About catalogs

A catalog is a file in which Elements Organizer maintains information about imported media. When you import media, basic info such as file name and location are updated in the file. As you keep working on the file in Elements Organizer, the file is further updated to reflect those changes.

When you move your media files along with the catalog to another computer or another version of Elements Organizer, all that information is retained.

The catalog file contains the following information:

  • The path and name of the media file.

  • The path and filename of any associated audio file.

  • The path, filename, and volume name of the original, full-resolution file (if the original file is stored offline on a CD or DVD).

  • The path and filename of the original, unedited file (if the file has been edited).

  • The name of any camera or scanner associated with the batch of imported media files.

  • Captions you’ve added to a media file.

  • Notes you’ve added to a media file.

  • The media type—that is, whether it’s a photo, video files, audio clip, or project.

  • The date and time the media file was created and whether its date is completely or only partially known.

  • Keyword tags that have been applied to the media file.

  • Albums in which the media file is included.

  • The media file’s history: whether it is printed on a local printer, exported, shared over e‑mail or online, sent to online photo-finishing services. The history also shows whether the media file was received from an online source, and what batch it was imported in (including import date and time).

  • Edits that have been applied to the media file (such as rotation, cropping, and fixing red eye).

  • The pixel dimensions of any photos and video files.

  • Project settings (project type, whether captions are displayed, showing page numbers, and so on).

  • Metadata including pixel dimensions, EXIF, copyright, IPTC information, and file format information.

Create a catalog

When you import media into Photoshop Elements, they are added to a default catalog. If you choose to use this default catalog file for all your media, you do not have to do anything else.

However, there are times when you want to create multiple catalogs. For example, you want to create separate catalogs for photos of your workplace and photos of your family.

  1. Select File > Manage Catalogs.

  2. Do one of the following:

    1. To choose a preset location for the catalog, select Catalogs Accessible By All Users (Windows® only) or Catalogs Accessible By The Current User.


      The Catalog accessible By The Current User option is not available in the Windows Application Store version of Photoshop Elements.

    2. To select a custom location, choose Custom Location, and click Browse. Browse to the location on your computer for the catalog file.

  3. Click New.

  4. Type a name for the catalog in the Enter A Name For The New Catalog dialog box.

  5. Click OK.

Locating the catalog file

  • Click Help > System Info.

    The location of the catalog file currently open on your computer is listed under Current catalog >Catalog Location.

Location of the catalog file

Open a catalog

  1. Select File > Manage Catalogs.
  2. Select the catalog from the list in the Catalog Manager dialog box.
  3. Click Open.


    (Mac OS) You cannot access catalogs on a shared network.

Moving or modifying media files

Because Elements Organizer contains references to files, avoid moving or modifying them outside of the software. If you move or alter the file outside of Elements Organizer, you are prompted to reconnect to the file.

Use the following suggestions to move or modify files associated with a catalog.

  • Move the files in your catalog with the Move command (select a file and choose File > Move).

  • Rename the files in your catalog with the Rename command (select the item and choose File > Rename).

  • If you’ve deleted a file, remove its listing from the catalog, so that the item no longer appears in the Media view. Fix this from the Reconnect Missing File dialog box or with the Edit > Delete From Catalog command.

  • Edit the original file in its original application by using the Edit > Edit With [Original Application] command.

    To set up this command, do the following:

    • Select Edit > Preferences > Editing (Windows) or Adobe Elements Organizer > Preferences > Editing (Mac OS).

    • Select Use A Supplementary Editing Application, click Browse, and locate and select the application.

    • Click Open.


    Using this command also allows you to change the filename and file type (for example, from BMP to JPEG) without causing a missing file error. If necessary, update the thumbnails when you’re finished editing.

Use (convert) a catalog of a previous version

When you open Elements Organizer for the first time after installation, you are prompted to convert catalogs from previous versions. When you click Yes, catalogs from the previous version are converted and renamed.

If you have not converted catalogs earlier, use the following procedure to convert catalogs from previous versions.


Adobe recommends that you take a backup of your previous catalog using File > Backup Catalog.

  1. In the latest version of Elements Organizer, select File > Manage Catalogs.

  2. Click Convert.

  3. Select the catalog from the list that is displayed.

  4. Click Done.

Notes for users upgrading theircatalogs to Photoshop Elements

Enhancements to the user interface and changes to supported file formats necessitate changes to the catalog conversion process as well. The following table helps you upgrade your catalog smoothly to Photoshop Elements.


Post migration to Photoshop Elements

People tags

You can locate photos with People tags in the People panel of the Media view, or in the People view. Generic icons are used for People tags.

To view the People panel in the Media view, select View > Show People in Tag Panel.

Photos in sub categories are moved to the Groups section of the People view. In the People view, click the People > Group slider to view them..

Events tag

Renamed to Events (Tags)

Places tag

Renamed to Places (Tags)

Smart Albums

You can locate Smart Albums under Saved Searches.

Unsupported file formats

The following file formats are skipped during file conversion: Filmstrip (FLM), Wireless BMP (WBM, WBMP), PCX, Targa (TGA, VDA, ICB, VST), Photoshop RAW (RAW), PICT File, PCT, PICT), Scitex CT (SCT), Photoshop EPS (EPS), EPS TIFF Preview (EPS), Generic EPS (AI3, AI4, AI5, AI6, AI7, AI8, PS, EPS.AI, EPSF, EPSP, .amr

Unsupported album templates

Default album template is used for the online album.

Rename a catalog

  1. Close Photoshop Elements Editor and Adobe Premiere Elements.
  2. In Elements Organizer, select File > Manage Catalogs.
  3. In the Catalog Manager dialog box, select the name of a catalog from the list.
  4. Click Rename. Then type the new name, and click OK.

Delete a catalog

You can delete a catalog only if there is more than one catalog associated with Elements Organizer. If you have one catalog and want to delete it, create another catalog before you proceed to delete the current catalog.

  1. Close Photoshop Elements Editor and Adobe Premiere Elements.
  2. Select File > Manage Catalogs.
  3. Ensure that more than one catalog is listed in the Catalog Manager dialog box. Create a new catalog, if necessary. See Create a catalog.
  4. Open a catalog other than the one you want to remove. See Open a catalog.
  5. In the Catalog Manager dialog box, highlight the catalog that you want to remove.
  6. Click Remove. Then click Yes.

Optimize catalog size

Optimizing a catalog helps reduce its size. Consequently, the time taken to open and work with files in a catalog is reduced.

  1. Close Photoshop Elements Editor and Adobe Premiere Elements.
  2. Select File > Manage Catalogs.
  3. In the Catalog Manager, select the catalog you want to optimize.
  4. Click Optimize.

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