Bugs & Fixes: Photoshop Elements 9 importing issue

With Photoshop Elements 9 ( ), Adobe significantly improves on what was already a superb consumer-level photo-editing application. For me, the most exciting new feature is the Spot Healing Brush Tool’s Content-Aware option (first introduced in Photoshop CS 5). With this tool, editing out unwanted objects is so easy that our black cat has been using it to remove any evidence of our white cat from family photos.

Enthused with the possibility of rescuing my poorer snapshots from the dustbin, I launched Elements’ companion Organizer program and selected to import all the photos from my iPhoto Library into Organizer’s bin. It didn’t work.

I waited about 20 minutes and the photos still hadn’t imported. Worse, Organizer’s Dock menu now listed the application as “not responding.” This is AppleSpeak for “Your program is most likely frozen; time to force quit and try again.” I did try again—with no change in the result.

A thread at Adobe’s Support Forums confirms that other users are having the same symptom. One obvious suggestion is that, with very large iPhoto Libraries, the import might be taking an unexpectedly long time. If I had not force quit and just waited some more, I might have ultimately had success. Indeed, one user found that, after waiting 25 minutes, their 5000 picture Library imported. However, for another user, Organizer froze when trying to import only “one small event”! That matches my experience. In any case, it’s not good form for a program to put up a spinning beachball and become completely non-responsive for long periods of time. There is not even a workable Cancel option at this point.

An apparent reply from Adobe confirms this bug, adding: “We are working on finding a resolution to this issue.”

One final—and very serious—warning: A posting in the thread suggested an alternative for avoiding the freeze when importing: Instead of using Organizer’s File -> Get Photos and Video -> From iPhoto… command, click the Display option in the top right of the window and choose Folder Location. From here, select to import the desired iPhoto folder(s). Don’t be tempted to try this! In default setups, if you later edit any of the imported files with Photoshop Elements, the modified files will be saved back to your iPhoto Library. The potential result, as discovered by a couple of users, is corruption of the library and loss of your photos. There should be no risk of this happening if you instead use Organizer’s recommended Get Photos and Video route.

At a Glance
  • Pros

    • New Organizer automates photo tagging with Smart Tags
    • Facebook integration
    • Real layer masks
    • Spot Healing Brush and PhotoMerge Panorama include Content-Aware Fill option


    • Organizer causes system slow-down when importing multiple raw files
    • No getoagging capabilities in Organizer
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