Convert a catalog

The Elements Organizer can convert catalogs from Photoshop Album or previous versions of the Elements Organizer to a format compatible with newer versions of the Elements Organizer. For example, the Elements 8 Organizer can convert an Elements 6 Organizer catalog to the catalog format Elements 8 uses.

Note: The Elements 9 Organizer on Mac OS does not convert catalogs from previous versions.

If you used Photoshop Album or a previous version of Elements Organizer, and then installed a newer version, you're prompted to convert the earlier-version catalog. When the prompt appears, select Yes to start the conversion process. Alternatively, select No and you can convert the catalog later.

You can also initiate a catalog conversion using the Catalog Manager. For more information, see Convert a catalog in the Elements Organizer Help.

Note: If your catalog is stored in a non-default location, it doesn't appear in the Convert Catalog window by default. To display catalogs stored in custom locations, select Find More Catalogs and then navigate to the location of the catalog.

Note: Catalogs that you have previously converted, including catalogs previous versions of the Elements Organizer converted, don't appear in the Convert Catalog window by default. To display previously converted catalogs, select Show Previously Converted Catalogs.

About catalog conversion

When the Elements Organizer converts a catalog, the information from the original catalog is copied into a new catalog. The original catalog is not changed. Previous versions of the Elements Organizer cannot use a catalog that has been converted to the format a newer version of the Elements Organizer uses. For example, you cannot use an Elements 8 catalog in the Elements 6 Organizer. Because the original catalog remains unchanged, you can continue to use it in the earlier version software. However, changes in the earlier version aren't reflected in the newer version catalog.

If any version of Photoshop Album or Elements 3 Organizer created your catalog, and it wasn't converted to 4 or 5, then its thumbnail cache isn't converted. The Elements Organizer automatically re-creates the thumbnail cache after the conversion is complete. This process can take a long time for large catalogs. You can continue to work in the Elements Organizer while the thumbnail cache is being created. However, the application can perform slowly. And, you don't see thumbnail previews for some of your photos and other media until the process is complete.

Visual Similarity Data, which is used for finding photos by visual similarity, is not retained during a catalog conversion. This data is rebuilt after the catalog conversion is complete.

When you convert an Elements 8 catalog to the Elements 9 or later catalog format, the Organizer attempts to convert facial recognition data as well. However, if any problems are encountered converting this data, an error appears. The data is re-created after the catalog conversion is complete.

The following changes occur in the Elements catalog when you convert it from Elements Organizer 3, 4, or 5, or from any version of Photoshop Album:

  • Star ratings are used instead of Favorites tags. Numbered Favorites tags are converted to their equivalent star rating (for example, 1 Star Favorite becomes 1 Star rating). Unnumbered Favorites tags are converted to 5 Star ratings.
  • The catalog's internal database checks the serial number of a drive's logical volume instead of the drive's label. Although it is unlikely, you can have multiple drives connected to your computer that have the same volume serial number. If you can't open or edit your photos and other media, see the following document:

Photo Creations aren't included in a converted catalog if the Creation format is incompatible with the version of Elements Organizer you are using. (If you saved a Creation as a PDF file and included it in your previous catalog, then that PDF file would be included in a conversion.) The following Creations are included in a converted catalog:

  • Elements Organizer, versions 5, 6, 7, and 8: All.
  • Elements 4 Organizer: Slideshows only.
  • Elements 3 Organizer and any version of Photoshop Album: None.

About the Catalog Manager

If you saved a catalog to a folder that is not a default location, the Catalog Manager doesn't display your catalog automatically. To access a catalog in a non-default location using the Catalog Manager, select Custom Location. Then, select Browse, and navigate to the location of the catalog.

For more information, see Managing catalogs in the Elements Organizer Help.

Transfer your catalog from Windows to Mac OS

If you used Photoshop Album or a previous version of Elements Organizer on Windows, you can transfer media to Elements 9 or later Organizer on Mac OS.

Before you begin this process, do all of the following:

  • Ensure that you have access to the Windows computer that has your catalog and photos.
  • Verify that you still have Photoshop Album or your earlier version of Elements Organizer installed on Windows.
  • Install the same version of Photoshop or Adobe Premiere Elements on your Windows computer as you are using on Mac. You can download a free 30-day trial of the latest version of Photoshop Elements for Windows from Adobe.com/Downloads.
  • Install Photoshop or Adobe Premiere Elements on your Macintosh.
  • Ensure that you have an external hard drive available. The drive must have sufficient free space for all of the photos and other media in your existing catalog. Also, make sure that its file system is compatible with both Windows and Mac OS (for example, FAT/FAT32).

Once you are prepared, follow these steps to transfer your photos and videos from your Windows computer to your Macintosh:

  1. On your Windows computer, open the Elements Organizer.
  2. Do one of the following:
    • When the prompt to convert a catalog from a previous version appears, click Yes.
    • If you would like to convert a different catalog, then click No if the prompt appears. When the Elements Organizer opens, choose File > Catalog and then click Convert. In the Convert Catalog window, locate and select the catalog that you want to convert, and then click Convert.
  3. When the catalog conversion process finishes, click OK.
  4. Back up your catalog to your external hard drive. For specific instructions, see Backup a catalog to a CD, DVD, or hard drive in the Elements Organizer Help.
    Note: You can back up a catalog to a CD or DVD on Windows. However, you can't restore the catalog directly from the CD/DVD on your Macintosh.

  5. When the backup completes, safely remove the external hard drive from your Windows computer.
  6. Connect your external drive to your Macintosh.
  7. On your Macintosh, open the Elements Organizer.
  8. Restore your catalog from the external hard drive. For specific instructions, see Restore a catalog to a previously saved version in the Elements Organizer Help.

Catalog differences between versions

There are some differences between the various versions of the Elements Organizer and Photoshop Album. These differences include changes to the location of catalogs, to the catalog database format, and to catalog filenames.

Elements Organizer, versions 6 and later

Default catalog location

Note: In the Catalog Manager, you can select to store and retrieve catalog files different locations. Choose Catalogs Accessible By All Users (default for Windows only), Catalogs Accessible By Current User (default for Mac), or a Custom Location.

Mac OS
Current User: /Users/[Your User Name]/Library/Application Support/Adobe/Elements Organizer/Catalogs/[Catalog Name]\

Windows 7 and Windows Vista
All Users: C:\ProgramData\Adobe\Elements Organizer\Catalogs\[Catalog Name]\

Current User: C:\Users\[Your User Name]\AppData\Roaming\Adobe\Elements Organizer\Catalogs\[Catalog Name]\

Windows XP
All Users: C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\Adobe\Elements Organizer\Catalogs\[Catalog Name]\

Current User: C:\Documents and Settings\[Your User Name]\Application Data\Adobe\Elements Organizer\Catalogs\[Catalog Name]\

Supporting files location
Stored in the same folder as catalog.pse[Version Number]db.

Catalog format
SQLite database, stored in a file called catalog.pse[Version Number]db.

Note: Elements Organizer version 7 and later includes the version number in the catalog filename extension. For example, the catalog filename and extension for Elements 9 Organizer is catalog.pse9db.

Photoshop Elements Organizer, versions 3, 4, and 5

Default catalog location
C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\Adobe\Photoshop Elements\Catalogs\

Supporting files location
Stored in a separate folder: C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\Adobe\Photoshop Elements\Catalog Folders\[Catalog Name]\

Catalog format
Microsoft Access database, stored in a file called [Catalog Name].psa.

Photoshop Album 1 and 2, and Photoshop Album Starter Edition 3

Default catalog location

Windows Vista
C:\ProgramData\Adobe\Photoshop Album\Catalogs\

Windows XP
C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\Adobe\Photoshop Album\Catalogs\

Supporting files location
Stored in a separate folder:

Windows Vista
C:\ProgramData\Adobe\Photoshop Album\Catalog Folders\[Catalog Name]\

Windows XP
C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\Adobe\Photoshop Album\Catalog Folders\[Catalog Name]\

Catalog format
Microsoft Access database, stored in a file called [Catalog Name].psa.

Additional information

The Elements Organizer is included with version 9 and later of  Adobe Photoshop Elements and Adobe Premiere Elements on Mac OS.

The Elements Organizer was called the Photoshop Elements Organizer in versions 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7. In version 8 and later, it is called the Elements Organizer due to integration with Adobe Premiere Elements.

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