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How to use this book

How to use this book

Do you look at the pictures in a book or newspaper before anything else on a page? Would you rather see an image instead of read about how to do something? Search no further. This book is for you. Opening Teach Yourself VISUALLY Photoshop Elements 8 allows you to read less and learn more about Photoshop Elements 8.

Who Needs This Book

This book is for readers who have never used image-editing software and want to learn how to work with digital photos on their computers. It is also for more computer-literate individuals who want to expand their knowledge of the different features that Photoshop Elements 8 has to offer.

Book Organization

Teach Yourself VISUALLY Photoshop Elements 8 has 17 chapters.

Chapter 1, Getting Started, introduces you to the two main parts of Photoshop Elements 8: the Editor and the Organizer. In the Editor, you can change the look of your photos, combine different parts of images into one using layers, and correct imperfections in your photos. The Organizer allows you to categorize the photos in your collection so you can easily find them later and use them in projects.

In Chapter 2, Acquiring and Storing Digital Images, you learn how to import digital photos into the Elements environment as well as how to open and save your work.

Chapter 3, Organizing Your Photos, covers the Elements Organizer, which lets you browse your collection of images, view them at full screen or as a slide show, and caption your photos.

Chapter 4, Advanced Organizing Tools, teaches you how to categorize your photos with keyword tags, automatically recognize faces, and place your photos on a map.

Chapter 5, Image-Editing Basics, shows you how to resize your photos in the Elements workspace and undo changes when you make mistakes.

Chapter 6, Selection Techniques, introduces you to the many different tools for selecting objects in your photos.

Chapter 7, Manipulating Selections, teaches you how to change the shape and orientation of objects in your photos after you have selected the objects.

Chapter 8, Layer Basics, gives you extensive information about Elements layers, which allow you to separate objects in your photo from one another and then style the objects independently.

Chapter 9, Retouching Photos, shows you how to eliminate imperfections by performing automatic fix commands, cloning from other parts of a photo, or cropping out unneeded content.

Chapter 10, Enhancing Contrast and Exposure, covers some of the many lighting commands and tools in Photoshop Elements 8.

Chapter 11, Enhancing Colors, introduces features for changing hues in your photos, correcting colorcasts, and converting photos to black and white.

Chapter 12, Painting and Drawing on Photos, covers the different brush tools, which enable you to paint both color and special effects onto your photos. It also introduces tools that allow you to overlay shapes.

Chapter 13, Applying Filters, gives you a look at some of the more than 100 filters in Photoshop Elements 8, which are tools for adding special effects to photos or objects within a photo.

Chapter 14, Adding Text Elements, teaches you how to apply stylized lettering to your photos to inform or decorate.

In Chapter 15, Applying Styles and Effects, you learn about the customizable features available in the Effects panel. These features let you quickly apply color or 3-D effects to your photos.

Chapter 16, Presenting Photos Creatively, covers some of the photo-based projects you can complete in Photoshop Elements 8. You can make slide shows, combine several photos into a panorama, create greeting cards, and more.

Chapter 17, Saving and Sharing Your Work, shows you how to save your photos after you have customized or optimized them and then share your photos with friends or family by e-mail. It also introduces the sharing and backup services available at

Chapter Organization

This book consists of sections, all listed in the book's table of contents. A section is a set of steps that show you how to complete a specific computer task.

Each section, usually contained on two facing pages, has an introduction to the task at hand, a set of full-color screen shots and steps that walk you through the task, and a set of tips. This format allows you to quickly look at a topic of interest and learn it instantly.

Chapters group together sections with a common theme. A chapter may also contain pages that give you the background information needed to understand the sections in a chapter.

What You Need to Use This Book

To install and run Photoshop Elements 8, you need a computer with the following:

  • An Intel or compatible processor running at 2 GHz or faster

  • Microsoft Windows XP with Service Pack 2 or 3, Windows Vista, or Windows 7

  • Color monitor with a 1024×768 or greater resolution

  • 1GB of RAM

  • 1.5GB of available hard-drive space

You may find the following useful for capturing digital photos to use in Elements:

  • Digital camera

  • Image scanner

  • Digital camcorder

The program's Web features require an Internet connection and a Web browser. The following browsers are supported:

  • Microsoft Internet Explorer 6, 7, and 8; Firefox 1.5, 2, and 3; and Safari 2.0

Using the Mouse

This book uses the following conventions to describe the actions you perform when using the mouse:


Press your left mouse button once. You generally click your mouse on something to select something on the screen.


Press your left mouse button twice. Double-clicking something on the computer screen generally opens whatever item you have double-clicked.


Press your right mouse button. When you right-click on anything on the computer screen, the program displays a shortcut menu containing commands specific to the selected item.

Click and Drag and then Release the Mouse

Move your mouse pointer and hover it over an item on the screen. Press and hold down the left mouse button. Now, move the mouse to where you want to place the item and then release the button. You use this method to move an item from one area of the computer screen to another.

The Conventions in This Book

A number of typographic and layout styles have been used throughout Photoshop Elements 8 to distinguish different types of information.


Bold type represents the names of commands and options that you interact with. Bold type also indicates text and numbers that you must type into a dialog box.


Italic words introduce a new term, which is then defined.

Numbered Steps

You must perform the instructions in numbered steps in order to successfully complete a section and achieve the final results.

Bulleted Steps

These steps point out various optional features. You do not have to perform these steps; they simply give additional information about a feature.

Indented Text

Indented text tells you what the program does in response to your following a numbered step. For example, if you click a certain menu command, a dialog box may open or a window may open. Indented text may also tell you what the final result is when you follow a set of numbered steps.


Notes give additional information. They may describe special conditions that may occur during an operation. They may warn you of a situation that you want to avoid — for example, the loss of data. A note may also cross-reference a related area of the book. A cross-reference may guide you to another chapter or to another section within the current chapter.

Icons and Buttons

Icons and buttons are graphical representations within the text. They show you exactly what you need to click to perform a step.

You can easily identify the tips in any section by looking for the TIPS icon. Tips offer additional information, including tips, hints, and tricks. You can use the TIPS information to go beyond what you have learned in the steps.

Operating System Difference

The screenshots used in this book were captured by using the Windows Vista operating system. The features shown in the tasks may differ slightly if you are using Windows 7, Windows XP, or an earlier operating system. For example, the default folder for saving photos in Windows Vista is named "Pictures," whereas the default folder in Windows XP for saving photos is named "My Pictures." The program workspace may also look different based on your monitor resolution setting and your program preferences.

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