What's new in Photoshop Elements 11

Guided Edits

Adobe Photoshop Elements Editor 11 includes four new guided edits, to quickly enhance your images with special effects. You can apply effects that generally take many complex steps to obtain. Use the step-by-step instructions on the guided edits panel to get the exact effect you want to obtain. For more information, see the video on the new guided edits.

High key

Pictures with high key lighting convey a positive vibe. Negate shadows and transform a portrait or family picture into a memorable moment, with the professional-looking high key effect (Elements Editor > Guided mode > High Key). For more information, see Add high key effect.

For a quick tutorial, watch this video on working with the high key guided edit.

Picture before applying the high key effect (left), and after (right)

Low key

Photographs with low key lighting portray a darker edge in the theme of the photo. Accentuate shadows and create dramatic play with dominant aspects of your photo, with the low-key effect (Elements Editor > Guided mode > Low Key). For more information, see Add low key effect.

For a quick tutorial, watch this video on creating dynamic effects with the low key guided edit.

Picture before applying the low key effect (left), and after (right)


Photographs treated with the tilt-shift effect focus on specific portions of a picture. Keep certain areas of your picture sharp, while blurring the rest, using the tilt-shift effect (Elements Editor > Guided mode > Tilt-Shift). Obtain the miniature effect that would normally need a tilt-shift lens, with just a few clicks of the mouse. For more information, see Add tilt-shift effect.

For a quick tutorial, watch a video on the new tilt-shift guided edit.

Picture before applying the tilt-shift effect (left), and after (right)


Pictures that have vignetting tend to have a brighter central region, and a dark periphery. Enhance a portrait by darkening the peripheral areas, and automatically drawing attention to the center of the photo. Use the option to create a white vignette and explore the results that the vignette effect (Elements Editor > Guided mode > Vignette Effect) can produce. For more information, see Add vignette effect.

For a quick tutorial, watch a video on applying a vignette effect.

Picture before applying the vignette effect (left), and after (right)


Comic Filter

Add an element of fun to your favorite portrait by making it look like a panel from a comic strip. Applying the new Comic filter (Filter > Sketch > Comic), converts your photo into seemingly hand-sketched artwork. A variety of controls enable you to attain granular control over the final result.

Original image (left), and image after applying the Comic filter (right)

Pen and Ink filter

Convert your photograph into a work of art, making it appear hand-sketched. Applying the Pen and Ink filter (Filter > Sketch > Pen and Ink) creates the effect of artistic sketching, with options to control pen and ink attributes.

Original image (left), and image after applying the Pen and Ink filter (right)

Graphic Novel Filter

Apply the new Graphic Novel filter (Filter > Editor > Graphic Novel) to your picture, to obtain a dark, yet distinct and vivid photo, unique to the world of graphic novels. Select from the presets, or customize the effect with the available controls.

Original image (left), and image after applying the Graphic Novel filter (right)

Lens Blur filter

Simulate the blur created by a camera lens, by blurring certain objects in an image, while retaining the clarity of the rest. Applying the lens blur filter (Filter > Blur > Lens Blur) creates an effect similar to applying a narrow depth of field while taking a picture. 

Original image (left), and image after applying the Lens Blur filter (right)

Exposure and Vibrance (Quick edit mode)

The new Exposure and Vibrance options allow you to preview various settings, manipulate settings manually, and then commit the effect to the photograph.


The Exposure setting (Quick mode > Exposure) adjusts the brightness and darkness of your photograph.

Original image (left), and image after enhancing exposure (right)


The Vibrance setting (Quick mode > Color > Vibrance) adjusts the tone of colors as it approaches saturation, and helps prevent clipping.

Original image (left), and image after increasing vibrance (right)

Usability Enhancements

Adobe Photoshop Elements 11 has numerous advancements and new features. However, much effort has been invested in ensuring that working in Elements Editor is easier and faster than ever before.

Photoshop Elements in Expert mode

A. Inactive tab B. Active tab C. Active image area D. Menu bar E. Options bar F. Toolbox G. Tool Options bar / Photo bin H. Taskbar I. Panel bar 

User interface

Photoshop Elements has been reworked to present the working spaces, tools, modes, and panels in neat and efficient layouts. The user interface is simpler to navigate, more intuitive, and ensures that learning is a natural outcome of working Photoshop Elements. Enhancements to the user interface include:

  • Taskbar The taskbar contains buttons to important shortcuts to aspects of Photoshop Elements, and important tasks.
  • Photo bin The Photo bin displays open images that you are currently working on in Photoshop Elements, or photos or albums selected in Photoshop Elements Organizer.
  • Tools bar The Tools bar contains all the available tools in a particular mode. Tools are grouped logically.
  • Tool Options bar The Tool Options bar displays all the options of the currently selected tool, below an open image.
  • Panels By default, Photoshop Elements opens in the Basic panel view, that displays the Layers, Effects, Graphics, and Favorites panels. Thus, novice users always have a consistent view of the most important panels. Advanced users can open the Custom view to view or dock additional panels into the interface.

Guided edits

Guided edits are available in the Guided mode. Some enhancements include:

  • Guided edits have an icon associated with them, enabling users to quickly understand what that particular edit does.
  • Step numbers enable the user to always have context of the actions being performed.
  • Guided edits are better categorized, and step-wise descriptions for each edit have been simplified.

Panel shortcuts

Important panels now have keyboard shortcuts associated with them. For example, you can press F11 to view the Layers panel.

Quick mode toolbar

The Text tool and the Spot Healing Brush tools are now available in Quick mode.

Create menu

The Create drop-down, above the Panel bin, lists all the projects that you can start with your photographs. You can easily start a project, in any mode that you are in.


Panels can be viewed in two modes, Basic and Custom.

  • Basic To enable novice users to have a consistent view in Photoshop Elements, this mode displays the most important panels - Layers, Effects, Graphics, and Favorites.
  • Custom To enable advanced users to choose the panels that they need, the Custom mode displays panels in floating or tabbed mode. In this mode, users can open a panel, and dock it in the Panel bin.

Actions Panel

An action is a series of tasks that Photoshop Elements performs with a click of a button. Actions are now available in the Actions panel (Window > Actions). Use the Actions panel menu to load, play, delete, or reset actions.

For more information on the Actions panel and how to use it, see Using actions to process photos.

Also, watch this video on adding actions to speed up editing tasks.

Adobe Camera Raw (ACR) 7.1

Photoshop Elements 11 uses the newest algorithms and technology to process raw file formats. Enhancements include:

Process Version 2012

The Adobe Camera Raw 7.1 (ACR 7.1) converter introduces Process Version 2012, a newer form of deciphering the raw file format. The ACR 7.1 dialog allows you to choose the latest process version (2012), or any of the older versions - 2010 or 2003.

Additional control

Process Version 2012 exposes three new sliders - Luminance Detail, Luminance Contrast, and Color Detail.

For more information, see Process Versions.

Photo service provider for users in Europe - CEWE Color

For Photoshop Elements users in Europe, Adobe has partnered with CEWE Color, an online photo service company. CEWE Color services are available in 24 European countries. You can place orders for photos, photo books, calendars, and other projects with CEWE Color, from within Photoshop Elements.

Tool enhancements

Tools have been refined to obtain optimal results. Additional features have been added to existing tools:

Sharpen tool

The Sharpen tool now has a Protect Detail option, that ensures minimized pixelated artifacts while enhancing and sharpening details.

Move tool

The Move tool now has a layer selection option, that enables you to right-click a multi-layered image and select a specific layer. Choosing a layer this way automatically selects the layer in the Layers panel.

Color Picker

The Color Picker tool has been equipped with additional settings in the Tool Options bar. You can now choose to sample color from a selected layer, or all available layers.

Color Replacement tool

The Color Replacement tool now has a sampling option to choose how a color is picked for replacement. You can choose to control how the color is replaced using the Continuous, Once, or Background Swatch settings.

Refine edges tool

Refine Edges tool The Refine Edges tool has been enhanced to provide the ability to select the more granular and finer details from an image. For more information, see Refine edges of a selection.

Online Content

Most sample and collateral graphics, backgrounds, frames, and themes have been moved online. Storing files online saves a large amount of disk space on the computer where you have Photoshop Elements 11 installed.

When you install Photoshop Elements 11, these files are downloaded as thumbnails. Files that have not been downloaded have a small blue band that runs diagonally across the upper-right corner of the thumbnail (similar to a blue photo-corner).

Most graphics are available online, and must be downloaded for use
Thumbnails in the Graphics panel, with a blue photo corner to indicate if graphic is available for download

A. Blue photo corner B. Graphic not downloaded, but available online C. Graphic downloaded to computer, available for use 

When you choose to use the file in a project (for example, a background in a photo book project), these files are downloaded in their full size. Double-click a graphic to download it from the online repository in its full size.

Effects and Styles

Photoshop Elements 11 enables you to import your favorite effects and styles. Use the preset manager (Edit > Preset Manager), or the panel menu in the Effects panel, to load, use, or delete effect (.atn) or style (.asl) files.

For more information, see Use the Preset Manager.


Preferences have been added or modified to ensure that working in Photoshop Elements 11 is a pleasing and consistent experience.

Reset Preferences on next launch

Click this button to ensure that all product preferences are reset to default settings when Elements Editor is restarted next. Available at Preferences > General.

Save As to Original Folder

Specifies the folder location that is opened by default in the Save As dialog. When this option is cleared, the Save As dialog always opens the folder where you last saved a file. When selected, the Save As dialog always opens the folder from where you last opened a file. Available at Preferences > Saving Files.

Maximize PSD File Compatibility

Specifies if compatibility settings must be enforced when you save a photograph to PSD file format.

  • Never Compatibility settings are never applied
  • Always Compatibility settings are always applied
  • Ask  While saving to PSD format, a Photoshop Elements Format Options dialog is displayed. You can now select the Don't show again option.
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