Moms Photography Blogs

Elements Users – The Best News Ever!

Photoshop Elements 14 was released on September 24, 2015. Click here to read my review of the current version of PSE.


Adobe has just released Photoshop Elements 11.  It’s available now for instant download, and CDs will ship in the next few weeks.

Elements users, if you’ve followed me for long you know that each year I report on the annual Elements upgrades.  You can look at some of the past reviews here:

You’ll notice two common threads among all those reviews.  #1, I have never recommended that everyone upgrade.  #2, I’ve always wished that Adobe would give us a better way to install actions.

Guess what, my friends?  It is now super easy to install actions into Photoshop Elements.  Super easy, as in just like full Photoshop.  Super easy, as in no more mediadatabase.  Super easy, as in no more crazy navigation paths.  And, finally, super easy, as in no more Action Player vs. Effects Panel.

Elements 11 has a new, lighter look and better organization that results in easier accessibility of key features.  I’ll cover that in more detail in another post.  But today, I want to talk about actions.

Just like full Photoshop, Elements now has an Actions Panel.

Each action set that is created appropriately by its maker will have its own folder that you can open to display all the actions within it.  Super easy, as in no more XML files to create categories!

You can see an example of an open folder in the screen shot below:


And how to you install actions?  Do you see the button with 3 horizontal lines on the top right of the Actions Panel below?  It’s just to the right of the orange arrow.  Click on it and then select “Load Actions.”


A window will open prompting you to navigate to your ATN file.  Click on it and hit the open button.  Restart Elements and use your action. That is it!

Do you notice anything else about the previous screen shot?  There is only one action file.  MCP’s Fusion, for instance, requires 180 files to work in Elements 10.  But you need only 1 in Elements 11.  Super easy, right?

How do you run actions inElements 11?

Click on the action you want to play to highlight it.  Then, click on the Play triangle at the top right of the actions panel.

Action Compatibility

In theory, most actions that work in previous versions of Elements will work in Elements 11 also.

In order to get the structure of having an action set folder with actions inside, you can install actions designed for the action player.  If the action maker has not created actions in this format, you can still use her actions, but you’ll have lots of folders with only one action each inside.

In practice, I have only tested MCP Actions in Elements 11.  There were a few glitches that need to be repaired to make the actions compatible with Elements 11, but they are all working now.

If you have purchased Elements actions from MCP in the past, you can return to the MCP website, login to your account, and go to “My Downloadable Products.”  Redownload your product.  Even if PSE 11 isn’t mentioned in the name of the product, you will find inside a new folder for PSE 11 with the action file to install.

And needless to say, any actions purchased from MCP from today on will have Elements 11 actions inside.

So, in 2012, I am recommending that everyone upgrade to Elements 11, if you are able.  If you are using PSE 8 or prior, this is a no brainer.  In addition to the Action Panel, you’ll get the Layer Mask button and the Content Aware Spot Healing tool.  Even for Elements 9 and 10 users, the time that you save installing actions will more than make up the cost of the upgrade.

While the actual Elements boxes with CDs are not shipping yet, you can purchase for immediate download at Amazon for $99.99.  I suspect that Amazon will offer upgrade pricing very shortly.  Adobe is currently offering upgrade pricing of $79.99 to prior owners of Elements.  This upgrade is available for immediate download also.

Thank you, Adobe Photoshop Elements, for listening to us and creating this fabulous upgrade!

Elements Users – The Best News Ever! was last modified: September 30th, 2015 by Erin Peloquin


  1. Chris H Says :
    Posted on September 26, 2012 at 12:58 pm

    I have PS and I have elements 10 would it worth it to upgrade have been serioulsy thinking about it

    • Erin Says :
      Posted on September 26, 2012 at 5:55 pm

      Do you use actions regularly? If so, yes.

  2. AliciaGresham
    Posted on September 26, 2012 at 1:50 pm

    I have a question…I have PSE 9 and PSE Premiere 9 version. I later upgraded to PSE 10 without the Premiere and I want to get PSE11 after reading this ad!!! Can you give me advice on how and which of these I should install on my computer for best workflow. I also have Lightroom 3 and wanted to know your opinion on 3 versus 4. How important is it to upgrade? Can I use Premiere from 9 and edit photos on PSE 11? I am confused on what I should do. It’s funny, because I have FINALLY got it understood how to load actions and now we get the EASY WAY!!! Lol! I am happy to hear it though! 🙂 Any advice is appreciated.


    • Erin Says :
      Posted on September 26, 2012 at 5:59 pm

      Here is how I use Elements and LR together. I love LR 4, but can’t tell you whether or not you should upgrade because I don’t know how you use the software.

      Do you use Premiere? If so, keep in on your computer. I believe you can use Premiere 9 and PSE 11, but you would need to confirm that with Adobe. Does that help?

      • AliciaGresham
        Posted on November 12, 2012 at 11:05 pm

        Thanks…yes I have Premiere on 9 and I have not even installed it, because I was not sure if it was compatible with Elements 10 or 11. I will check with Adobe for more info and if I find out anything I think is new info, I will share it here! Thanks so much!


  3. Lynne Butler
    Posted on September 26, 2012 at 4:52 pm

    Thank you so much for giving such a clear explanation. Your screen shots with the arrows pointing to the sections you were referring to helped enormously. You do a great job!

  4. amber peters
    Posted on September 28, 2012 at 1:08 pm

    well hallelujah! that would be worth an upgrade in my opinion!

    • Erin Says :
      Posted on September 28, 2012 at 1:11 pm

      Haha! That’s exactly what my first response was.

  5. Sara
    Posted on September 28, 2012 at 1:23 pm

    I think Lighroom 3 is much improved over Lightroom 4. I find I can pull much more detail out of the highlights and shadows than I could with Lightroom 3. I think the noise reduction and sharpening are also much improved. They also improved the adjustment brushes so you can control so many local adjustments just to certain parts of the image.

    I hardly ever use Elements now since Lightroom 4 does so many more things better than the older version did. However, seeing that you can now use actions much easier has me wondering if an upgrade from PSE 9 to PSE 11 might be worth it.

    • Erin Says :
      Posted on September 28, 2012 at 1:27 pm

      I’m the same way, Sara. I love LR 4 and spend most of my time there also. I’d say that if you do use actions a lot, the upgrade might be worth it. If not, focus on LR.

  6. Michele Says :
    Posted on September 28, 2012 at 7:38 pm

    I haven’t gotten around to installing any actions in about two years, since I upgraded from PSE 5 (yes five!!!) to PSE 9! I guess this is the upgrade I was waiting for! LOL Alas, just this past summer I upgraded to version 10 because I found it bundled with Premiere for a bargain, and my husband had been wanting to get Premiere. I guess since I haven’t missed actions much I can wait until another year. 🙂

    • Erin Says :
      Posted on September 29, 2012 at 8:35 am

      Hey Michele, if it was less than 30 days ago, contact Adobe. I think they will let you upgrade.

  7. ohbygolly Says :
    Posted on September 28, 2012 at 9:38 pm

    This is awesome awesome news!!! I don’t know I would have been aware had you not told me! So worth it to me! Do you know how many times I pass on some amazing actions just because I don’t want to take the time to upload into elements 10. I’m going to start a PSE11 piggy bank! Woohoo!

    • Erin Says :
      Posted on September 29, 2012 at 8:35 am

      Awesome! So glad I could help!

  8. Emily
    Posted on October 16, 2012 at 9:13 pm

    I have spent the past hour trying to figure out how to upload an image from my aperture program to the trial version of elements 11. My image will not upload, when elements opens, its a blank screen!! I want to pull my hair out.. Any help would be greatly appreciated!!

    • Erin Says :
      Posted on October 17, 2012 at 9:31 am

      Hi Emily. I don’t use Aperture. I would check the Aperture support website for the answer.

    • Erin Says :
      Posted on October 17, 2012 at 9:31 am

      Hi Emily. I don’t use Aperture. I would check the Aperture support website for the answer.

  9. Melissa Sands Says :
    Posted on November 11, 2012 at 8:12 pm

    Is there an easy way to transfer actions, shapes, etc from PSE 10 to PSE 11?

    • Erin Says :
      Posted on November 13, 2012 at 11:24 am

      Hi Melissa. You just reinstall them as if they were new.

  10. angela
    Posted on November 24, 2012 at 6:46 pm

    ok i am about to pull my hair out. i have upgraded to 11, and i really do love it. but the main reason i upgraded was for the better action capabilities. i have dropped my actions into the correct folder, however i have so many that i can’t see them all.
    how do you get them to fall under each main category? for instance your MCP Fusion has ‘Lemonade Stand’ and ‘Beach House’ and all that UNDER it. when i load any of my actions it has to be one by one and they don’t assemble under their main head, just as individual folders. does that make sense?
    how did you load yours so they were more organized and not a million folders with each action separated?

    also any tips on organizing the actions in the ‘effects’ category? i like the thumbnail so i can kinda see what the action does. i have so many and i’m just now really getting used to them that i don’t know them all by name.

    thanks so much for your help! i really appreciate it.

  11. Heather Zak
    Posted on December 7, 2012 at 12:39 pm

    I have PSE 11 and just purchased Florabelle Colorplay actions and it was easy to load, but I’m not able to get it to show up like they appear in PSE 10 and below (all the tutorials seem to have it within a color pallette for easy identification (within effects and thumbnails to see what each action looks like). I’ve searched and searched and can’t seem to find it anywhere. Any help would be greatly appreciated. It only came with .atn file, but the download for the prior versions had metadata and paint files.

  12. selena
    Posted on December 7, 2012 at 3:43 pm

    Thank you sweet Jesus! I had a computer crash and then a brand new computer I had to return and then finally a new one. Well new one WOULD NOT load 10! Have no clue why so I downloaded the trial of 11. I couldn’t for the life of me figure out how to get my actions on it! You have saved me about 10 years off my life! I have been probably the most frustrated person on the planet for the last 10 days!!!!!!!

  13. Selena
    Posted on December 7, 2012 at 9:52 pm

    Do I really have to load each action one at a time? I have like 400 of them! Help!! Thanks so much!

  14. Kevin Says :
    Posted on December 28, 2012 at 4:36 am

    I just upgraded from PSE 10 to 11. YAY!!! I had all kinds of actions that I loved using in 10. How do I get them into 11? I can’t find them if they’re there. If they imported, please tell me where to look! Thanks.

    • Erin Says :
      Posted on December 31, 2012 at 4:53 pm

      You install them by following the instructions above. They don’t transfer from prior versions.

  15. Christy {Christy's Customs} Says :
    Posted on January 2, 2013 at 8:02 pm

    I am new to Elements and am trying to load actions for the first time- where did you get the Actions Panel? I have never seen anything looking even similar to that in my Elements 11… I am so confused where you started, lol! Sorry -> steep learning curve apparently 😉

    • Erin Says :
      Posted on January 3, 2013 at 10:56 am

      Go to the Window menu and click on Actions.

  16. Baylee
    Posted on January 3, 2013 at 12:01 am

    Will regular photoshop actions work in elements 11? Or do they have to be elements actions? I found a photoshop action that I love but only use elements! Is there a way I can use it?

    • Erin Says :
      Posted on January 3, 2013 at 10:57 am

      Action for full Photoshop only work in Elements if the creator designed them to work in Elements.

  17. Joi
    Posted on January 6, 2013 at 10:28 am

    Thanks!! It worked!

  18. Lynn Says :
    Posted on January 26, 2013 at 12:41 pm

    I have been using iPhoto. I own Elements 9 and just bought Lightroom 4 (and a 456 page book!) I mainly do photos of gardens, flowers and landscapes. Is it necessary to have both programs? Should I upgrade to Elements 11? I worry Lightroom will have too much of a learning curve for me. Thanks for your advice!

  19. Rosie
    Posted on January 30, 2013 at 2:40 pm

    Hi Erin,
    Thanks so much for this wonderful overview! Just one question as you mention the downloadable version of PSE11: is there still the problem with running actions with the version bought and downloaded via the Mac App Store?

    I have PSE9 and I’m considering the upgrade… thanks so much!

    • Erin Says :
      Posted on January 30, 2013 at 4:51 pm

      I just don’t know, Rosie. Probably not, but I haven’t tried it.

      • Rosie
        Posted on January 30, 2013 at 5:14 pm

        Thanks, Erin! I guess then I won’t rather risk that and buy it elsewhere 🙂

  20. Jillian Brittney
    Posted on March 24, 2013 at 5:52 pm

    LOVING Elements11 and all of my actions! Question – do you know if there is a way to organize my actions?…say alphabetically? Or to create a favorites panel?
    Thank you!

  21. kristen
    Posted on June 18, 2013 at 10:41 pm

    i have absoultly no idea about anything in the photo elements software i didnt get the software to do anything professional, i see how you go to windows and action but i only have 8 options for actions where did you get so many i went to load actions and folfer is empty

    • Erin Peloquin Says :
      Posted on June 19, 2013 at 9:43 am

      Krisiten, the actions aren’t included with your software. You have to buy them from someone like MCP Actions (see the links under the Actions section of the navigation bar at the top of this web page).

  22. Amy
    Posted on August 22, 2013 at 8:31 pm

    Hey there! I just got PSE11 and I have no problem getting the actions where they need to be, and even in the effects panel. But, when I close PSE11, all my actions disappear and I have to reinstall them. Please help.

  23. Rebecca VanDyke
    Posted on August 25, 2013 at 5:35 pm

    Thank you sooo much! This was so easy, I couldn’t believe it! Now just to learn how to run them! 🙂

  24. Ann Magill-Hamilton
    Posted on September 11, 2013 at 1:15 pm

    Thanks for the great overview. I bought 11 shortly after it was released and it still sits in the box. I am still using 10. Do I need to uninstall 10 before 11? I don’t want both on my computer at this time. Thanks.

    • Erin Peloquin Says :
      Posted on September 12, 2013 at 12:35 pm

      Hi Ann. If you don’t want them both on your computer at the same time, then yes, you do need to install 10. You can do that before or after you install 11.

  25. linda
    Posted on October 4, 2013 at 12:53 pm

    I finally upgraded to pse 11 and all the action i have from Pioneer Woman seem to be no longer compatible? They all worked great in pse 10. Should I just give up on 11? There were a few of her actions that I used a lot. 🙁
    thanks for any advice,

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