Today, Adobe is releasing its latest version of PSE: Photoshop Elements 2019. I’ll tell you about its new features and conclude with a recommendation on whether you should upgrade or not, just like I do every year.

You might notice that Adobe has changed their naming convention for Elements. It used to be Elements 4, 14, or whatever. But beginning with last year’s release, they name their releases after the upcoming year. That’s why this version is called Elements 2019.

Photoshop Elements 2019: The Background

Adobe’s target market for Elements is memory keepers. Memory keepers are people who enjoy:

  • celebrating life events
  • making creations from their photos
  • getting “Wow!” reactions about their photos and photo projects from friends and family

If you’re reading this blog, I’m pretty sure you enjoy all those things too!

Adobe tells me that those of us in this target market are always looking for tips, tricks, tutorials, and inspiration. And yes, I do believe I agree with them on that!

Adobe’s updates to Elements this year offer features that Adobe thinks will speak to this market and make it easier for us to create with our photos.

Photoshop Elements 2019: New Features – HEIF Support

To me, the most important new feature of the Photoshop Elements 2019 release is its support for importing and editing HEIF images on macOS. HEIF stands for High Efficiency Image File Format. iPhones running iOS 11 and later record images in the HEIF format.

HEIF files are a potential replacement to both JPGs and GIFs. HEIF images take up less storage space AND they look better. Or so they say.  Regardless, if you are an iPhone user and want to edit your mobile images in Photoshop Elements, this update will make the process smoother.

However, even without Elements 2019, you can always convert your images to JPGs when exporting them from your iPhone. And of course, you can edit JPGs in Elements.

Photoshop Elements 2019: Other New Features

In addition to HEIF support, Adobe gave us these other new features this year.

  • A new home screen that features tips, tricks, tutorials, and Auto Creations: You know how Google Photos or Apple Photos sends you messages on your phone saying that it’s designed a new photo book for you to review? Elements will do this too, with a wide variety of projects. It uses Sensei AI, an artificial intelligence engine, to choose the best photos for your projects. Auto Creations would be a great way to get familiar with projects you might not know how to do in PSE. You can also use the Help field to search for tutorials or projects.


  • A Meme Maker: This is a Guided Edit template with text and a selection of frames to create internet memes.


  • Text & Border Overlay: This is another Guided Edit tool. I like this one. The Guided Edits don’t often save me time creating an effect that I’d use, but this one would.  And, like the other Guided Edits, you can customize it in the Expert Editor if you’d like to. 


  • Multi Photo Text: Create letters out of a collection of photos.


  • Partial Sketch: I’ll just leave this one here without comment.

Note: If you know Elements well, you don’t need Elements to do the last 4 above. The Guided Edit provides shortcuts for them so that you don’t need to create the projects from scratch.

Photoshop Elements 2019: Upgrade Recommendation

For 10 years now, I’ve made an annual upgrade recommendation for Photoshop Elements. Just like in the prior years, I’ll give you my honest assessment of whether you should upgrade based on the version you currently use.

  • Upgrade from Elements 2018: Nah. Not unless you’re after a career as a meme maker.
  • Upgrade from Elements 13, 14 or 15: It depends on how comfortable you are with Elements. If you don’t need the new Guided Edits because you already know how to do them yourself, an upgrade won’t be a huge deal. However, if you use the Elements Organizer rather than Lightroom, the added features of the Elements 2018 Organizer are a great reason to change.
  • Upgrade from Elements 12 or prior: With performance improvements and new features, you’ll hardly recognize Elements 2019.