Coronavirus (COVID-19) information: All courses at all locations are available as live online classes. Limited in-person classes in some locations. Our offices remain open. Learn more.


Photoshop Elements Tutorial: Reviewing photos in Photoshop Elements

What you’ll learn in this Photoshop Elements Tutorial:

  • Comparing photos
  • Creating a new album
  • Creating a Smart Album

This tutorial provides you with a foundation for working with Adobe Photoshop Elements albums. It is the second lesson in the Adobe Photoshop Elements 10 Digital Classroom book.

Photoshop Elements Tutorial: Reviewing photos in Photoshop Elements

Once you’ve eliminated the photos that you definitely don’t want, you can review the photos that remain. This can include grouping similar photos together or viewing photos side by side.

Compare photos side by side

When you have several photos of the same subject, it’s often difficult to evaluate them in a simple thumbnail view. Photoshop Elements allows you to view photos in a side-by-side view to make it easier to evaluate and rate your photos.

1 Type sunset in the Search text field in the Options bar at the top-right of the workspace to display only the sunset images.

2 Select the first thumbnail, then Shift+click the last thumbnail to select all the images being displayed. You can also press Ctrl+A (Windows) or Command+A (Mac OS) on your keyboard after clicking the first photo to select all the visible photos.

3 Press the Display icon () in the menu bar at the top of the workspace, and choose Compare Photos Side by Side, or press Ctrl+F12 (Windows) or Command+F12 (Mac OS) on your keyboard.

4 By default, the photo on the left is highlighted. Press the left and right arrow keys on your keyboard to move through the photos.

5 When you find an image that you like, click the photo on the right side to select it and use the left and right arrow keys on your keyboard to navigate through the photos. This allows you to easily compare photos to each other.

Comparing photos side by side.

6 In this side-by-side view, you can also rate images. Select either photo (left or right) that is being displayed. Position your cursor at the left of the screen to activate the QuickEdit panel (it hides after your mouse is idle) and click a star at the top to give it a rating from one to five. Star ratings toggle on and off as you click on them.

7 Press the Full Screen View button () in the Options bar at the bottom of the screen to expand each image to fill your screen. You can also rate photos in this view using the QuickEdit panel and navigate from photo to photo using the left and right arrow keys on your keyboard or by using the left and right buttons in the Options bar.

8 Press Esc on your keyboard to exit Full Screen mode or the side-by-side view and return to the Organizer.


When you have several images of the same subject or event, or images that look a lot alike, it becomes a bit daunting to look at in the Organizer. All the images look the same and they also occupy a lot of room when they are displayed. Stacks allow you to group similar photos together to make browsing photos easier, but you can see the contents of a stack easily at any time.

1 Type farm in the Search text field in the Options bar to display all the farmland images. If the filenames are not displayed, choose View > Show File Names. If that option is already selected, drag the Adjust size of thumbnail slider until the filenames are displayed.

2 Select the first image, then Shift+click the last image to select them all.

3 Choose Edit > Stack > Stack Selected Photos. The selected photos are condensed into a stack.

4 Click the triangle to the right of the stack thumbnail to expand the stack. To collapse the stack again, click the triangle to the right of the stack thumbnail.

The expanded stack.

5 If you decide later that you don’t want the photos grouped in a stack, select the collapsed stack and choose Edit > Stack > Unstack photos to release them.

Organizing using albums

Photoshop Elements provides a variety of ways to use albums when organizing your photos. Additionally, you can use different types of albums to organize your photos depending on your particular need.

Creating a new album

Like physical photo albums, Photoshop Elements allows you to organize different pictures together into collections. For example, you could create a collection of all the photos of your trip to Disney World, your nephew’s 10th birthday party, or, as you will do in this example, a collection of Washington D.C. photos.

1 Press the Show All button in the Organizer to display all images. Make sure there are no images selected in the Organizer by clicking in the gray area between the photos. Press the Create new album or album category button () in the Albums panel, and choose New Album.


To ease the process of applying an album to photos, you can do searches in the Search text field to limit the displayed photos.

2 In the Album Details panel, type Washington in the Album Name text field. Click to deselect the checkmark for Backup/Synchronize (this option is not available in the free trial version if you are using it), and press Done. The new album appears in the Album list. You could add images to the album at this step, but for this exercise, you will add images later.

Albums in Photoshop Elements function like traditional albums.

3 You are now going to apply the album to the photos in the Organizer. Click the album and drag it onto the photo named Lincoln Memorial. The photo is added to this album, and the Album icon () appears under the photo.

The Album icon in the image indicates that the photo is a part of an album.

4 Click and drag the Washington album to the following photos: Capitol Building, Washington Monument at Night, Washington Monument, White House, Washington DC Street Scene, and Statue of Lincoln.

5 To view only photos in the new Washington album, select the album name in the Albums panel.

6 To view all your images, press the Show All button at the top of the Media Browser or click the Washington album a second time.


 Once again, if you do not see the icon for the album in the thumbnails, adjust the size of the thumbnail slider to the right until the album icon appears.

These tutorials are created by and the team of expert instructors at American Graphics Institute.