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What does Photoshop Elements Organizer "import" actually do, and why is importing needed? Where does it put the photos after it imports them? Why can't I just leave them where they are?
Like, never you trouble your little mind about that, just do it, you'll like it, we at Adobe know what's best for you.
OK, here's my new-user rant: It irritates me that I should even have to ask this here, like I'm too stupid to understand what a computer does. The brain-dead Help docs don't even hint that anyone might want to know this. I want the organizer to leave my pictures right where they are, and documentation that doesn't even address this is crappy documentation. But I know there's no chance in hell they will fix that,
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It creates a map of where the images are, and provides a thumbnail-- it leaves your images right where they are.
Once you start using organizer, try to not move your images around- Organizer will get confused about it.
It looks for images where you tell it to look-- the very first time I told it to check two harddrives for all images--- DON'T DO THAT! It finds every simgle little icon for every program-- I had something crazy like over 300,000 images- I had to redo the intial "import"- telling it to look in specificl folders.
You are given basically two options: backup the catalogue- which is just the map (think of it as a card catalogue), or the catalogue, and the images.
That's a pretty simple description, but does cover the basics.
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First about your rant:
I do agree that the help docs don't help new organizer users to understand how to START to use it, even if the docs are everywhere and very detailed.
About the docs:
Just type 'import media' in the text search line on top of the home screen: you get everything you should know in details. The first requirement when beginning is to know how to search available help. The home screen is often skipped by advanced users as well as beginners. A Google search will also give you similar info. Type "helpx; import media in the organizer". Many useful links. Also, why not use the search function of this forum?
After more that ten years answering about the same question in this forum, I am convinced that both the new users and Adobe helpers have misconceptions.
- Everything in the docs supposes the reader is already aware of the key difference between a media browser (Explorer, Finder, Bridge) and a catalog-based asset management software like the organizer or Lightroom.
- Most users are in a hurry to start organizing and getting their photos and have no idea about catalogs and databases. For them, there is no other option for the software to store the data somewhere on the disk(s). So, to get them ready to understand the concept, we take other example in everyday's life;
1 - a catalog booklet of the Louvre museum: all the items in the collection have descriptions starting with the location in the different rooms, the genre, the author, the size. Also a small image. All that information is available whether your are in the museum or at home. Moving the catalog does not change its contents. If a number of paintings have been moved or lent to another museum, they are "missing" in the Louvre, but you still can see the little image. The organizer catalog works the same with a strong database system which is far superior and faster than the indexes at the end of the booklet.
- a common warehouse. Imagine how a truck coming from a given supplier will store the various palettes into the racks. Each palette will be stored in any of the empty spaces according to optimization algorithms and its location will be stored in a database. All the truck palettes will be stored apparently randomly and certainly not together. That's the same for the idea of managing any kind of files in the Explorer or Finder.
The word "Import"
It's so ambiguous! Not only in English.
So, pay a particular attention to the differences:
- Import from files and folders: register, index, create a card.. for a media file in the database of the catalog. No copy nor duplication of the file. A lot of indexing and creation of a thumbnail.
- Import from photo or card reader: download, copy from those devices to your computer AND registering as above.
- Import in bulk. A newer way to scan your computer and to decide or not what you want to enter in your catalog when starting from scratch. Be sure to understand what that does, otherwise skip it and import selectively from your chosen folder trees.
The organizer does not think for you, you are the boss and whichever "Importing" mode above you need to use for a particular task, it's important to guide the process for both clean 'downloads' and clean registering in the catalog(s). This forum is a excellent place for you to go more in details about catalogs.
Thank you Michel. First question: What to you mean by "the text search line on top of the home screen"? There is no such search line at the top of my Organizer when I open it. Are you perhaps referring to the "What would you like to do today?" text window at top of the Adobe Photoshop Elements 2021 screen that does not identify itself as any sort of "home" screen?
I tried that, and it have me a long list of ways to do things. NOTHING provided any context, or told me what the organizer actually does, or how. No damn way am I turning that organizer loose on all of my pictures untill I know that. I don't want to know how. I want to know what!
Good documentation provides context. None here. Good documentation is TESTED on new users, to see if they find it helpful and easy to use. This is a well-defined discipline know as USER TESTING. I guess Adobe doesn't need to do this, because they are experts. I learned a long time ago as a software developer, you NEVER let experts and programmers write documentation for users, expecially new users. Experts _cannot_ see their product from the outside, like new users must.
I have been doing IT for many decades. I know very well the difference between an indexing tool and a database. That's why I asked the question: the documentation is entirely unclear what this super-duper whiz-bang magic organizer tool actually is and does.
Thank you very much for clarifying what Adobe means by "import" in the context of the Organizer. It sounds like the first definition is actually a misuse of the term: nothing is actually imported. And that's really the only function I want to use, at least initially. Oh, well, now I have context for what the tool actually does, I can decide how I want to proced.
It would be nice if Adobe documentation writers paid attention to feedback, and used user testing, but I know better that to ask for that.