View Full Version : Graphic design: Can PS Elements handle Photoshop .psd files (not photos, graphics)

10-21-2015, 11:35 AM
A friend of mine had a question that I cannot answer, so I'm turning to the experts here. He asked whether Photoshop Elements can open and edit Photoshop CC .psd files. I've done a quick search and the answers seem to be "well, maybe, if the .psd isn't too complex or CMYK or ..." All that is great, but the specific files are labels to be put on products, have up to 10 layers, no photos, but do occasionally require editing (the product is a food product and the ingredients occasionally change, necessitating an edit of the label). One way to handle it is to convert the label to an image (.jpg, .png, whatever) and then do the edits of it as an image, but that is awkward when you want to match fonts, line up elements, change weights or measures, that would be much more easily edited as text than as an image.

So, what say the experts? $100 for Elements or $10/month for full PS?


10-23-2015, 05:45 PM
Well, I tried it and...

Some of the files give the warning:

This document contains unknown data which will be discarded to keep layers editable. To preserve the original appearance instead, choose Flatten to load composite data as a flattened image.

Flatten? or Keep Layers?

So, as one would expect, you might be able to open it as a layered file (I was able to) but not have access to some advanced tools used in the work. For example, I opened a graphics file I created with 8 layers and the Elements version shows 8 layers like the original and even seems to indicate that those layers have some effects added but there is no way to edit those effects. Some example effects are bevel, emboss, stroke and outer glow on text elements. So, it would be a crap shoot and seems to depend on how advanced the effects are on your .psd file. Or you can open as a flattened image but how would you edit at that point, except maybe to try and add a layer or mask on top-- not a fun process.

If you are using it as a professional tool, I would recommend that you just spring for Photoshop CC. It will surely save you time (and $$) in the long run. BTW, I used Elements 10 and CC 2015 for this test.

10-23-2015, 05:53 PM
There is a reason why Elements is $100 and Photoshop (when it was sold as a standalone product) was $700. I believe you've found one of those reasons.

10-24-2015, 12:02 PM
Yeah, that's what I figured, but I thought I'd ask. I've already told him that I recommend the subscription, but he is hesitating, so I thought I would ask.


10-24-2015, 02:59 PM
There's no risk in the subscription.

10-24-2015, 04:32 PM
That's what I told him.

10-26-2015, 12:06 PM
Just a followup to close this one out. I downloaded the trial version of Elements and then tried to open the .psd files. Worked great. In Expert mode I could see all the layers and they are available for edit as he may need to do. So it looks like Elements will work for him just fine, given the limited use of the fancier layer effects. Thanks for the comments.