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Elements 3: Q & A | Elements 4 Q & A |  Elements 4 Upgrade Guide |  Elements 5 Q & A

Adobe Photoshop Elements 5.0: Upgrade Guide

What's new? What's changed? Should I upgrade? Read this to help you make that decision.

This is a work in progress, and will be completed as I get time. For now, here is an overview of the new features. Right now this page is a rehash of the "What's New" list on the Elements 5 Question and Answers page. It will be updated as time allows with illustrations and more information.

Convert to Black and White: Choose a basic setting: portraits, landscapes, infrared and more, and tweak the results.

black and white


Adjust Color Curves: At long last, curves for Elements users!

color curves


More advanced Layer style controls (no, you still can't save them, but there are more options for editing once they are applied!)

pse5 layer styles controls


You can now save photo layouts as psd files for printing later!

New Palettes! The Artwork and Effects Palette now includes backgrounds, shapes, themes, and even graphics you can use on your own creations, as well as layer styles, filters, and effects. You can save your favorite effects in a favorites palette too for wasy access.


Create and customize themed layouts, and change your mind---with one click!



Make slideshows with transitions pan, and zoom.

Photo Gallery feature has been expanded and improved. You can now make animated Flash galleries as well as the web galleries from previous versions.



Make animated flipbooks!

Map the location your photos were taken with the new mapping feature in the Organizer.



In Elements 4, the cancel and accept buttons were moved to the bottom of the crop area when using the crop tool. In Elements 5, they are there for other editing operations as well, such as rotating or resizing text with the bounding box after it has been created and commited, editing custom shapes, and adding and editing cookie cutters.



The default size for new images is now 6" X 4".

Enhanced support for RAW files

View photos on your TV: Take advantage of compatibility with Intel® Viiv™ technology to show photos and slide shows on your TV (requires a Media Center PC).

Share photos on mobile phones and handheld devices: Easily download and edit photos from your mobile phone, and then send them to friends.

There's a new rotate handle when the Move tool is active. You could still hover by the corner handle to get the roate cursor—that featre is still there—but this works much easier!

rotate handlerotate handle

Layer > Arrange is still on the menu so you can change the stacking order of layers (which does the same thing as rearranging layers by dragging and dropping them in the layers palette) but now, Arrange, Align, or Distribute Layers buttons have been added to the Move Tool options bar. When the Move Tool is active you can use the buttons to arrange, align, or distribute layers.


The heart shape layer is above the flower, hiding it. Choosing Send to Back in the Align menu while the heart shape is active will send that layer behind the flower. Although this has the same effect as dragging and dropping layers in the layers palette, you may find this faster.

With two or more layers selected you will also be able to align or distribute them, something that previously required an add on to do. arrange


Save multiple page files for albums, photo books, or photo layouts in one file. Photo Creations Format (PSE) is the standard Photoshop Elements format for multiple page creations. You should generally use this format for photo creations to save your work and preserve all your image data and layers in a multiple page file. Elements supports up to 30 pages in a single file.

Right click with the eyedropper tool and choose Copy Color as HTML to choose a coordinating color when making a web page. In your web program, Edit > Paste or cmd/ctrl + V to paste the color into your code: color="#ffafaf"



Installing Layer Styles in PSE 5

If you copied layer styles to the same folder you copied them to in Elements you may have been disappointed to see they did not show up in the Layer Styles libraries in the Arts and Effects palette. That's because Adobe has moved where they have to be placed.

To install layer styles now, close Elements. Go to the C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\Adobe\Photoshop Elements\5.0\Photo Creations\Special Effects\Layer Styles directory. You can't just put the .asl file into the folder, either, or they will appear in the Bevel library. Make a new folder for them and drop them in the new folder. Now open Elements and the cache will rebuild, and your new styles will be available for use.


Constrain is the Default

When you invoke the Move tool, you used to need to hold the shift key to constrain proportions when enlarging or reducing the size of a shape or selection. Now constrained proportions is the default. When you invoke the Move tool and click the selection or shape and start to transform, the options bar will change, and you will have the same options as the transform tool. Constrain proportions is on by default. If you don't want to constrain proportions you will have to untick the box.

move tool options


Classes for Elements 5

A new class for Elements 5 starts on November 5, and is enrolling now at Eclectic Academy.

For more information about the class along with a the syllabus of each course, check this page.

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