Elements: How do I Avoid Duplicate Photo Imports on Mac?

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Moving from Picasa to Elements 11 on a Mac and I can't figure out how to avoid duplicate photo imports automatically. Old version instructions say to click a selection in Preferences, but that option doesn't exist in my Mac version. Is this another case of Mac folks getting a stripped down version of PC software?
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David Gerberding

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Posted 5 years ago

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Kerrie Pierce

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I am having the same problem. I have recently acquired a macbook pro with mountain lion and bought photoshop elements because I am familiar with the windows version. (I want to keep the photos i download in folders i can see, not embedded in iPhoto).
The first batch of photos i downloaded from my iphone with iphoto and then imported into photoshop organiser without a problem.
But for subsequent batches i tried to download directly using import>from camera or card reader, and saving in a named folder within Pictures (and in subfolders according to date). This was fine the FIRST time I did it, but now it does not recognise any photos IMPORTED THROUGH ELEMENTS ORGANISER as duplicates. So every time I download photos from the iphone it duplicates them in my folders.....that is....all EXCEPT the ones that I originally imported from iPhoto.
It correctly recognises these as duplicates and allows me to deselect them before import. But NOT so, for the ones downloaded directly using Elements organiser.
I theorised that Elements organiser is changing the metadata files when it imports and subsequently not recognising the original ones it detects on my phone as the same image. So I experimented with choosing 'none' instead of 'basic metadata' as metadata template, and experimented with checking the option to 'preserve current name in XMP' but it did not make any difference and continued to not recognise duplicates (but ONLY those imported directly from the phone bypassing iphoto) no matter which Elements Organiser options were used when the image was downloaded for the first time. (The size of the file was 1-2kb bigger when 'none' instead of 'basic metadata' was used for the original, though.)
THE MAIN REASON I BOUGHT PHOTOSHOP ELEMENTS INSTEAD OF USING IPHOTO WAS SO I COULD SAVE MY IMAGES IN MY OWN FOLDER STRUCTURE.
But if I cant do this without either duplicating everything each time i import, OR having to mentally keep track of all the previously imported photos and manually select only the new ones (and run the risk of missing some), then it is unwieldy and a waste of money.
And there seem to be a lot of people with this problem on other threads and not all using macs. this seems like a very basic problem and surely should be fixed by the developers?????
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Kerrie Pierce

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I have just discovered the same thing happens with my Panasonic Lumix DMC-T27. Files that are already imported are not recognised as duplicates when I take another photo and then try to import just the last photo. PSE organiser wants to import the whole card again. So far I have only tried it once with the metadata options set for "preserve current name in XMP" and "none" for metadata template (as opposed to Basic Metadata template).
I did notice in the info section for the duplicated images that the duplicates have different times. The 'Date Created' for each of the duplicates (.JPG, -1.JPG, -2.JPG -3.JPG) increases by what looks like the time it was added. Does this mean that PSE organiser is modifying the 'Date Created' info to match the time imported and then using the modified time to check for duplicates?? Of course they are all seen as new files if this is the case!! Can this bug be fixed if it is a bug?? (This would fit with the iphoto ones being recognised correctly as duplicates because the original files for these are still stored in iphoto and haven't been downloaded or modified when saved via PSE organiser.)
I have taken screen shots of an example that was imported 4 times using different options as above and the 'Date created' increases for all of them regardless of the options i fiddled with as mentioned above. I can email them to anyone who thinks it would help solve the issue.

I may be barking up the wrong tree with all of this, but any help or hope of a future fix would be much appreciated,

Thanks

Kerrie
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Rick Eugene

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We are having this same issue...and import of photos from a card was interrupted and when we downloaded the photos the 2nd time it re-imported all 2k of the one's it already had.
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David Gerberding

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This is a fatal flaw with the Mac version of this software. I have spent many weeks with Adobe support trying to narrow the issue down and each step of the way they blamed me, my settings, my preferences, my permissions etc. never once did they admit that it's a software glitch. They never will. In any case, you shouldn't have to be a software expert to use Elements and that's the way it's set up currently. The software recognizes duplicates sporadically, but I can't rely on it. You shouldn't either. Or better yet, buy different software altogether and avoid the hassle!
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aranda69

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i just find out that out painfully... i wish i can return this software for a refund... i switched thinking that it was going to be a much better option than photos in my imac and it is giving me such a headache... i am very upset and frustrated... it it wasnt because of these forums i would have gone back to photos by now.... totally disappointed! do you recommend another software? i hope a get a refund so that i can buy other software.... i think we all should keep bugging the hell out of adobe until they fix this thing... do you have a direct number and or email so that i can start doing that?... most likely... i wont get my money back!
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Brett N, Official Rep

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The detection of duplicate files should happen automatically, there is no option to disable this (there is such an option in Lightroom, so the two may be confused).

But I think you are on to the right track Kerrie. Likely some changes are happening to the files so they are no longer being recognized as the same file. Is anyone using options such as "Automatically Fix Red Eyes" in the Photodownloader import window? What about other options? What is being done to the files in the Organizer before the next import attempt?

What about importing files from the camera and immediately trying again without changing anything, and see if duplicates are detected?
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aranda69

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Hello Brett... i value your opinion, however, i think it should not be an issue to have those options changing the main objective when downloading pictures from either a mobile device or a card reader... one of the things i liked a lot in LR5 is the fact that it automatically detects a duplicate file when downloading it... and surprisingly, even with some file name changes too!
So... i think elements has a lot to improve in order to make it as user friendly as it claims to be.
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aranda69

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By the way in your last statement... i have been trying to do just that an just one time it did detect duplicates... all other times after that... it has not... it actually downloads the same file but just adds a number for the copy number... ex xxx-1 and xxx-2 etc... never doing what LR5 does which is grays it out and tell you that it is already been downloaded... any suggestions?
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Rick Eugene

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I know in our instance this is not the case. We had started an import off of a card - without and of the 'Fix Red Eye' type of options - and accidentally ejected the card after it had downloaded 2k of the 6k photo's. We immediately re-pointed to the same card and started the download. It downloaded the 2k again with others. We do not point to any special folder...we have it with the selection of making a folder with the shot date so everything is done within the app. We ended up deleting all the photo's that had been imported during the 2 sessions and just starting over pointing to the card to redownload all 6k photo's again.

This is extremely frustrating as my wife is the one using the app and she is NOT a computer person and I get the questions like 'On the PC with elements 3 it worked'. And now with elements 11 on a new 27" iMac - after an ungodly conversion - she is still having issues with things that should be pretty basic.
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Brett N, Official Rep

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Definitely not standard behavior, not even in Photoshop Elements 11 on a Mac.

Considering this is a converted catalog, try creating a new catalog and testing an import (you don't have to do 6k worth of files, a single file will suffice). See if that detects a duplicate file.
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Kerrie Pierce

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Hi Brett N,

no, i dont have any automatic red eye fixes or anything turned on in either my camera nor photoshop. I am convinced it is an automatic change to the metadata being done on import, by the software and most likely to the date and time. I have not imported a new catalogue or anything because I have been setting up a new computer with the newly purchased PSE for mac. I have not altered the catalogue/library since I installed the software.

Like Rick, I tried playing with it a bit and took a few photos with my camera (I did this with both my phone and my camera to see if it made any difference and it happened with them both!) and imported them. Then straight away took a few more photos and then repeated. It re-imported the first set of photos and did NOT recognise them as duplicates. They are being saved into folders using the option of subfolders named with the date, (automatically created by PSE on import) but within the same parent folder. These were all taken on the same day and went into the same subfolder, but were NOT recognised as duplicates. I did NOTHING to the photos between imports except to open one or two of them (but not all, it didn't matter whether they had been opened or not, they were still not recognised as duplicates.)

Unlike David, for me it is not sporadic. The only ones to be recognised as actual duplicates were imported from iphoto and were already on my computer. Everything I import directly from my camera or phone does not get recognised as a duplicate if it has already been prevoiusly downloaded. I am coping with it by deselecting all before import and reselecting only the new ones. But if it has been a while beween imports I forget what the last photo was and have to check my library so i know which ones to reselect. This is a total pain and i do run the risk or missing some.

If you are an employee, Brett, can you suggest to the developers that they pick their duplicates based on file name only, not by time and date? If users want to import photos with identical names then it is their problem and they should be aware of it. All other software (eg MS word) does this so people are used to renaming things if they want to not overwrite a file with the same name, so it is trying to be a bit too tricky to use other information to recognise duplicates....especially if that information is being automatically altered by the software itself!!!!!

Kerrie

PS
Here is something I put on a different thread (which I have not had a reply to) explaining why I think it is the time in the metadata that is being changed by PSE organiser:

"I have just discovered the SAME THING HAPPENS with my Panasonic Lumix DMC-T27. Files that are already imported are not recognised as duplicates when I take another photo and then try to import just the last photo. PSE organiser wants to import the whole card again. So far I have only tried it once with the metadata options set for "preserve current name in XMP" and "none" for metadata template (as opposed to Basic Metadata template).
I did notice in the info section for the duplicated images that the duplicates have different times. The 'Date Created' under "file properties" for each of the duplicates (.JPG, -1.JPG, -2.JPG -3.JPG) increases by what looks like the time it was added by the organiser.

Does this mean that PSE organiser is modifying the 'Date Created' info to match the time imported and then at next import it is using the modified "date Created" time to check for duplicates?? Of course they are all seen as new files if this is the case!! Can this bug be fixed if it is a bug?? (This would fit with the iphoto ones being recognised correctly as duplicates because the original files for these are still stored in iphoto and haven't been downloaded or modified when saved via PSE organiser.)
I have taken screen shots of an example that was imported 4 times using different options as above and the 'Date created' increases for all of them regardless of the options i fiddled with as mentioned above. I can email them to anyone who thinks it would help solve the issue."
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Brett N, Official Rep

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Hello Kerrie, your experience is definitely not what most people encounter with this software (although 100% of people who say they have this problem do have this problem, it's simply rare when you take into consideration all of those silent voices that don't talk about the fact that the software works for them in this regard).

You mention that the import process is placing the files into sub folders based on date. Is it placing them into different folders as if the dates have changed? That would be very odd as the dates would be determined by reading the files from the device. These files are then copied into the sub folders. The files on the device should never be changed by the Elements Organizer. Or are the files being imported to the same folder because they have the same date, and thus Organizer is having to rename the files so that the original is not overwritten?

The duplication detection is determined by more than just date and time, but it also takes into consideration the file name (it doesn't just use the file name because on many cameras, if you change out the memory card the file numbering will start over, thus there would be many false positives).

Would you be able to send me two copies of a file that Elements Organizer failed to detect as duplicates? So these would be a copy of the file from the original import and a copy of the file after an additional import and the duplication was not detected. You can simply import a new file from the device to make things easier. Send the files to bnemecek [AT] adobe [DOT] com.
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Michel BRETECHER, Champion

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Brett,
About the duplication detection ;
- What are the real criteria : exact date/time to 1/100th second and file size as often reported in forums (pixel size or Mb) ?
- Have those criteria changed in different organizer versions ?

Knowing that would help in finding the specific conditions in which duplicates are created.
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Brett N, Official Rep

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Exact time/date of the file (everything that is in the metadata field, but remember that files can have many date/time stamps, the one the Organizer cares about should not ever change), file name, file size. Yes, all of these things are being taken into consideration when duplicate detection is being used.

These criteria have never changed.
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Kerrie Pierce

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Hi Brett,

To address a couple of issues, just because the majority are silent does not mean they don’t have the problem. They may just be happy to deselect all and reselect the new ones, maybe because they have never used anything else and don’t realise that some programs do this properly! They may also not be as determined as others of us who think there might be value in investing our time trying to get the software improved.

Secondly, I did notice that the imported files varied in size depending on whether I chose a basic metadata file or none as the import option when I was first playing with it. However, when I repeated this today I cant see a file size difference, but from memory the difference was minor and I cant remember how I managed to see a non-rounded file size. I don’t remember all of the permutations at the time now. But in terms of recognising files as duplicates, as I said in my previous post, it didn’t matter whether I chose basic metadata, none, or whether “preserve current name in XMP” was on or off, because under NO condition, did the uploader recognise the file as a duplicate the second or subsequent times it was imported. But even if the file size is used to determine duplicates then that is a mistake too, especially if it is the importation process that alters the file size!!

The files I was mucking around with were renamed with -1, -2 etc on import no doubt because they went into the same subfolder based on their date (using this option when importing, ie to create new subfolder based on date). I should have been more specific in that it was the time of day that changed and appeared to increase by the amount of time between imports. I called it “date” because it was the "date" fields in the metadata that recorded the date including the time.

I have repeated this experiment today with some old files and some newly taken ones and it still does it. I also uploaded the same files onto our Windows PC with PSE for Windows version 7. The PC uploader happily recognises the duplicates, by the way, and excludes the duplicates from subsequent imports.
I will email you 5 successive versions of one of the images I took today as part of this process, and follow with the same image that imported only once into PSE for Windows (but be careful how you save it because it retains the original name and is the same as the Mac one except for the metadata differences outlined below). I will also send you a document onto which I have pasted side by side the metadata from the 5 successive imports using PSE for Mac and a separate file with a screen shot of the metadata for the same image file that imported in PSE for Windows.

To summarise, though, four things change with successive imports of the same image file on PSE for Mac import:-

Firstly, the PSE for Mac uploader looks at the file and predetermines that it is different. Consequently it gives it a suffix presumably because it will be landing in the same folder as a file with the same name, taken on the same day (and adds -1, -2, -3 etc with each successive import)

Secondly and thirdly, within the metadata it changes the “FILE PROPERTIES”/”Date Created” field and the “FILE PROPERTIES”/”Date Modified” fields to the time of import (So it gets later with each successive version of the file).

Fourthly, it changes the “CAMERA DATA(EXIF)” / “Date Time” field to the time of import, while correctly retaining the “CAMERA DATA(EXIF)” / “Date Time Original” and the “CAMERA DATA(EXIF)” / “Date Time Digitised” as the time the image was taken.

With the PSE for Windows (version 7) import, firstly it only imports the file once, and secondly the ONLY metadata time that differs from the time the image was actually taken is in the field “FILE PROPERTIES”/”Date Created”, which corresponds to time of import. The other 2 fields that PSE for Mac version changed (to correspond to the import time,) DO NOT deviate in the Windows version, from the time the image was taken. ie these times are only changed in the metadata in the mac version.

What raised the alarm for me, was that the times in data fields under the heading “CAMERA DATA (EXIF)” sound as though they were directly read from data supplied from the camera and therefore could be used by PSE organiser to identify the original image file. So it is rather interesting that the changed time in “CAMERA DATA(EXIF)” / “Date Time” field in the PSE for Mac version correspond with time of import (and therefore differs from that on the actual camera memory card) whereas the same field in the PSE for Windows version corresponds to the time the image was taken. This indicates to me that the data associated with the image on the actual camera memory card is not changing, it is getting changed on the PSE for Mac imported file ONLY.

Between imports I did nothing to the images, I did not even open them (except in the thumbnails you get with the import). I did not tag them, there were no red eye modifications or anything automatic selected on the camera nor the software that i am aware of.

And it is not just my Panasonic camera that this happens with. As I have said it happens in exactly the same way with my iPhone photos (all EXCEPT a few iphone photos that I initially imported into PSE for Mac from iPhoto and were already on my mac. My theory with these is that the file on the laptop still matches that on the phone memory card because iPhoto didn’t modify their metadata files when it imported them!)
Let me know if you want me to look for any other settings that I haven't thought of.
Thanks
Kerrie
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David Gerberding

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Thank you so much for taking all this time to document this serious flaw in the software. I gave up long ago because of time issues and the fact that Adobe support kept blaming everything except their software for the problems. Even if this happens to a small subset of Mac users, they should fix the flaw or clearly describe a work-around. As I've said before, you shouldn't have to be a Computer Scientist to avoid duplicate files with a paid piece of consumer software made by a giant company.
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Tim Fennell

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So, does anyone know if Adobe is working on a solution for us Mac users?
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Kerrie Pierce

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over to you, Brett N, for the answer to this one.........
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David Gerberding

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Adobe thinks this is not a problem with their software, but a problem with their customers, though I don't believe you'll see them say this in a public forum.
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Kerrie Pierce

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Hi all, good news! They are working on it! I'm told they have found and fixed the fault in the PSE downloader but the release date is not yet known... See BrettN's comment on this other thread on the same topic: http://forums.adobe.com/message/52614...

Quoting his post "Brett N, 23/04/2013 11:00 AM in reply to kerrie d p Report
This is a known bug and we have a fix in the pipeline. No release date is yet available."

:-)
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David Gerberding

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Thanks for posting this! It makes me feel much better after having Adobe Tech Support point the finger at me over and over for user error. Please post when you discover they have fixed it with a patch or workaround. I doubt very much that Adobe will follow up with angry/frustrated customers who have experienced this issue.
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Charles Bruner

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I have a copy of PSE my wife downloaded just as couple of week s ago (Aug 2013). It is still exhibiting the frustrating behavior.
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Rick Eugene

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Have they fixed this issue in PSE 12? There are some deals available now and am wondering if it is upgrading from PSE 11.
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Jeremy Harbord

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I have the duplicate problem too but I have noticed the simple difference is that the duplicate photo has lower case .jpg

So, for example, the original is P1040619.JPG but the duplicate is P1040619.jpg

I look forward to a solution ASAP

I have Elements 10 and a Mac
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Brett N, Official Rep

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Do you know if you have Case Sensitivity enabled on your hard drive?
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ciccio cappuccio

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2015 and nothing changed!!! SHAME ON YOU ADOBE!!!
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ciccio cappuccio

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Still waiting for an answer!!
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ciccio cappuccio

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Problem NOT solved!!!
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Martin Walker

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Hi folks - bit of a thread resurrection - but I am also still having this problem
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Jo Clendon

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When I moved to IOS8 and latest OS Yosemite, I started getting duplicate photos when I import from my iPhone to PSE Organiser. Seems like a known problem? What about a solution please?
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Martine

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I saw PSE Organiser 14 has been launched. Does anybody know if the problem with Mac and the duplicate import has been solved? Or is El Capitan the solution?
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Michel BRETECHER, Champion

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I am not a Mac user, but I believe you can use a workaround in a common situation. You are downloading a new batch of shots from a card on which you have not deleted previous shooting sessions.
The newest shots are shown first on the downloader thumbnail space.
Deselect All.
Select (highlight) the last thumbnail, browse down to the first of the last shooting session, and use Shift Click to highlight all recent files.
Only then, you can 'tick' the checkbox of any highlighted files; your import will only deal with the recent files, without any risk of creating duplicates.
(I hope that works the same on Macs.)
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diane weist

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same problem with pse14 in may  of 2016!
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Mango Chutney

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Just bought Elements 14 and, guess what, my first import and all my photos are doubled.   But I notice that the first photo is never as sharp as the second photo.
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Chris Harrington

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Feb 2017 pse15 same problem
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June Rudy

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I have duplicates galore. so frustrating. I spend the first 10 minutes of every session deleting them! I have Elements 18.
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Jane Potts

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Pulling my hair out duplicates galore  Elements 14 is rubbish not sure if to give upon mac elements or both.  Is there a fix yet ?