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What Are Differences Between Adobe PSE 10 and Versions 9, 8, 7, 6?

Photoshop Elements 10: New Depth of Field Effect

One of the most common upgrade questions you’re likely to see is what’s new, what’s different, what’s improved between the new Adobe Photoshop Elements 10 and version 9? Or more fundamentally, what are the key new features in PSE 10, versus PSE 9, 8, 7, or even version 6? We put together a quick list here of what’s changed since 9, 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 close look at some of the biggest additions.

The before-and-after images pictured above are a demonstration of the new “depth of field” effect, where in just seconds you can produce the feeling of shallow focus (low f-stop) for the subject in any existing photograph you have.

From Adobe’s official press release:

Making Photos Pop with Innovative Tools

Powered by the same engine as Adobe Photoshop, the industry standard for digital imaging, Photoshop Elements 10 utilizes intelligent technology that makes it easy to give everyday photos a boost. Photoshop technology is brought to life through easy to follow steps for achieving stunning photo effects in an approachable way with new Guided Edits, which are very popular and successful. These include innovations such as creating a shallow depth of field or designing a fun layout of snapshots with Picture Stack, or even adding a dream-like diffused glow with the Orton Effect.

What’s the Orton Effect? It gives images a dreamy quality, and works well for candid portraits, landscapes, and photos of children or animals. Besides creating a fairytale feel, it can be useful for salvaging photos that you didn’t quite get in focus to begin with. This enhanced result was created in ten seconds with PSE 10:

Photoshop Elements 10 Orton Effect

More New Features

Also new are the text-on-a-path feature, a Crop Overlay tool, and some significant Organizer improvements:

New text functionality, which scrapbookers will especially love, allows users to add curving, flowing text to a photo that automatically follows the outline of a subject, custom path or shape. In addition, special crop guides [Rule of Thirds and Golden Ratio] now help users at any level easily achieve interesting, visually appealing compositions.

Object Search automatically finds objects within photos, such as a landmark, flower or pet. The Elements Organizer can even automatically detect duplicate or near-duplicate photos so users can clean up and delete the photos they don’t need and quickly group similar collections of photos

Photoshop Elements 10: Create Text on a Path

Probably one of the most-requested features, Photoshop Elements 10 sports three new Text tools for making lines of text follow paths you create… These new capabilities mean you can now place curvy, flowing text on a shape, on an object, or on a customized path – and then resize and reshape or add effects as desired.

The new “Smart Object Search” function saves time by making it easy to find almost anything in your catalog via searching by shape or color – and quickly detect and match together similar photos.

Here’s a one-minute video demo on how to create some of these new stylistic effects with just a few mouse clicks:

Comprehensive Version Comparison

What’s new in Photoshop Elements 10 isn’t perhaps quite as earth-shaking as what was introduced in version 9, which included the long-awaited Layer Masks, Style Matching, and the invaluable content-aware Healing Brush…  But there are still plenty of nice additions in PSE 10, including more we haven’t mentioned yet – like integration with your Facebook Friends list, saving creations to PDF format, 30 new Smart Brush patterns, a new Smart Pan & Zoom feature, automatic syncing between multiple devices, and more…

And thus far, the reviews for Photoshop Elements 10 have been pretty positive.

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

See the PSE upgrade version comparison chart

Importantly, Photoshop 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 was unavailable for PSE 9.

For more details and information, including on Premiere, see our Elements 10 Release Guide. Or start learning right away with four hours of free tutorials for Photoshop Elements 10 & 9.

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

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98 thoughts on “What Are Differences Between Adobe PSE 10 and Versions 9, 8, 7, 6?”

  1. I tried to download the Elements 10 trial all of last weekend with no success. I finally went out and bought it but I’m really disappointed that I can’t make slide shows. Apparently Mac does not support this function. I think there should be some notification of this on the packaging as I took it for granted it would have the same functions as the Windows version.

    Will this be rectified in the future and is there not some inexpensive software that Adobe can recommend or offer with the purchase of Elements 10 for Mac?

    Reply
  2. I have Adobe Premiere Elements 4 disc and Adobe Photoshop Elements 6. I need to load one or the other.

    What is the difference between the two ? Which is better. Lisa

    Reply
    • Hey there Lisa, it depends on what you want to do… Photoshop Elements is for managing and editing photographs, while Premiere Elements is for managing and editing videos.

  3. I thought I was buying the photo program when I bought Adobe Premiere Elements 10. Only after I loaded it – which caused me some grief, did I know I had a video program instead.

    I will probably keep it, and have some fun with it, but when it’s first loading I get a message:

    “The program can’t start because QTCF.dll is missing from your computer.
    Try re-installing the program to fix this problem.”

    I have re-installed it three times. I’m only using the “2” disc of 5 and the “3” of 5. Then, I do not understand what the “5” of 5 titled “Content” is for. Have I done this install correctly? It is only a movie program (not photos) right?

    Reply
    • Hi Susan, sorry you’re having difficulties. Yes, Premiere Elements is for video – see the response to Lisa just above. You can download the free trial for Photoshop Elements too if you want, for your photographs. The two applications work together with a single Organizer, by the way.

      As for the warning message you’re seeing – QTCF.dll is actually a file from Apple Quicktime, which is a requirement to have on your system for Premiere Elements. But the error probably signifies that Quicktime isn’t properly installed on your computer. You should make sure your machine meets the other specs there too.

      So we’d recommend downloading the latest version of Quicktime separately (it’s free), and installing it – and hopefully that will take care of the problem.

      As for the different program discs, the boxed Elements 10 software ships “multi-platform,” meaning half the DVD’s are for Windows and the other half for Mac OS… You may only need one set depending on which computers you have and how many you’re installing on.

      Since you have Premiere Elements, the last disc also contains the “Extra Content” which is not required (is optional) but nice to install if you want to.

      Basically, just follow the instructions given for your operating system and you’ll make sure to get everything installed that needs to be.

      Hope this helps!

  4. What is the difference between Elements 10 “full” version and the “upgrade” version? I do not own any Photoshop programs and would think the upgrade version is for people who previously own one. However, I see that the upgrade version in some stores is actually more expensive.

    Reply
    • Hello Carrie, don’t be confused by the terminology between full version vs. upgrade version… You’re absolutely right in that Adobe’s upgrade versions require you to already own a prior release of the same product in order for the installation to succeed.

      So in this case, you wouldn’t buy the cheaper Photoshop Elements 10 Upgrade version unless you owned some previous version of PSE, from versions 1 through 9.

      Also, not sure where you’re looking, but direct from Adobe (which is where we recommend buying for safety and the ability to download instantly), the upgrade versions are always less expensive than the full versions.

  5. As has been stated earlier, typical pricing, directly from Adobe, for Elements alone is $99.99 with a $20 discount ($79.99) for those owning a previous version. Since a new version of Elements is released every year, I ALWAYS wait until Adobe offers their usual $30 discount. This discount is not a mail-in rebate but is in the form of an instant discount, which makes the total price for the full version of Elements a terrific deal… and all that is required is for one to keep his/her eyes peeled for the Adobe offer.

    Reply
  6. Welcome John, if you want to receive notification of when Adobe’s biggest deals are, we’ll let you know — just submit your email for our free exclusive Adobe Special Offers e-Newsletter in the sidebar to the right (once in a while, never spam, and unsubscribe any time).

    Alternatively, you can subscribe to our weekly posts here via our RSS feed or follow us on Twitter or Facebook… You can also just enter your email and have all new articles sent directly to your inbox.

    Reply
  7. The Dodge and Burn tools are the last set on your left in the toolbox, underneath the heart which is grouped with the Shape tools.

    Betty

    Reply
  8. I have Elements 9 on both my iMac & MacBook Pro. I am going to change my laptop for another Apple one. How do I switch of Elements 9 on my present laptop so that I can put it on my new one? Elements only allows it on 2 computers at a time.

    Thanks

    Reply
  9. Still waiting for Elements to have a full Curves tool. Gimp, and PSP X4, have a full Curves tool, not a limited one like Elements.

    Reply
  10. @ John P
    I suppose it will be some months before this 30.00 discount is available? Like end of the year?

    Also, want to ask, I have been using the free trial version of Elements 10, I like it, but don’t know my way around totally yet. Just installed it 4 days ago. Sometimes I end up going into my old photo software to finish up the photos with my text or such. Hate that I can’t finish it all up yet with Elements. Mainly I’ve been doing chroma Key and changing backgrounds and having tons of fun with this part of it.

    Reply
    • Hey there Patti, thanks for your questions. It’s not possible to know in advance when Adobe will offer specials or what they’ll be, you just have to stay tuned and be patient if you want to wait… Then it becomes a tradeoff of the possibility to save a few bucks and the time spent waiting and watching VS. getting to use the full software and be productive sooner.

      As mentioned above, we will let you know via any means you like when good Adobe deals happen, because we are always watching them (we have to)… So if you want to go that route, just follow or subscribe however you’d like.

      It sounds like you also might like some helpful documentation for Photoshop Elements – try this free downloadable e-book and these 4 hours of free tutorials for getting started with PSE, or the complete documentation (manual) online.

      Hope this helps!

  11. I am a user of Photoshop Elements 7. I purchased a new laptop and need to install Elements 7 on it. I can’t seem to locate my disc to install it, but do have my product key… Any hints on how I can get it installed??

    Thanks.

    Reply
  12. In the past I could view videos from a Canon Ixus in PSE 8 Organizer. Now I see the thumbnail first frame, but when I try to play it I just hear audio but see black, or occasionally a few seconds of image, then black, while the indicator runs along the bottom. I am now also using an Olympus ZX-1, and a Win7 x64 Sony Vaio. Uninstalled and reinstalled PSE 8 to no avail. QuickTime is installed.
    HELP!
    Thanks

    Reply
  13. Hi – I have an old CD of Elements 2. Can I upgrade to 9 or 10 using that CD? Does it have to be installed (because it will probably refuse to install on my new Windows 7 x64 system)?

    Reply
  14. I used to see the still thumbnail for a video, and then play back the video, in the PSE 8 Organizer. Now I see the thumbnail, but when I click on it I see just a black screen in Media Player, with the runner going across the bottom. What gives?

    I have a Sony Vaio, Win7 x64, 1920 x 1080, ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5650, i5 M520, 2.40 GHz, 6 GB RAM. I see that I have 1024 MB of dedicated video memory, and 0 MB System Video Memory.

    I hope you can help. I want to upgrade to PSE 10 — but not if I can’t see videos in Organizer.

    Thanks
    Don

    Reply
    • Sorry you’re still having difficulties Don, and not sure why that would happen – sounds like a glitch somewhere. If it worked before, but doesn’t any longer, there are a couple things you can try.

      First, delete the video from the Elements catalog (but not from your disk), and then restart Elements and find the video again, add it anew to Organizer. That might address the issue.

      Or you could try uninstalling the software, rebooting, then reinstalling it. Your Adobe Elements catalog won’t be deleted when you uninstall and should still be there when you reinstall.

      If you want you can make a backup of the Elements catalog first of course, just to be safe.

      Last point – if you want to upgrade to Elements 10 anyway, just download and run the free trial. It will work side-by-side with your prior version and you can see how the new one does. Then you can either keep the new release or uninstall it and continue using your old one.

      Hope this helps!

  15. Want to buy photoshop, don’t own any at the moment, can get elements 9 much cheaper than 10, worth it? Don’t care about little details like letters following along picture.

    Reply
    • Greetings Mary, you already know the differences between PSE 9 vs. PSE 10 from the article above. So whether to buy the older version depends also on where you’d get it from, and whether it would be genuine and safe…

      We strongly advise against venues like eBay, Craigslist, Amazon/BestBuy Marketplace, etc. So please, be very careful – as losing your identity and/or credit would not be worth trying to save a few bucks. Buying from Adobe is always the safest, with direct downloads and guaranteed authenticity.

  16. I have a large number of trip photos in categories in PSE 4 and, truth to say, it’s the Elements Organizer I chiefly value. Can I get, organize and label my photos even easier in PSE 9 or 10? And is the Editor also easier to learn? Is it worth it to upgrade for better managing photo collections?

    Reply
    • Hi Eileen, thanks for your question. Well, you can probably get some sense of the differences from all the new features listed in the chart above… PSE 4 came out in 2005 so there would be even more additions than that.

      Your best bet to tell if you’d like it is to just download and run the free PSE 10 trial, and run it side-by-side with what you have now to compare. After the 30-day trial is up, then you can either keep what you have and convert over your catalog, or uninstall it and continue with the older software you have now.

      If you do decide to purchase it, then you would qualify for Adobe’s upgrade pricing for Elements 10, so long as you have your older serial number available.

      There are also a lot of learning resources for PSE 10 like a free e-book and hours of tutorials. Hope this helps!

  17. I accidentally permanently deleted one of the bevels. Is there a way to get it back? I’m using PSE 10 and running Windows XP.

    Reply
    • Welcome Kathy, you can typically get your bevel back in Photoshop Elements if it was deleted by accident.

      First off, make sure you have “Show Hidden Files & Folders” checked in Windows Explorer.

      Then navigate to C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\Adobe\Photoshop Elements\10.0\Locale\en-US and look for the MediaDatabase.db3 file. Just rename it to something else, or move it somewhere else on your hard drive, like to your Desktop.

      Then restart Elements, and the MediaDatabase.db3 file will automatically rebuild itself – but you may have to wait a while for it to do so… Once it completes, you should have your bevel back – and you can then delete the previous file you renamed or moved.

      This usually works but if for some reason it doesn’t, then entirely uninstalling, rebooting, and reinstalling the PSE program should definitely restore it.

      Hope this helps!

  18. Thanks, that worked! I had read a similar response on another site, but they didn’t mention the “hidden files” checkbox so I couldn’t find the file. Thanks again.

    Reply
  19. In Philip Andrews’ excellent “Elements 10 for Photographers,” there is a section on attaching map references to pictures. The display menu on my version doesn`t seem to have a Display Map option.

    Am I being stupid or is there a difference between US and European versions?

    Reply
    • Hey there Bob, it’s not a dumb question at all because the Map view and placement option is actually not available in Photoshop Elements outside of North America…

      Sorry about that – you can read here for more details.

      In Lightroom 4 which shipped in March, there is a new Map module feature that offers location-based organization using GPS data or direct placement. We don’t know what’s coming in Photoshop Elements 11, but it’s possible that a future release of PSE may offer international use of such functionality like Lightroom now has.

      Feel free to submit a feature request directly to Adobe, they do read and often implement them.

  20. Many thanks fot the fast and enlightening response! I`ve submitted a feature request as you suggested (along with many others it would seem!) and I suppose we`ll just have to wait and see!!

    Regards
    Bob N.

    Reply
  21. I recently loaded Elements v.10 as an upgrade from v.8. Then I noticed the map feature was no longer available. Why was this nice feature dropped?

    Reply

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