New user? Subscribe!  ·  Already a subscriber? .

Finding the Elements manual (Elements 11 update)

By Rick LePage  ·  December 7th, 2012

The most common question (complaint, really) that we hear from new Photoshop Elements users is, “Why isn’t there a manual? And, why isn’t it in the box?”

We’re not Adobe, so we can’t answer the why, but we do tell people that Adobe does provide a solid help system for Elements. Plus, if you want something a bit more traditional, you can download a PDF of the full manual online. I thought it would be good to post the locations of the online help areas–which include links for downloading the PDFs for the most recent versions.

For the Current Version

If you’re looking for documentation on an earlier version, Adobe has an archive page with links to the manuals for those versions. The Elements 6 User Guide page is also still available on the Adobe site, and, if you’re a Premiere Elements user, there’s an archive page, for older versions of that program.)

General Elements help can be found online here.

[This is an updated version of an older post]

29 Replies to Finding the Elements manual (Elements 11 update):

  1. Doris

    December 7, 2012 at 5:57 pm

    A great reminder! So many people don’t take advantage of all of those great resources.

  2. Koen

    December 8, 2012 at 9:19 am

    I’m not so enthusiastic as Doris. I have the pdf printed a while ago. It is not a manual at all. Not even a reference. They are help files useful for on line consultation. If you print them, be aware there is no page numbering, no table of contents and no index. On your computer you use the many links to jump around, but that is of course impossible with the printed version. And still some information is difficult to find.
    To give an example: try to find information in the organizer pdf on ‘events’ and ‘places’ (new in version 11).
    At any rate it is much better than nothing.
    There are of course other sources on the internet and also books (Barbara Brundage will be pleased…) to learn about the new or changed features, but as I give some courses on Elements I prefer a complete, detailed, structured manual,which was available for older versions.

  3. Sybille

    December 8, 2012 at 5:04 pm

    Just like Koen, I am rather “underwhelmed” by the lack of a proper manual as a PDF file. I am aware that you are not Adobe, but maybe you have enough clout to get them to produce such a manual. I really don’t like the online help at all, as, in my opinion it’s too cumbersome (to many clicks to get to what I need, and more often than not, it’s not there anyway.

    • Rick

      December 13, 2012 at 10:32 pm

      I _wish_ we had the clout, Sybille, but we really don’t.

      Koen, I also feel your pain about the changes to this year’s ‘manual'; the HTML-style formatting is definitely frustrating.

  4. Joseph

    December 8, 2012 at 8:57 pm

    Back in the DOS days manuals were published and shipped with the software but for the most part no one bothered reading them. I though searchable PDF’s would be a good resource but not any more. We use Microsoft Dynamics for our accounting software and if you want you can by the manuals but they are a real joke. Totally unusable. Things change to fast and nobody wants to take the time to write the documentation (nor pay for it).

  5. Marlene

    December 14, 2012 at 6:30 am

    Well, I certainly won’t be buying future versions (and I have been purchasing PSE since PSE 3) if there is no printed manual with the disc. Very disappointing :(

  6. John

    December 28, 2012 at 9:52 pm

    This doesn’t solve the missing manual problem exactly, but I found a 155-lesson, 12.5-hour video tutorial set on PE11 at The instructor is Andy Anderson. He has a little bit too much personality for me, but if you can overlook that you get quite a complete look at how to do things from a fellow who knows his stuff. Then, when I need to review something, I can quickly search Adobe’s PDF “reference” for that reminder. The price for the whole 12.5 hours is US $49.95 – – reasonable, I think.

    • Koen

      December 29, 2012 at 5:03 am

      If you want to spend money I would recommend the book ‘Photoshop Elements 11, the missing manual’ by Barbara Brundage ( It costs $ 44,99 (at Amazon), has a long table of contents, an index (20 pages in the version 10 book), nearly 600 pages and covers everything you can imagine. Also perfect for beginners. It is not a real course (it is more like a reference), but photo’s can be downloaded to follow steps explained in the book. Barbara is a beta tester of Elements since version 3. To me English is a foreign language, but the book reads very easily.
      I have a video course on Premiere Elements. While it is very good, it can’t cover everything. I soon missed how to tackle complex situations. I assume it is a bit the same with a video course on Photoshop Elements. Very, very good to start, but never providing all the details.
      And by the way, compared to the previously existing reference PDF from Adobe, I personally prefer Barbara’s book. Though she has some linkage with Adobe, she gives the pros and also cons of some features
      Kind regards

  7. Joyce

    January 9, 2013 at 12:19 pm

    Like Koen, the previous responder replied, “if yuu want to spend money” Visual Quickstart Guides has produced an excellent guide for Photoshop Elements 11. I would like to encourage you to check out the table of contents and the index, before you buy, if possible, to see what it offers, since the new Elements version offers so many changes and upgrades. I have not used Elements consistently through the years, but I purchased this guide because of all the changes. You may be surprised how well and how detailed they present the material. For me, the convincing entries were Camera Raw and Layers. For the most part you will find that many high-level Software publishers do not print manuals anymore. After you review this guide and others that have been mentioned above, you may find that 3rd party publishers do a better and more thorough job.

  8. Gwen

    January 9, 2013 at 9:21 pm

    I like having a guide for reference too, I’m not happy with the approach that many software providers are going with the on-line user manuals :( but that said, I must accept and adapt with the new way of delivery, I’ve clicked on the manual links somewhere at the end of the pdf and found this link from AdobeTv :) I learn from visuals better than reading so I’m happy with this site. Hope this helps everyone out if you haven’t stumbled onto it by now.

  9. Timothy

    January 18, 2013 at 11:31 am

    Just looked at the online manual for photoshop Elements and some of the referenced videos are from PSE 9!!

  10. Joyce

    January 18, 2013 at 11:41 am

    It is quite possible that everyone who uses the Elements User web site is not upgrading to the most current version on the retail market but still needs help and inspiration from the video training for their version of the program. I think this is a very wise and helpful part of the User web site. If I am not mistaken, the web site also has a specific area dedicated to the version 11 program. Also many, if not all of the previous version helps and training can be used with the newest versions as they are made available.

  11. Jim

    January 24, 2013 at 3:31 pm

    Your link gave me a 404 error, but I think I found what you were referring to:

    “Learn Photoshop Elements 11″ at the Adobe TV section of their site.

    There are also videos for earlier versions of Elements as well as most any Adobe product.

  12. Marianna

    February 20, 2013 at 12:00 pm

    As to the PE11 Elements Organizer Reference:

    Under the Create an album there is a statement:

    “To change the furigana for the album name, type a new furigana in the Furigana box.”

    Anyone know what a furigana is or where I can find the box?

  13. CYRIL

    January 23, 2014 at 5:52 am

    Like all of the above, I too lament the lack of a “manual”. But I have found that the substitutes thereof that are available don’t go far enough, i.e. some details are always missing, In the end, like any other enterprise, one must be courageous enough to get his or her hands bloody, dive in, and start exploring on your own. I mean start clicking on all the tabs and see just what they do and by all means don’t let the term “advanced” frighten you, as in the Organizer’s printing instructions.

  14. Seija

    February 16, 2014 at 11:47 am


    Furigana (振り仮名?) is a Japanese reading aid, consisting of smaller kana, or syllabic characters, printed next to a kanji (ideographic character) or other character to indicate its pronunciation. It is typically used to clarify rare, nonstandard or ambiguous readings, or in children’s or learners’ materials.

    So maybe furigana is not ment to us who are not Japanese…

  15. Robyn

    February 23, 2014 at 4:02 pm

    Personally, I learn best from written tutorials with screen shots showing me exactly what I should be doing. I have recently purchased two ‘For Dummies’ titles.- Photoshop Elements 11 and Photoshop Elements 11 All-In-One, both of which seem to be pretty good.

    The best book that I have ever used was one for (don’t laugh!) Word 2.0 which had lessons to work through, and even came with a floppy disk containing all the files needed to follow along with the lessons. That was for my first PC, after upgrading from a Commodore 64! And word processing on the C64 was, umm… challenging, to say the least!

    It frustrates me that we have software with incredible capabilities, but unless you know how to use it properly, it kind of defeats the purpose of having those capabilities. So, thank goodness for sites like this one!

  16. Marshall

    August 21, 2014 at 12:57 pm

    I might be the only person in the world who has “demoted” himself from the full version of Photoshop CS6 to Elements 12. I began to have qualms about CS6 after Adobe opted to provide all future upgrades only on a monthly subscription basis. I’ve used PS for many years and also kept Elements as a laptop backup since most of its early versions

    Out of necessity I began playing around with Elements v. 11 and 12, discovering to my delight that I could accomplish just as much as PS, but with a lower learning curve and more robust performance. Before long it became apparent that the only thing that PS had to offer was the “prestige” of using/owning the product, but in reality no one cares what software one uses so long as the results are as desired.

    I soon purchased the Elements and Premiere Elements 12 bundle at a lower price than PS alone, opening up even more horizons. So for me it’s good-bye to Photoshop. I’ve found a very capable replacement bundle in Elements and Premiere Elements 12.

  17. Tom

    September 28, 2014 at 2:48 pm

    The links for the editor and organizer PDF result in version 13, not 11!

    Are the manuals for v11 available?

  18. Opher

    April 10, 2015 at 9:42 pm

    Well, hmmmm….

    When you click on the links at the top (which imply the PSE 11 materials) you get the PSE 13 materials!!! Did Adobe do a backdoor switch, or did someone update the link without changing the text?

    In either case, would someone please post the links for all the versions? I’m using PSE 12 and don’t see myself upgrading anytime soon.


    • Mike Rodriguez

      April 11, 2015 at 11:29 pm

      Hi Opher-
      At the time of this post (almost 2.5 years ago) those links were current. Adobe does seem to be in the habit of replacing the online help files with those for the most current version, which is Elements 13, which indeed can be frustrating for those who use older versions.

      However, at the bottom of the original post, above, there is a link to an archive page that contains the help files for previous versions, back to version 7. This link will take you to the same place as the one above:

      I will go into the original post, however, and try to clarify things. Thanks.

      • Opher

        April 12, 2015 at 1:02 am

        Excellent! Thank you.

  19. Nora

    April 14, 2015 at 5:46 pm

    Try this link to download the manual for free:

    • Robyn

      June 18, 2016 at 9:07 am

      Just a word of warning here – my internet security program (Bullguard) notified me that Nora’s link was to a malicious site, so I chose not to download.

  20. Ray

    August 3, 2015 at 1:14 pm

    This may be off the subject but – does anyone know how to re-install PE12 ? I’ve just upgraded to Windows 10 on a new ACER computer but unfortunately PE12 didn’t make it across the channel.

    • Mike Rodriguez

      August 3, 2015 at 1:21 pm

      Hi Ray-
      When you first purchased Elements 12, did you buy it online and download the installer or did you purchase a disk? And, do you still have access to the application on your old computer? The first thing you’ll likely need to do is deactivate the software on that machine by going to the Help menu and singing out of your Adobe ID. That should deactivate the install on that machine. Then, you can either run the installer or install from the disk on your new machine. If you purchased it online from Adobe and no longer have the install file, you should be able to log on to your Adobe account and download the installer again.

  21. Steven

    November 3, 2015 at 1:44 pm

    Hey, this is a great source of information for Elements users.
    Thank You,

  22. Margaret

    June 15, 2016 at 8:30 am

    Help. I cannot seem to find help for a problem I am having with Photoshop Elements 14 on two computers, both with its own licensed copy. The editor is freezing. I try to edit or simply to print and it stops in the middle and freezes. This has happened over and over with 14. Adobe tells me there is no phone support for elements 14. Does anybody have a solution. Running sindows 10 on one machine with 16 mg of memory and Windows 7 professional on the other computer. Itt has worked in the past on this maching but is freezing constantly in the editor.

Tell us what you think.

You must be to post a comment.

Photo One Media

Photoshop Elements Techniques is published by Photo One Media, Inc. Copyright @2016

Follow us!

Follow us on Twitter Find us on Facebook