Adobe Photoshop Elements 11 Review

Updated June 30, 2013
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Adobe Photoshop Elements 11
Bottom Line

Adobe Photoshop Elements 11 is more than just Photoshop lite. It has powerful editing, organization, project, art and sharing tools that make it an excellent choice for both amateur and serious photographers. For a fraction of the price of full Photoshop, you'll find modes for all skill levels, making it as simple or advanced as you need. New social media options make PSE11 more interactive than ever before.

Ease of use

Go from beginner to pro. The great thing about Photoshop Elements is that you don't have to be an expert to get started. Basic users can easily master simple photo editing (cropping, fixing red eyes, tweaking color and lighting) and photo effects before moving on to more complicated tasks like layers, merging photos or panoramas. Guided tutorials and tools will show you the way. Plenty of free online resources will enable you to learn just about every trick in the book, and if you eventually move to full Photoshop, those skills are transferrable.

ProsSuitable for beginners, New guided edits and refine edge tool are great, Fresh look is friendly and appealingConsFacial recognition is inconsistent, Organizer bogs down with large collections, Cannot create your own actions

Features

Refine and share. Among new features not available with older versions are the multiple sharing tools. You can edit an image and then post directly from Elements to lots of social media apps. The new Refine Edge tool, which makes merging elements of photos much more nuanced, is fantastic. Those making the upgrade will notice some fun new filter, template and collage options. The new interface makes it easier to see on laptop screens. More advanced users will notice that you still cannot create actions in PSE11, but loading presets is simplified.

Performance

Improved speed, but not an ideal photo organizer. The user interface is better than ever, but there are some goofy facial recognition inconsistencies and some bugs in lighting adjustments. Reviewers note that PSE11 is considerably faster, but the organizer can become cluttered and run slowly with larger photo collections, and the software uses quite a bit of memory. It's not ideal for file management, though there are new tools for auto-tagging and sorting photos according to people, rating, places and events, making your favorite shots much easier to find.

Our Sources

1. Expert Reviews

Adobe Photoshop Elements 11 Review, Ben Pitt, Oct. 8, 2012

Photoshop Elements 11 is rated 5 out of 5 stars, and named an Expert Reviews Best Buy after an in-depth analysis and testing of features, including the photo organizer, which catalogued 46,000 photographs within an hour. Instant fix is compared to manual editing, with some images needing additional touching up.

2. PCMag.com

Adobe Photoshop Elements 11, Michael Muchmore, Oct. 15, 2012

A PCMag's Editors' Choice, Adobe Photoshop Elements 11 is rated Excellent based on an in-depth review and testing of interface, installation, organizer, importing, maps, events, facial recognition, photo adjustment, effects, and sharing features.

3. DigitalCameraReview.com

Photoshop Elements 11 & Premiere Elements 11 Review, Theano Nikitas, Oct. 3, 2012

Photoshop Elements 11 is rated 4.5 out of 5 stars after being performing considerably faster on speed tests against PSE10 on older and newer computers and operating systems. Photos in PSE11 imported quickly into the Organizer, whereas in PSE10 just switching from Organizer to Editor modes was difficult.

4. ITProPortal.com

Adobe Photoshop Elements 11 Review, Michael Muchmore, Oct. 18, 2012

Photoshop Elements 11 gets ITProPortal's Best Buy award. The software is tested for speed and memory capacity. The author noted Adobe doesn't provide a specific help function, but directs you to their website where your question is answered via user forums.

5. Macworld

Review: Photoshop Elements 11 Updates Interface, Editing Tools, Lesa Snider, Sept. 26, 2012

Macworld gives Photoshop Elements 11 a rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars after a detailed review of features and benefits. Lesa Snider praises the less overwhelming interface and large icons.

6. PC Advisor

Adobe Photoshop Elements 11 Review, Michael Burns, Oct. 5, 2012

Michael Burns tests Photoshop Elements' facial recognition, photo fix tools, and organizer. He praises Adobe for bringing the Organizer in line with competition.

7. PC World

Photoshop Elements 11, Lesa Snider, Sept. 26, 2012

Photoshop Elements 11 gets a rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars after a detailed review of features and benefits.

"The new guided edits are timely and practical, and the Refine Edge dialog enhancements are great for creating tough selections. If you've got the money and value your eyesight, Adobe Photoshop Elements 11 is a great upgrade."

8. TechRadar.com

Adobe Photoshop Elements 11 Review: Photoshop Elements Has Grown Up, Steve Caplin, Oct. 25, 2012

TechRadar editors give Photoshop Elements 11 a rating of 4 out of 5 stars. The reviewer provides a comprehensive listing of Photoshop Elements' capabilities and tools.

9. What Digital Camera

Adobe Photoshop Elements 11 Review, Mike Topham, Dec. 4, 2012

Mike Topham tests out the software's new features, as well as performance, and interface. While he says it's not "groundbreaking," the software does give you a lot for the money.

10. CNET

Adobe Photoshop Elements 11: Easier on the Eyes, Lori Grunin, Sept. 25, 2012

Lori Grunin lays out what's new in PSE11. She enjoys the larger layout and palette, but notes a couple of bugs, particularly with some of the lighting adjustments (similar to bugs in Lightroom 4), and mentions that newbies might be frazzled with the not-so-obvious operations.