a folder called Support Files. Who would think to look in there for the program itself? But that’s where Adobe hid it, supposedly to make things easier for beginners, or so they say. What you see at the top level of the PSE 10 folder is actually an alias to the Welcome Screen.

So when choosing Elements 10 as an external editor here’s the file you really want:

How to find the actual editor file in Photoshop Elements 10

If Elements is opening but no image appears when you send one over from the other program, that’s almost certainly your problem. Go back and change the chosen External Editor to the file where the arrow’s pointing in the illustration, and you should be all set.

Photoshop Elements 6 and Lion

As everyone knows by now, in Lion (Mac OS X 10.7) you can’t run applications written for the old power pc (PPC) architecture anymore, since there’s no more Rosetta. This isn’t a problem for Photoshop Elements 8 and 9, but if you have PSE 6, there’s a big potential gotcha.

As long as you don’t have PSE 6 set to run in Rosetta (so that you can use older plugins) when you upgrade to Lion, life is fine.  But if you do, the first time you try to open it, you’ll see a snarky message that you can’t run PPC applications anymore. What? Elements 6 is an intel-native program, not a PPC application. It doesn’t matter. If you have set  a a program to open in Rosetta when you first install Lion, it doesn’t forget, and that program is marked for the scrap heap. Uninstall and reinstall? Lion’s too smart for that. You’ll still see the message on a fresh install of PSE.

So what to do? Well, if you know ahead of time, it’s as easy as it can be to avoid the whole problem. Before you upgrade to Lion, go to your Applications folder->Adobe Photoshop Elements 6, click once on the actual application’s icon to select it, and press Command+i for the Get Info window. Then just turn off the Open In Rosetta checkbox:


If you do that before upgrading, you shouldn’t have any trouble. But what if you’ve already upgraded and you can’t get past the error message?

Here are two ways to fix it.

The Easy Way

Go to  < your username > ->Library->Preferences and delete In Lion Apple has hidden your  user Library folder. To get to it, Option-click the Go Menu and you’ll see it appear just below your Home folder:

library menu option

While you’re in that folder, you may as well do a bit of tidying up and delete these files, too, so that you’ll have fresh ones for Lion:


Adobe Photoshop Elements 6 Paths

Adobe Photoshop Elements 6 Settings

Restart the computer  (important!) and Elements should behave itself. If for some reason that fails, here’s an alternative way.

The More Complicated Way

1. Go into the Applications folder and move the entire Adobe Photoshop Elements 6 folder, the one shown here, to the Desktop:

the PSE 6 application folder

Now, you can’t just drag it out of Applications. That only makes an alias, and I’ve found the keystroke combos that should let you do this aren’t very reliable, either. Lion knows that applications belong in the Applications folder and it isn’t willing to let you put them elsewhere.

So what to do? Well, you can still delete an application. So click on the folder, press Command+delete to send it to the trash, and then you can drag it from the trash to your desktop.

2. Go into the folder and double-click the PSE 6 application to launch it.

You’ll see this window:

repair window

It doesn’t matter which button you click. Elements will open, although it may take a minute for all the pieces of the interface to appear. When it’s running create or open a file and do something. You don’t have to save your work. Then quit Elements.

3. Put Elements back into the Applications folder, and launch it there.

Just drop it back in. When you start PSE this time, click Repair Now.

Elements should be fine from now on, but it’s a good idea to go into your username->Library->Preferences and delete the Adobe preferences mentioned above.

Either method should get you up and running, but there’s some risk of damaging Elements by moving it all over the place, as in the second method. So do try the simple way first and save this as a last resort.

Using Bridge with Photoshop Elements 9

A lot of Mac folks are unhappy about Adobe’s decision to include Organizer with Elements 9 in place of Adobe Bridge, which came with previous Mac versions. (The Organizer used to be just for Windows.) If you have an older version of PSE that included Bridge, you can still use it with Elements 9, although there’s one big issue with doing so. More on that in a bit.

One thing that’s going to be different is navigation. Obviously you can’t launch Bridge from  the handy button in the PSE editor’s interface anymore. So just go into your Applications folder, find the Adobe Bridge folder for your version of Bridge, find the Adobe Bridge application itself, and launch it. Then go over to the Dock, and click-hold its icon->Options->Keep in Dock. From now on use the Dock icon to launch Bridge or make it the front application when it’s running.

Choose to keep Bridge in the Dock

If you left your old version of Elements installed when you installed Elements 9, Bridge should work just the same way it always did. As a matter of fact, if you upgraded from PSE 8, Bridge CS4 should automatically choose PSE 9 instead of PSE 8 for all the file formats you had it set to open in Elements.

If for some reason that doesn’t happen, it’s easy to fix: Go to the Bridge preferences:

Location of Bridge preferences menu option

and then choose File Type Associations. Go through and find the various file types you want Bridge to automatically send to Elements, then choose Elements 9 from the pulldown menu to the right of the file name:

choose Elements 9 as the application to open a file type from Bridge
Click for larger image

That’s all there is to it. You can continue to use Bridge just the way you always did.

Now as for the one big issue: The big problem with continuing to use your old copy of Bridge is that you can no longer updater the Bridge version of the raw converter. If you get a new model camera, you won’t see thumbnails for your raw files, only the image names, and you can’t use the Bridge version of the raw converter with those images. But you can still send them to Elements to work on them with the PSE version of the raw converter. (If your PSE 9 raw converter isn’t up to date, just go to Help->Updates and Elements should update it automatically. This is a change from earlier versions of Elements, where you had to install raw converter updates manually.)

If you’d already uninstalled Elements 6 or 8 and you’d still like to use Bridge, just reinstall the older version of Elements and follow the steps above.

If you have Windows and you happen to have Adobe Bridge (maybe you have Illustrator, for example), then you can do more or less the same thing, adjusting for the system differences (no Dock, for instance).

Adobe Patches PSE 9 for Macs

If you have Photoshop Elements 9 for Mac and saw the mysterious Adobe logo in your OS X menubar today, here’s what’s going on: Adobe has issued a patch for Elements 9 for Macs, to fix the problems with using the Organizer’s Import from iPhoto command with the latest version of iPhoto (iLife 11). It’s also supposed to facilitate smoother Organizer imports from iPhoto 09.

Download the update from the link in the menubar, or by launching Elements. If the Adobe Application Manager doesn’t appear automatically, then go to Help>Updates, or you can download it here and install it manually:

If you don’t like having the Adobe notification in your menubar, here’s how to get rid of it. Go ahead and run the update, then click Preferences button at the upper right of the Application Manager screen, and turn off this checkbox:

From now on, you’ll only get nagged about updates when you actually launch Elements.

And once again, if you got the Missing Manual in black and white from amazon, contact them for a real copy, please.

Got the Missing Manual in Black and White?

If you bought Photoshop Elements 9: The Missing Manual from Amazon recently and got a black and white copy, please contact them.Photoshop Elements 9 Missing Manual

Someone messed up and somehow put it into their print-on-demand program instead of shipping the copies from O’Reilly. If you got one of these, get in touch with them and they’ll send you a real copy as a replacement. The book should be in color.

Moving a Catalog from Windows to Mac

Now that Photoshop Elements 9 for Mac includes the Organizer, lots of people are wondering how to get their photos and their catalogs from the Windows version of the Organizer onto their Macs. You can do this, but there are a few caveats. The basic process is pretty simple:

Photoshop Elements 9 Windows Organizer
The Windows Organizer

1. Install Photoshop Elements 9 in Windows. You have to do this because the Mac version can pick up a Windows catalog, but only if it’s a version 9 catalog, so update your catalog to version 9. If Elements 9 doesn’t find your catalog automatically, in the Organizer go to File->Catalog->Open and find it in the list of catalogs. Check for disconnected files and be sure your catalog is in top-notch shape by going to File->Catalog->Repair, and then choose Optimize in the same window.

2. Back up your catalog to a removable drive. It can even be something like a thumb drive, if your photos will fit. It can’t be a network drive, though. Adobe says you can use a backup to disc, as well, but I’ve never been able to make this work, so I don’t recommend it.  To start your backup, in the Organizer go to File->Back up Catalog to CD, DVD, or Hard Drive, and follow the instructions in the window that appears. Once it’s done disconnect the drive from the Windows computer.

3. Install Elements 9 on your Mac, then connect the drive.

4. Launch the Mac Organizer, then go to File->Restore Catalog from Hard Drive. Under Restore From, click the Browse button next to Locate the Backup File, and find your backup. Then under “Restore Files and Catalog to”, choose New Location, click the Browse button to specify where you want to put everything, and turn on the checkbox for Restore Original Folder Structure if you want to keep the same folder organization you had in Windows. Otherwise everything will be dumped into the top level of the destination folder you chose, and the original folder structure and subfolders will be gone. I’d also suggest creating a new folder for the restore, no matter where you decide to put it. Click Restore.

Photoshop Elements 9 Mac Restore

That’s all there is to it, pretty much. Just remember that the Mac Organizer is still pretty much of a version 1.0 product, so you won’t find all the features you had in Windows. No Slide Show Editor, no Watched Folders, no Export command, no Yahoo maps, for example. But having the Organizer for Mac greatly simplifies life if you need to move your photos from Windows to the Mac.

Photoshop Elements 9 Mac Organizer
The Mac Organizer with the restored catalog. Looks just the same as it did in Windows.

If you’re done with Elements 9 in Windows, you can uninstall it. Before you do, don’t forget to go to the Editor->Help->Deactivate so that you don’t waste one of your two permitted installations.

This is the file you want the restore to use.

EDIT If you find that your restore consistently fails, try pointing the restore to the file Backup.tly inside the backup folder, instead of to the folder itself.  You’ll find it down towards the bottom of the list of contents. (Thanks to jazzfisher from the Elements Village forum for figuring this out.)

Introducing Photoshop Elements 9

Today’s the day! Photoshop Elements 9 is here, and there are a lot of major new features, so let’s take a look:

Organizer for Mac. People have been begging for this for a long time, and if you’re a Windows switcher, or if you have a household where people are using both Windows computers and Macs, this is going to be really, really helpful.

Mac Organizer
The Organizer for Mac

However, it was evidently a big project to get the Organizer ported over to OS X, so this time around the Mac version is lacking a lot of the favorite features in the Windows version, like the Slide Show Editor, Watched Folders, and Yahoo Maps, for instance. Still, if you’re moving from Windows to Mac, it’s a big help.

To convert your Windows catalog, install Elements 9 on your Windows computer and upgrade your catalog, then back up to a removable hard drive (even a thumb drive, if it will hold your catalog and photos) and then install Elements on your Mac and restore the catalog there. (If you won’t need Elements 9 on the Windows computer anymore, deactivate it and uninstall it once you’ve got everything transferred over, so you won’t be using one of your two activations needlessly.)

Cross Platform. When you buy Elements 9, you get both platform versions (Windows and Mac) on the same disk, so you can install it on two Macs, two Windows computers or one of each. No need to buy the program again to install it on the other platform.

EDIT: Adobe says that you only get a serial number that works with both versions with the boxed version, not the download. They suggest that if you need PSE right away, order the boxed version, then install both trials and enter the serial number from the disc version into the trials once you get it. Also, the boxed version includes two discs, one for each platform.

Layer Masks. If you’ve used Elements before, you know that this is probably THE most requested feature that Elements has been missing since version 1.

layers panel with mask
The blown out sky is masked out, ready for a replacement

Adobe finally listened, and brought them to Elements 9. If you haven’t used Elements before, you won’t understand yet all that this means, but for now suffice it to say that it’s going to make following tutorials written for full Photoshop a whole lot easier, as well as giving you a lot more options for changing your mind about your edits later on. If you’ve used one of the add-on tools to add masks to an earlier version of Elements, you’ll love how much easier it is when they’re built right into the program.

Tip: Elements doesn’t have the Quick Mask, but you can get pretty much the same effect by painting a mask with the Selection brush in Mask mode.

Fun Edits. This is one of my favorite things in the new mobile mifi 2200 Now Guided Edit walks you through creating an Apple style reflection like you see everywhere in ads these days, a Lomo effect, Out of Bounds (where the subject appears to be leaping or moving out of the photo), and a 60s Warhol-style pop art portrait. These are really fun, even for advanced Elements folks.

Content Aware Fill. This was the biggy in Photoshop CS5, and it comes to Elements too, sort of. In Elements it’s only in the Spot Healing Brush and as an option for filling in the edges of a panorama, but at least it’s here.

Style Matching. Did you ever spend hours creating a special look for one of your photos and then wish you could just copy it over to another image? Elements 9 includes a new style merge, which lets you crib the overall look from one image and copy it to another. The results can be pretty unpredictable, but that’s part of the fun.

Getting Social. Finally–finally!–you can upload photos direct to Facebook from Elements. (That sure took long enough!)

New Creations. The whole Create process (for photobooks, cards, collages, etc.) got a major makeover this time. It’s a tad confusing the first time, but now you can do almost anything you can do in Elements as you create a new project, and there’s a heap of new graphics, backgrounds and so on to help you do it, too.

Move that Photo. If you’ve been driven batty by the Elements 8 Print Window, you’ll be happy to know that Elements 9 lets you put your photo where you want it on the page.

So that’s what’s hot in Elements 9. What’s not? Well, if you hate the dark color scheme, you won’t be much happier with Elements 9. Dark again, and no option to change it, although they did work on improving the contrast over Elements 7 and 8. Some old bugs got fixed (you can finally set the frame rate for an animated gif in the Mac version this time, but you can’t edit an existing animated gif), but there are some new ones to make up for it. Each version of Elements seems to make more demands on your operating system, and Elements 9 is no exception. (EDIT Alas, it appears the frame rate problem is back in the version of PSE 9 for Mac that got shipped out. It was fixed at one point.)

So if you have Elements, should you upgrade? For a lot of people Layer Masks alone will be worth it, aside from the other new features, but I’d always suggest downloading the trial version first and giving that a good hard test drive to see if it’s worth it for you and if it runs well on your computer.