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The Organizer can keep track of your photos no matter where you store them, whether that's on your computer, or on external media, like an external drive or a DVD. To do that, the Organizer uses databases, which are called catalogs in Elements. In this movie, I'll explain the catalog system, and I'll show you how to make a new catalog for the exercise files or your own practice files that you'll use as you work with me through this course. An Organizer catalog contains a record of each photo that you include in the Organizer.
It's important to understand that that record is not the actual photo. It's just information about the photo, and that information includes a thumbnail sized copy of each photo for display here in the Organizer, along with information about the photo, like the date on which the photo was taken, and other information from the digital camera, and a link to the photo wherever you store it. So when you bring photos into the Organizer in the next movies, you won't actually be importing photos into the Organizer itself. Instead, you'll be importing information about, and links to, those photos.
Here you can see some personal photos that I have in a catalog. These are not part of the exercise files, and for personal photos like these, most people use just the default catalog: the one that opens when you first launch the Organizer. You can see the name of that catalog down here in the bottom left corner of the Organizer. There are good reasons to use just one catalog. For one thing, Elements can search for photos only in one catalog at a time, and for another it's just easier to keep track of one catalog than multiple catalogs. But there are some special cases when you might want to have a separate catalog.
For example, if you shoot a lot of weddings, and you want to keep one client's photos separate from your other clients, then you could have a separate catalog for each client. And for purposes of this course, if you're following along with the exercise files, or you're using your own practice files, you might want to keep those files separate from your personal photos. In that case, here's how to create a new catalog for the exercise files, or your practice files. I'll go up to the File menu and I'll choose Catalog. That opens the Catalog Manager.
From here there are lots of functions you can use to manage your catalogs, including converting any old catalog that you have from a previous version of Elements into a Photoshop Elements 10 catalog. For now, I just want to create a new catalog. So I'll click New, and I'll give my new catalog a name. I'll call this Ex Files, and I'll click OK. That closes the Catalog Manager, and in the Organizer I now have a new empty catalog. You can see there are no thumbnails here in the content area, and down at the bottom left, you can see that I'm in my new Ex Files catalog.
I'm going to use this catalog for the next movies, and you may want to do the same, but I could get back to my personal photos at any time by going up to the File menu, again, choosing Catalog, and selecting the name of my personal photos catalog, and then clicking Open. I'm going to stick with my exercise files catalog for now, so I'll just go back to that one and I'll click Cancel. Now with this new empty exercise files catalog, we're ready to learn how to get information about photos into Elements' Organizer.
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