Don’t Retag: How to Convert Your Old Photoshop Elements Catalog

convert-photoshop-elements-catalogI took your class on organizing supplies.  I learned a few things from the class... but I am sure I missed something.  I appreciate the help as I am retagging 13 years of photos and 30,000 plus items because I moved PSE 11 and it WILL not recognize my catalogs from PSE 10.  UGH!

Thank you,


Oh no! Just wait a second! You should not need to retag...

Photoshop Elements Organizer, should look for old catalogs when you first install it and prompt you about converting them. But if you accidentally cancel out of that process, it's not super obvious how to convert an old catalog.

How to Upgrade/Convert your Catalog to a new Version of Photoshop Elements

  1. If you still have your older version of Photoshop Elements  installed, open it up and follow the directions here This will backup your metadata for you! May take an hour or more. If you uninstalled your old version PSE, just skip this step.
  2. Then, open up your new version of Photoshop Elements Organizer and select File - Manage Catalogs...
    manage catalog
  3. Click Convert
  4. It will say loading for a while, then it will list all your older catalog
    convert old photoshop elements catalog
  5. Click on the one that says it was created by your old version of PSE. If it doesn't show, check the box for Show Previously converted Catalogs.
  6. Click Convert.
  7. Then Photoshop Elements will do its thing, and will tell you the name for the catalog it just converted
  8. When you get back to the Catalog manager choose the newly converted catalog, click open and voilà, NO RETAGGING! :)

If for some reason you run into trouble converting the catalog, jump back to the old version of PSE and follow the troubleshooting steps here.

If you are moving from a PC to a Mac, the instructions are here.

Are you having issues moving to a new version of Photoshop Elements? Ask me your questions below!


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  • Heather Dubarry

    I wish I’d had this when I moved from PSE3 to 9. Ahh… ancient times. Now I’m trying to figure out (on a Mac) whether or not I should add Lightroom to my organizational capabilities. Using the standard settings for iPhoto is getting a bit unwieldy with my giant pile of almost 30K digi pics.

    • Melissa Shanhun

      Heather, if you are already using iPhoto, Aperture is like the big brother program :) so it will move over perfectly.

      Do you mostly organize or are you wanting the editing capabilities of Lightroom?

      • Heather Dubarry

        I mostly want it for organization purposes, and since I’m paying for Adobe cloud, it makes since not to pay more for Aperture.
        I really don’t like how iphoto imports pics. But I should have set that up when I first switched to mac three years ago.

        • Melissa Shanhun

          Fair enough! Just be aware LR doesn’t delete them off your camera (mind you neither does iPhoto by default). Don’t ask how I know this…. lets just say that my parents in law had a very full camera ;P

    • Melissa Shanhun

      Also 30K pics isn’t that many LOL! ;P