Be Careful Moving Files in Elements

My Photoshop Elements Catalog has gone through multiple back-up/Restore, conversion, and rename changes over the past twelve years. Additionally, its physical location and that of the photos themselves have also changed.

My hard drives that contain the photos and videos are not that well organized. That does not really matter to PSE, it has no problem quickly sorting through the rubble to find me the picture I want.

But I do want to get my drives somewhat organized. It’s one of my goals for the new year. The primary tool I use is the Move command in the Organizer. I also make use of the Folder Location view to do this task. I do not use the drag and drop method in this view for a couple of reasons. First, I am not good at the technique, often dropping the files into the wrong folder. Secondly, I have heard there is/was a bug in some versions of PSE that under certain conditions, duplicate files can be deleted without warning if they are in the destination folder when you you use the drag and drop method.

So I have relied on the Move command, and almost and stay away from the situation where I move an image from one folder to another that has an image with the same file name.

Recent Problem

As part of my efforts to clean up my disk drives I did move several videos from one folder to anther. Apparently, there was a copy of those files  Or files with the same name) already in the destination folder. No files were deleted, but it appears a “-1” was added to the file name of the file that was originally in the folder. But the shot date of the file (the date you see in the Organizer) was changed, by a few days, (not to the move date) however. Because it was a surprise, I did not document the details. I tried to duplicate what I had done in a test Catalog, but I could not.

So as I write this, my understanding of the problem is incomplete at best. That be as it may, I wanted to fill you in on my experience and what I do know. I plan to look into this more fully and I’m sure there are a lot of forum threads where similar problems have been discussed.

I will continue to use the Move command. It has served me well for many years. But I will make darn sure the destination folder does not contain files with the same name.

By the way, I have purposely used “same file name” and not duplicate here. One reason I did is that my 7D camera filenames are over 8000 now. At 10,000 it will restart the counter.

I always welcome your comments to  these posts. But this time I really hope one of you reading this can help share your knowledge on this problem. Or if you have seen something similar happening to you, please share your experiences.

If you like this post and want to see others, please click on the Like and/or give it a high number of stars.

Thanks for dropping by.

Check Out My New Photoshop Elements: The Organizer eBook

As many of you know, I have been using Photoshop Elements from its beginning, which must be over ten years now. I began using its Organizer when it was first introduced in PSE 3. To manage my images before that, I used  Adobe’s Photoshop Album, which became the Organizer with PSE 3’s introduction.

Over the years my photo and video collection has grown to over 33,000 items. PSE’s Organizer is not perfect (no software program is), but it has served me well for a long time. Although there have been many excellent Photoshop Elements books over the past ten years, almost all of them devote most of their coverage to its editing capabilities. Michael Slater wrote what I feel to be the definitive book covering the Organizer (Organize Your Photos With Adobe Photoshop Elements 3), but it was written when PSE 3 was first introduced.

I decided last summer to write an eBook strictly devoted to the Organizer. I have been using and teaching it for the past ten years. Don’t get me wrong, my intent was not to replace Slater’s book. I do not cover every detail and feature within the program. Instead, I have tried to focus on those things that I have used over and over throughout the years, and which I feel are the most important.

That being said, my eBook ended up taking longer to complete and grew in size more than I had envisioned. It ended up containing eight chapters, consisting of over 160 pages and 200 illustrations. Please click on the following link to find out more about my eBook and how you can purchase it.

Photoshop Elements: The Organizer

PV NET’s Announcement of My Upcoming Class

I just got this email announcement from PV NET regarding the class I will be teaching there beginning January 12th. They send out announcements like this periodically to several thousand residents in the Palos Verdes area. By the way, their computer classroom can only accommodate sixteen students, so if you are thinking about taking the class, I would not wait too long to register.

Happy Holidays!

Start off the New Year with a BRAND NEW class from Don Stouder!

   December 20, 2011
Start off the New Year with a BRAND NEW class from Don Stouder!

Exploring Photoshop Elements 9/10 on Your Laptop (January 12th, 2012 – February 9th, 2012)

Have you recently purchased PSE 10, and want to learn more about the program’s new features? Would you like to work with your own pictures as you learn the program? Are you using Photoshop Elements on an Apple laptop? If one or more of the above apply to you, this brand new course from Don Stouder just may be the course you have been waiting for. As the title implies, it will be taught using Photoshop Elements 10 installed on a laptop. The class will cover both using the Organizer and the Editor in PSE.

For more information

Click here to register!


310•544•5395 or

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Use the Magnetic Lasso with Caps-Lock On

I still find the Magnetic Lasso in Photoshop Elements to be my selection tool of choice at times. There are times when the newer semi-automatic selection tools don’t work as well for me. Recently I learned that if I used it with Caps-Lock turned on, the cursor becomes a circular brush with a + sign in the center. Zoom in sufficiently to see this symbol, and it is much easier to trace along the edges of your selection. Try it. It really does improve your tracing accuracy. This also works in Photoshop.

Preview of a New Course at PV NET

I am teaching a new course in January at PV NET called “Exploring Photoshop Elements 9/10 on Your Laptop”. The class starts on January 12th. CLICK HERE to register for the class. This short video should give you a better idea how the class will work and the general topics we will be covering.

Control Plus and Minus in the Photoshop Elements Organizer

I have used the keyboard shortcuts, “Ctrl++” and “Ctrl+-“ routinely to zoom in and out on an image incrementally when I am in the Photoshop Elements Editor. In fact these are two of the first keyboard shortcuts I teach my students. I just learned today that the Ctrl++ and Ctrl+- do the same thing in the Organizer. Remember, the interpretation of the Ctrl++ , is press the Ctrl key “and” hold it down (that’s the first + sign), then press + (the second + sign).

I don’t feel so bad that I never knew this before. Using the slider in the Organizer and the two square icons at its ends makes zooming in and out on the thumbnails quite easy.

Pressing Ctrl++ repeatedly incrementally makes the thumbnails larger until you get to that point where single photo fills the available area in the thumbnail view. Going the other way, repeatedly pressing Ctrl+- makes the thumbnails smaller until they get to the minimum size the Organizer allows.

As near as I can figure out Ctrl+0 and Ctrl+Alt+0 do nothing in the Organizer.

I would like to say I discovered this on my own, but I can’t. I saw it while internet surfing today.

Sharing Photos on an External Drive Between Computers in PSE

Well it’s been awhile again since I posted anything here. However, I did post a detailed comment to an earlier post with some thoughts related to this entry’s subject. My comments are at November 27, 2008 at 8-38 pm. You may want to read the blog post there to put it into perspective. Here is the link to that post – Permanent Link to Moving Photoshop Elements Images and Catalog to an External Drive.

Happy Holidays,

Don S.

PDF Slide Shows From Photoshop Elements

I just realized that it has been some time since I have posted anything. I get involved with so many projects time flies by. Recently, I have been rediscovering PDF slide shows that can be produced from the Slide Show Editor in Photoshop Elements. I use the Slide Show Editor a lot, but generally use it as the first step for making a DVD for TV viewing.

Normally I do not output the PSE slide show to a PDF file. Reading their basic restrictions stated in the Slide Show Editor’s Output Command basically turned me off. They do not support video files, pan and zoom, and some transitions. It finally registered that there was no mention of music not being supported. I often include background music in my slide shows and generally don’t associate a PDF file with music. Well, apparently the PDF file has gained a lot of additional versatility over the years. 

I have been experimenting with various formats and picture sharing sites to display some photos from a camping trip last summer. I decided to give the PDF file slide show a try. After the completing the slide show, click on the OUTPUT button as shown in the figure below. Then select PDF in the dialog box.


The image size in the PDF file can range from 640×480 up to 1600×1200 pixels. I have tried 800x 600 and 640×480. The 800×600 size looks good on a monitor set for 1024×768 when displayed full screen. The 640×480 is somewhat soft. My particular show included about 40 images with background music and runs for four and one-half minutes. The 800×600 pixel version had a file size of 15.3 Mb, while the smaller one required 12.4 Mb. You probably want to keep the file size down to less than 10 Mb if you are planning on emailing your slide show, and that is assuming they have a high speed Internet connection and are interested in seeing your presentation.

To me the big advantage of saving and distributing slide shows in PDF format is that almost everyone has the capability to view your show, even if they are using a Mac. Also, if you post the file you can easily move it from one host to another. Right-Click here to download and view the 800×600 version of my PDF slide show. Or you can left-click on the the link to view it online. Doing it this way, the first image will display and the music will begin to play. But you will have to click your mouse button to advance the images.

All recent versions of Photoshop Elements support saving slide shows in PDF format. You may need to update your free Adobe Reader (formally Acrobat Reader) to hear the music etc. I will be using this output more and more in the future. Give it a try. I think you will like it also.

Until next time – hopefully not long.


I learned Something New About PSE 6

I think I learned something new about how the Organizer in Photoshop Elements works in various versions, regarding its handling of Version Sets. Right now at the Griffith Center in Torrance, we are still using PSE 4. At the South Bay Adult School PSE 6 is used. At SBAS we were going over editing a photo without including it in a Version Set. As I was about to explain, how edited copies of photos retained whatever Tags were assigned to the original, I suddenly noticed that our edited copy had no tags assigned to it. That took me totally by surprise.

I have been using Version Sets almost exclusively since they were introduced in PSE 3 and only occasionally do not use them. However, I was sure that whenever I did chose not to put the edited copy in a Version Set, it still inherited the Tags that the original was assigned.

Later, I checked my recollection. Sure enough PSE 5 and earlier versions retain the Tags of the original even if they are not part of a Version Set. However, in PSE 6 if you do not save the edited copy in a Version Set, there are no Tags assigned to it. To the best of my knowledge, there are no Preferences that control this behavior and I have not seen it mentioned in the Help file or other documentation. Have any of you seen this?

For those of you new to PSE and its use of Version Sets, the diagram below shows where you select the option when you are saving the edited copy. The option is on the bottom line of this figure. When the Version Set option is selected the images are stacked on top of each other in the Photo Browser with the edited copy on top. And the filename of the edited copy is automatically generated by PSE.


Increasing Mid Tone Contrast Safely

Here is something you may find useful. We know that using the Levels command you can increase the contrast of an image by dragging the two outer sliders inward. However, you can only drag them to where the histogram just lifts off of the bottom horizontal line. If you drag them any further, you will be clipping the data. This means that depending upon which slider is moved too far inward, you are blocking up the shadows and losing detail there, or blowing out the highlights. What we really want to do is increase the contrast of the mid tones.

There are many ways to do this. In PSE 5/6, you can use the Color Curves command (Enhance > Adjust Color > Adjust Color Curves). If you are using an older version of PSE or just don’t want to use the Color Curves, try this.

Click on Enhance > Adjust Lighting > Shadows/Highlights. Assuming that you do not want to lighten the shadows of your image, Move the Lighten Shadows slider all the way to the left. Now you can adjust the contrast of the image by using the bottom slider, Mid Tone Contrast without fear of blowing out the highlights or losing shadow detail in your image.

Until next time….


Question For The Day: Are you using Version Sets when saving your edited pictures? Let me know by using the Comments button below. I would to hear from you.