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Home > Tools October 3rd, 2012

What’s the Difference Between Adobe PSE 11 vs. Versions 10, 9, 8, 7?

New Adobe Photoshop Elements 11 is here, and one of the recurring upgrade questions we see is what’s new, what’s different, and what’s improved compared to Elements 10?  Or more essentially, what are the key new features in PSE 11, versus PSE 10, 9, 8, or even version 7?  We published a quick list here of what’s changed since the last release, but how about a version-by-version, feature-by-feature table? You’ll find this down below (or shortcut here), but first let’s take a closer look at some of the major additions.

Try Adobe Photoshop Elements 11 Now - for Free

The biggest news with Elements 11 is the user interface has received a welcome upgrade, as its big brother Photoshop CS6 did earlier this year.  Responding to years of feedback, Adobe has reengineered the PSE Organizer and Editor to make them faster and more efficient while being easier to use at the same time. The redesigned interface is fresh and clean with three editing modes you can smoothly switch between: Quick, Guided, and Expert (full). Providing these different levels allows the program to work according to your abilities and vice versa, making it easier to learn, use, and improve your skills. Reviewers generally are saying positive things about the crisp new user-friendly editing environment and the improved performance.

Some other significant new features in Photoshop Elements 11 are Mapping (geo-tagging of photos), a new Actions Panel, a very handy Refine Edge Detection capability for complex selections (including hair and fur), new Guided Edits (Tilt-shift, Vignettes, and High- and Low-key effects), new Filters (Lens Blur, Comic, Graphic Novel and Pen & Ink), plus an updated Adobe Camera Raw engine with new algorithms and controls.

Those are some of the improvements in Photoshop Elements 11 – for more of what’s new see the chart below and/or Adobe’s official press release.

Complete Version Comparison

Photoshop Elements 11 New Feature: Mapping of Photos and Videos (click to enlarge)

New Organizer Mapping Feature

Last year’s Elements 10 brought us the Crop Overlay tool, text-on-a-path feature, Smart Object Search, integration with Facebook friends, and the depth of field and Orton effects.  Highlights of the earlier Elements 9 included the long-awaited Layer Masks, Style Matching, multiple photo panorama creation, and the essential Content-Aware Healing Brush.  So over the different releases the power and new capabilities start to add up if you’re using an older copy.

Below you can see a comprehen­sive feature comparison between the last five versions of Photoshop Elements, for both Windows and Mac OS:

See the Adobe PSE 11 upgrade version comparison chart

Importantly, Elements continues to be multi-platform software, available with largely the same features on both PC and Mac (containing both discs in the box) – and installable on up to two machines. The fully-functional free trials are also now available and can install and run alongside any previous versions you may own, without interference. Adobe has also restored the discounted upgrade pricing that had briefly disappeared awhile back.

Photoshop Elements 11 New Feature: Refine Edge Detection (click to enlarge)

New Edge Detection Feature

Note that Adobe discontinued their $50/year “Plus” membership option (syncing and backup to with Elements 11, perhaps because of the increasing use of services like Dropbox and SugarSync…  However on this front Adobe says they are “working on some really exciting new technology that we think you will love and will share more with you in early 2013.”

Finally, on two things folks sometimes ask about: Is Photoshop Elements 11 available a 64-bit-native application as Photoshop CS6 is, and does it offer additional 16-bit tool functionality compared to earlier versions?  The answers are: PSE 11 remains a 32-bit program that will run on both 32-bit and 64-bit systems, and 16 bits-per-pixel image support is the same as in PSE 10 – meaning you can open 16-bit files, convert to 16-bit color depth in ACR, do basic edits, but no support for layers, artistic filters, and so on.

Elements is the world’s #1 selling consumer photo- and video-editing software.  For more details and information, including on Premiere Elements, see our Elements 11 Release Guide. Or start learning right away with three hours of free tutorials for Elements 11, and/or nearly 200 pages of free Elements 11 ebooks.

[UPDATE (Sept. 2014) — See the differences in the new Photoshop Elements 13 vs. earlier.]

Source: The NPD Group/Retail Tracking Service (April 2002 to March 2012) based on units sold in the Video and Photo Editing categories.
Do you have any questions about Photoshop Elements 11?  Just ask them below and we’ll get you answers fast!

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  1. Staszek

    Does PSE 11 support Retina?

  2. Mo

    Hello, I am a novice and getting better every day. It’s time to upgrade from my iPhoto, but I tried Photoshop and it’s way over my head. I’m thinking Elements might be more user friendly. Here is my question: there are two things I would like to be able to do during processing and can’t do in iPhoto. One is make selective enhancements, choosing a bit of the portrait here and there to make highlights or shadows, only not on the whole picture. The second thing is to make images in the photo “disappear” or layering. I would like the option to remove unwanted people or things from photos.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated. I’ve asked my photographer friends, all of whom are tech-savvy and use Photoshop, as well as researched on the Internet but couldn’t figure out if Photoshop Elements or even Premiere Elements would be able to do these things.

    Thank you in advance for your prompt response, I’ve got a huge amount of processing to do. :)

  3. Mo

    Wow, so helpful – especially about Premiere – thanks much for the reply and info!!

  4. Tiffany

    Hi, I recently purchased photoshop elements on discs. My computer just crashed and I’m wondering if I can redownload to another computer or will I have to completely rebuy the disk set, I am so sick about this. Thanks so much.

  5. Cherilyn

    Hello, I just recently had to buy a new computer. I had Windows Vista and Elements 7. I now have Windows 8. I’m assuming Elements 7 is not compatible with Windows 8. Could you please tell me how to make the upgrade?

    Thank you.

  6. Colleen

    I have 600 pictures i want to put in a book. I thought contact pages would be good so i could put many pictures on a page. Can I do that in photoshop elements 9?

  7. Robaall

    Hi ! I have only one question. Does this new one PE 11 have a channel mixer? I need this with IR photos.

  8. Jim

    I have PS elements 8 with several plug-ins that are added to it. If I upgrade to PS elements 11 or buy version 11 on disc, will the plugins be retained? Thanks

  9. Keith

    Hi I have elements 9 but can not use raw files with eos 5mk3, any help please

  10. Edward Potereiko

    Photoshop Elements 11 advertises “photo merge.”
    Is this a photo stitching program that will make panoramic photos?

    Does PSE 10 offer the same feature?

    Are there any features that Photoshop Elements 10 had that Photoshop Elements 11 eliminated, without replacing it?

    • That’s right Edward, the Photomerge Panorama command in Photoshop Elements is about creating panoramas from multiple images – see the documentation for how to do it:

      Photoshop Elements Help / Stitching together panoramas

      And here’s a brief demonstration video that may also be helpful:

      As for the second part of your question, there was a lot added in Photoshop Elements 11 vs. 10 (as described in the article above), but no features taken away that that we’re aware of.

      If you’d like to try it out, just download and run the free PSE 11 trial and you can get started right away.

      Hope this helps!

  11. Michele

    I used Photoshop Elements 6 and was satisfied. Then upgraded to 9 and it keeps locking or or is very slow opening things. Frustratingly slow, so slow I do not want to use it. Is version 11 any better?

    • Not sure Michele, we used Photoshop Elements 9 on one of the systems here until recently, and have had no problems at all… Upgraded to Elements 11 which we’re also happy with for what it does.

      Your best bet may just be to download the free trial for Elements 11, install it on your system and see how it goes… There’s no cost, and you can run the two versions alongside each other to evaluate, and just uninstall the “loser.”

  12. Alan Chappell

    Hi, I have a copy of photoshop elements 6 ( not registered ) and I wish to upgrade and buy elements 11. My question is will I have any problems with transferring my albums etc from 6 to 11. I run Vista. This a great resource by the way. Well done.

  13. Keith McCulloch

    I have elements 9 for mac, can I upgrade to elements 11 via the web?

  14. Meg

    I was wondering if you can do touchups on faces like blemish removers? Also does it have effects you can use besides the comic books and pencil effects?

  15. Tom Moore

    Does Photoshop Elements 11 come with Adobe Camera Raw version for Nikon new NRW ?

  16. carli


    If I upgrade from my Elements 7, to the 11… can I use masking in this? As you don’t have it in 7 (though there are ways around it I have seen on youtube, it’s not the same thing) .. and also, the upgrade discount.. I clicked the link and when the Adobe products come up… It doesn’t say Elements 11 as an option? and it’s all this student and teacher stuff I don’t understand?

    thanks carli

  17. Khang Nhan

    I have Photoshop Elements 5, how much would cost me to upgrade to PSE 11?

  18. Michele Adams

    Thanks for this comparison – it has helped me decide that the an upgrade will be worthwhile.

  19. Joseph Cusimano

    Hi – I really like Elements 11 but have run into a major problem. Elements 11 only supports 25 Scene markers, and I often need way more than 25. I already created several projects and have been extremely happy with the whole workflow and the final output, but I finally ran into the 25 marker limit. Elements v7 did not have this 25 Marker limit, and I was wondering when Adobe changed Elements to the 25 Marker limit. Specifically, do you know if version 9 had this 25 Marker limit – I have the opportunity to purchase a copy of v9 and would like to do so if it supports at least 99 Scene Markers. Do you know how many markers v9 supports; I cannot find any reference to maximum markers anywhere.

  20. Jay

    My computer was recently stolen. My employer has provided me with a new one. I would like to install PS Elements on my new machine. Can you tell me how to recover my license code and where I can locate the version of PSE that I can download?

    Thank you,

  21. Rob


    PSE 11 cannot open .eps files as vectors. This feature was present in PSE 10 and 9. There is a fairly useless workaround, allowing you to open vector files as .TIFF, but then you lose the resolution and the whole reason for using a vector file. I’m thinking of returning my PSE 11, and trying to order a PSE 10. If anyone has any other ideas on this, please share.

  22. Barbara

    I am running Windows 8, 64-bit. Had a hard drive failure and am stymied in trying to install my PS Elements 9.0 & Premiere Elements 9.0. I had them installed on my crashed hard drive.
    Now, when I try to install, it gets so far in the installation process and then undoes itself.
    Why? Please help.

  23. Mark Buerger

    Is there any value to having the Elements Bundle for CC Photo subscribers?

    • Hey Mark, you mean now that Photoshop Elements 13 is out?

      Yes, there could be value, because Photoshop CC and Photoshop Elements have different target markets. Photoshop CC focuses on mostly anything and everything you can do for gold-standard image manipulation, whereas Photoshop Elements centers on how you can improve and use your photos practically in your life (like mashups, sharing, albums, slideshows, books/cards/calendars, etc).

      So at the simplest level, Photoshop Elements began as a basic, scaled down version of the full Photoshop – but their featuresets have diverged as Elements is all about home & hobbyists while CS/CC is all about professional-level work. Most people, of course, do have both in their world.

      This comparison guide generally explains it further and gives more details:

      What’s the Difference Between Photoshop vs. Elements vs. Lightroom?

  24. b matthews

    have run elements 10 trouble-free for some time now on vista. new laptop with windows 8.1 and cannot open the panorama feature in PS now. how do i fix this and would elements 11 help?

  25. Craigtate

    Can you open a 30 mb raw Photo

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