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My motto when it comes to saving a file is save early and save often, and that way you really protect your file from any unexpected computer crashes or other events. How do you know when a file need saving? Well, there are two ways. If you work with your Project Bin opened in the Full Edit mode, if you've made a change to a file and you haven't saved since making that change, you'll see this little paintbrush icon at the top right of the thumbnail. If you work with your Project Bin closed, you can take a look at the document tab for the photo, and if you see an asterisk there, that means the same thing, you've made a change to the photo and you haven't saved with that change.
When you do want to save, if you don't mind saving over the last version of the photo, you can use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+S on a PC or Command+S on a Mac. If you don't want to save over the last copy, or if you are not sure, go up to the File menu and from there, instead of going to Save which will save over the last copy, go down to Save As. That will open the Save As dialog box. My dialog box opened to the same folder that contains the original copy of this photo.
I don't want to save over that original copy, so I could do one of two things. I could come down here and give the file, I'm saving another name, or I could navigate to another place on my hard drive and save there. I'm going to save it on my projects folder out on my Desktop. So I'll navigate to that folder. Now that I am in the projects folder, I could keep the name the same, but sometimes I'll add a word like edited or end to my file names when I'm done editing, that's a signal to myself that this is an edited file.
I'm going to click after the number 2 here, and just before the suffix .jpg and I'm going to type an underscore and then I'll type end. It's always better to use an underscore or a hyphen when you're naming a file. Next, I'll go to the Format menu. There are a lot of formats here, but the truth is you'll probably only use two maybe three of these. Let me tell you about those. The first is the Photoshop format. This is the native file format for Photoshop Elements and for Adobe Photoshop.
When I am working on a file and saving from time to time, I usually save in the Photoshop format, because this format will save all the special proprietary Photoshop features that I'm adding to the file, like layers and layer Styles and Filters and Effects and more. Then when I am done editing, I save a copy that I call my master copy in the Photoshop format, because that will save the file with all those little parts and pieces, so that if I ever need to come back and make a change, everything is there for me to work on.
Then if I need a file in a particular format, say JPEG, I'll make a copy of that master document and save in that other format. Let's talk about the JPEG format. This is another format that you probably use a lot. The JPEG format is often used for saving photographs, and if you shoot JPEGs, this is the format in which your photo will start when you bring it in from your camera. One of the reasons that people like to save in the JPEG format is that it compresses a photograph or makes it smaller, and that makes it easier to send by e-mail or to share with other people other ways.
But in order to make a file smaller, the JPEG format throws away a little data each time you make a change to the image, and then resave as a JPEG. So that means that you don't want to continually resave a photo over and over and over and over in the JPEG format. Now it's fine if you want to save a JPEG, once, twice or three times, but you just don't want to save the same file in JPEG format over and over. Also, keep in mind, that the JPEG format does not retain layers. It flattens all the layers in a file, so that when you reopen a JPEG, you'll only see a single layer there, which is another reason to always have a master file in the Photoshop format too, so that you can access the layers in a file.
I'll just quickly mention some other formats that you might use from time to time. There is the GIF format here, which is mostly used for saving graphics for the Web. PNG is also a format used for graphics for the Web, and TIFF is a non-lossy format that does retain layers and is often used by graphic designers for images that are going to be included in a page layout program like Adobe InDesign. Because the file, I am saving right now, is a photograph, if it were my master copy, I would save it in the Photoshop format.
Let's assume that this is just an extra copy, so I am going to go down and save it as a JPEG. So I'll select JPEG from this list. When I'm saving a file, I can have the saved copy automatically included in Elements Organizer. That's usually a good idea. I can always delete it from the Organizer if I want to. I also have the option to save in a version set with the original file. I am not going to do that in this case, but it's just another way to keep images organized. I am going to leave ICC Profile checked because I want to embed in this image a little tag of textual information called the profile that tells the printer or the next device down the line in my workflow, how I want the color in the image to look.
And I am not going to bother saving as a copy because I am already saving this image in another place and I've given it another name. Now I'll click Save. Because, I am saving in the JPEG format, I have some other choices to make about image quality. I usually leave everything here at its default except for the Quality field. The higher the quality in this field, the larger the file size will be. On a Quality scale of one to 12, I'll usually choose something like 10 and I'll click OK. So when you're saving your files, do consider the tips that I told you here and remember save early and save often.
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