Elements Workspace
Tool Bars and Option Bar

The Photoshop Elements workspace can be very intimidating when you're new to Photoshop Elements for your digital editing and scrapbooking projects - relax - they are not that difficult to learn ...

The tools in the tool bar are used for digital editing which is part, but not nearly all, of a scrapbooking project.  Digital editing of the images will typically be completed before the scrapbook page is started. 

Photoshop Elements is the top selling Digital Editing program in the world.  It's not as powerful as the full version of Photoshop and it will handle most editing projects.

It also appears that Adobe manages to add and include more and more of the full Photoshop features into each version.  This is a great message for Elements users.

Throughout the different versions of Elements, the tool bars and the Elements Workspace have  been modified.  Depending on the version you have some of the looks may be somewhat different.  It may appear to be intimidating at first but the Elements Workspace will soon enough be second nature to you,

Let's dig into the Elements Workspace and Toolbars.

Photoshop Elements Main Window

The Elements workspace has everything you need to successfully complete a photo editing project.

Down the left side of the window are the Elements Tools (more discussion on the tools later).

The right side of the workspace defaults to the Layers palette.  Whenever a palette is selected from the Window menu it will show up on the right side of the screen.

The bottom of the Elements workspace changes and it depends on what you are doing.  When a tool is selected the options for the tools will show up here.  

When Photo Bin is chosen then the open images will be displayed here

The Photoshop Elements window provides modes to create and edit images. Select one of the following options:

Quick Mode Enables you to edit photos in the Quick mode.  The Quick mode contains simple tools for correcting color and lighting, and commands to quickly fix common problems, such as red eye.

Guided Mode Enables you to edit photos in the Guided Edit mode.  The Guided mode contains tools for basic photo edits, guided activities, and photographic effects. If you are new to digital imaging, Quick or Guided modes are a good place to start fixing photos.

Expert Mode Enables you to edit photos in the Expert mode.The Expert mode has tools to correct color problems, create special effects, and enhance photos.  

The Expert mode provides a flexible and powerful image-correction environment. It has lighting and color-correction commands, along with tools for fixing image defects, making selections, adding text, and painting on your images.

You can rearrange the Expert workspace to best suit your needs. You can move, hide, and show panels, and arrange panels in the Panel Bin. You can also zoom in or out of the photo, scroll to a different area of the document window, and create multiple windows and views.

Elements Workspace
The Toolbar

Really - when you look at it - the Elements Toolbar is a thing of beauty.

Everything you will ever need to edit your pictures, create fabulous art or just have some artistic fun is right there for you.

The top two are basic and quite easy to understand ...

Magnifying Glass - for zooming in and out of the work space.

Hand Tool - for panning around the work space.

When any of the tools is selected the options for that tool will appear at the bottom of the Elements Workspace.  

Check out the various options for each tool.  This is the option bar for the Brush Tool.

Select Tools

Move Tool - The Move tool lets you cut and drag a selection to a new location in an image. You can also use the tool to move or copy selections between photos in Photoshop Elements, and to photos in other applications that support selections.

Rectangular Marquee - Makes a rectangular selection (or a square, when used with the Shift key).  and the Elliptical Marquee produces an elliptical selection (or a circle, when used with the Shift key).

Lasso Tool - The Lasso Tool makes an irregular selection around an object.
The Magnetic Lasso tool draws a selection border that automatically snaps to the edges of objects you drag over in an image set against high-contrast backgrounds.
The Polygonal Lasso tool draws straight-edged segments of a selection border. You can create as many segments as you need to draw a selection border.

Quick Selection - The Quick Selection tool makes a selection based on color and texture similarity when you click or click-drag the area you want to select. The mark you make doesn’t need to be precise, because the Quick Selection tool automatically and intuitively creates a border.

Enhance Tools

Red Eye Tool - The Red Eye Tool eliminates red eye, ghost eye and fixes pet ey with one click.

Spot Healing BrushThe Spot Healing Brush tool quickly removes blemishes and other imperfections in your photos. 
The Healing Brush tool lets you correct imperfections, causing them to disappear into the surrounding image. Like the cloning tools, you use the Healing Brush tool to paint with sampled pixels from an image or pattern.

Detail Smart BrushThe Smart Brush tool and the Detail Smart Brush tool apply tonal and color adjustments to specific areas of a photo.

Clone Stamp ToolThe Clone Stamp tool paints with an image sample, which you can use to duplicate objects, remove imperfections, or paint over objects in your photo.
The Pattern Stamp Tool paints a pattern into a selection or into a blank layer.

Blur Tool - The Blur Tool softens hard edges or hard areas of an image by reducing detail.
The Sharpen Tool hardens soft edges or soft areas of an image by enhancing detail.

Dodge Tool - The Sponge Tool Saturates or Desaturates areas of an image.  
The Dodge and Burn Tools darken or lighten areas of an image. 

Painting Tools

The painting tools change the color of pixels in an image.

The Paint Brush Tool and Pencil Tool work like traditional drawing tools by applying color to pixels with brush strokes.

The Gradient Tool and Paint Bucket tool apply color to large areas. 

The Eyedropper tool makes it easy to copy a color without having to select a swatch.

The Eraser Tool modifies or eliminates color in an area of an image.

The Eyedropper tool makes it easy to copy a color without having to select a swatch.

Shape Tools makes vector shapes in a document

The Text Tool makes it easy to add text to a document or an image.

Modify Tools

Crop ToolThe Crop tool removes the part of an image surrounding the crop marquee, or selection. Cropping is useful for removing distracting background elements and creating a focus for your photo. 

Recompose ToolThe Recompose tool facilitates intelligent re-sizing of photos without changing important visual content such as people, building, animals, and more. 

Content Aware Move - This tool allows you to to move two elements in an image closer together while maintaining the integrity of the background.

Straighten Tool - This tool makes it easy to realign an image either horizontally or vertically.


The top color is the foreground color and the color behind it is the background color.

Clicking the little two headed arrow line will swap the foreground and background colors.

Clicking the little black and white swatch changes the foreground and background color to black and white.

Clicking on the foreground swatch opens the color picker where you can select a new color.

Practice will help make you confident using the tools and moving around the Elements Workspace.

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