Elements: How do I convert old places tags to Elements 12 places tags?

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I have spent over 10 years organizing almost 9000 photos and videos using Adobe Photoshop Album and Adobe Photoshop Elements Organizer.
I recently upgraded to Elements 12, and I am trying to tag my vacation photos. I tried to add a new Places tag. That resulted in me becoming extremely aggravated.
I had created dozens of places tags in several categories of places. I used a logical approach for organizing places, instead of using a strict geographical hierarchy.
Now Elements 12 will only let me add new Places tags by searching a Google map, and the new tags are forced against my will into a strict geographical hierarchy.
So, while that is not what I'm used to, it at least makes sense.
Where I get really aggravated is that Elements 12 does not provide any way to upgrade all my existing tags to the new hierarchy. I can go to each existing Places tag and associate it with a map location, but it does not move (or allow me to copy/move) it to the new strict geographical hierarchy. So, as I move forward with Elements Organizer, I'm stuck with part of my collection tagged with my pre-12 scheme and the other part tagged with your 12-onward scheme. It will get to be very confusing when I go to tag photos and I have dig back and forth between the two schemes to find the tag to use. Why was it so critically important to not let long-term, loyal customers keep doing it the way they have been doing it for so many years????
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Posted 5 years ago

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Eva Bajan

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Exactly, exactly, and exactly. I upgraded to Elements 13 from 11 and have just found this problem exactly as you describe, so they have done nothing to address this problem. I can't believe that everyone is happy to go along with two schemes that will become increasingly confusing and frustrating to use.
Like you, I could have lived with the geographical organisation forced on me if pre 13 photo could be sent to the relevant place. I was so sure that would happen when I associated them with the map location. But no, so what is the point of doing that?
It seems to me that a possible way to integrate old photos is to delete all the old place tags and retag them via the Google map. I haven't tried it, and at 11,000+ photos to retag I'm not going to. I can think of more interesting ways to spend my time.
Photoshop Elements people, please note the frustration and iritation you have imposed on your logically minded customers by not allowing us to continue with our own systems nor to integrate our previous photos with the system you have imposed on us.
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George E Ridler

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I have the same problem. It's infuriating. And quite frankly, I see not reason to use Google map for tagging my photos. If someone is interested in locating a place related to a photo, it is simple to find it via the Internet - a lot simpler than tagging through Google maps. Because something can be done is not sufficient reason to do it.
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Ed Klein

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I find myself running into this problem as well. While I'm glad that Element finally restored the geotagging capability, this is a piss poor implementation. I went from Elements 10 to 12 in part because I knew geotagging was back. Still, geotagging and keyword tags should not be tied together like this.

I also have my old places keywords in a hierarchy - State, City, specific places within the city, etc. As long as something fits with a place I already had in my old tagging, I am fine. But, when I try to create a new tag for a new place, I get stuck with having to put in on a map. What's more, I already geotag my pictures with my camera, I don't want Elements overwriting all that metadata with whatever coordinates are associated with a "places" tag.

Doesn't sound like Elements 13 fixes this problem. The organizer seems to get worse with each version. With almost 24,000 images in my catalog that I've been organizing since Elements 6, I think I've about had enough of Adobe. I have to wonder if the people that write this software actually give any consideration at all to how it is used.
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Michel BRETECHER, Champion

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The problem you are describing is not new. It has been discussed two years ago in the Elements User to User forum when PSE11 was issued. At that time, I suggested a solution to keep the old categories and avoid the automatic translation to the new ones (places, tags and events) when converting catalogs. I happened to have translated those category names to my own French equivalents. As a result, there was no conversion. That was fine for me since I did not use geotagging nor people recognition, and I understand your point perfectly.
The solution is not obvious for people having already added many pictures with the new scheme. Plus It does not work for those who want to use geotagging and people recognition while keeping the old custom categories at the same time. I may be wrong but I think that there are theoretical impossibilities to please everybody, the old users like me and the new users with people recognition and geotagging.
Judging from the feedback on different forums, I believe that users with our profile are far from being the majority, but not a negligible part of the Organizer users.
It would have been fine to offer the option to keep the old categories hierarchy when converting catalogs. It's a bit late now.
It has been possible to convert the old categories automatically into the new ones. Would it be possible to offer a conversion back to the old categories?
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Adrian Holbrook

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I have had the same problem and am struggling with it. I have tried to replace the old place tags with the map tags and that gets worse as sometimes the map tag ends up with a place tagged as United Kingdom/Devon/Exmouth and sometimes as United Kingdom/Exmouth. I even have places in different areas of the country suddenly appearing in Devon when they should be in Kent.
When I try to select all the old Exmouth tagged photos and add a new geographic tag called Exmouth I get some very strange behaviour if I then try to delete the old tag - PSE crashes.
]I am very frustrated and surprised that this was not fixed in PSE13. All they need to do is allow you to keep the GPS coordinates but to edit the tree structure.
Also the People tags were "improved" and you can no longer add a photo or comments to the tag - but this is a different issue.
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Knox Cameron

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Same problem for me. Effectively we can't add new place tags because they get put into a new structure.
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Christophe ASTIER

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Unfortunately, I shere exactly the same frustration !

Not only the nex scheme for location tags is imposed to you (you can no longer create a location following you previous, prove way), but here is no way to migrate (even painfully) from the previous scheme to the new one ! I tried to create e new location "Cambridge" with the new feature, and re-tag my picture previously tagged with "Cambridge" with this new tag : It created a complete mess ! The new tag "King"s college" disapperaed from belonging to "Cambridge" it is now supposed to be somewhere in Cambridgeshire, but again, no way to move it back to Cambridge.

Also, there is not the slightest geographical logis in the new scheme : Ely (rightly) belongs to Cambridgeshire; but Barnard Castle does not belong to County Durham... go figure.

Funny enough, 5 minutes ago, I was asked in an Adobe survey if I would recommend Photoshop Elements to my friends.... guess what my answer was.

Last minuute update... sometimes, selecting picture by location tags stops working. ....It may work again if you stop/start Photoshop Elements.
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paul barton

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There is a way (painful) to migrate to the new schema.
Create a new place name and set the location the same as the existing place name.
Filter with the existing place name and select the thumbnails
Retag with the new place name
Delete the existing place name
You may receive an error message that the existing place tag was not deleted. If you close Elements and reopen the place tag will be gone,
I have found that when you delete the existing place name Elements sometimes crashes. On reopening the original tag has gone and the new one works.
I agree with Astier that there are some weird associations for geographical logic though.
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Ragnar Myhre

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Is the versions after PSE 10 created for dummies, by dummies?
In version 10, I used tags very much by creating categories, subcategories and tags for friends/family, holidays, my cars, my hobbies and more. If I upgrade, as far as I can see, all this information is gone. Geotagging is nice, but now many pictures already have coordinates as part of the EXIF data and placing them i a map could just have been an additional feature.
I realize that I have to find another application to manage my pictures or stick with version 10.
Byebye PSE!
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Michel BRETECHER, Champion

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Did you read my answer (5th post)?
No 'all this information is not gone' it's still there.
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Ragnar Myhre

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Hi Michel.
Actually, I wasn't expecting an answer as this thread was quite old. So, thank's very much.
I have studied your answer in the 5th post where you say that the tags are still there.
I have converted the catalog from PSE 10 to PSE 13.
If I right click on a picture, I get the choice to remove a keyword tag and I then can see the tag. However, I cannot see the tags with the pictures.
In PSE 10 I had a list of all my categories, subcategories and tags and I could filter which pictures to see just by marking an item in the list.
So, my question is:
1. How can I see the tags on each picture?
2. Is there a similar list of categories/tags in PSE 13? I have not been able to find it.
As far as I know, categories, subcategories and tags are not part of the EXIF data so saving Metadata to File will not preserve these data. They are just stored in the PSE database.
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John Yocum

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I just upgraded from Photoshop Elements 11 to version 14, and found the changes to the "Places Tags"  totally un-usable. It will not allow me add new places. It just pops up a map and says to search for new place.  Well I located the new place and clicked on it. Nothing happened. I double clicked on it - still nothing. What am I supposed to do with the map? Couldn't find any instructions on how to use it.
Finally I gave up in disgust. Why can't they leave well enough alone!!!
To circumvent this problem, I added a "Places" category under "Keywords"  and added my new places as sub-gategory tags under this. Now I have to go and retag all the other photos with that have the older "Places Tags".  I will simply quit using the "Places Tags"
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Stephen Manistre

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That's exactly what I have had to do. I shan't be paying for any more "upgrades".
**** you Adobe!
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Philip Sarell

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I agree with all of the above. There seem to be some software companies that don't realise when they have a good product and insist that they are improving it by making it much more complicated, ending up with a less usable result. Why do we have to go through 10 steps to add a places tag when 1 was quite sufficient. 
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Michel BRETECHER, Champion

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See my answer in post #5.
You don't have to go through 10 steps, since you can keep the old places categories by renaming the hierarchy before the conversion. What I did myself.

You are free to blame companies to offer new features that make YOUR life harder, but think about all the people who desperately crave for those features:
- geotagging, because their smartphones have it
- people recognition, smart objects, wich seem like magic
- 'Adaptative view', since it's so superior for visual search and browsing...

Such features are those who keep those companies selling more copies every year; without them, those software companies would no longer be there. I don't really mind if Elements has a lot of features (gadgets?) I don't need, provided that globally improves over the years. I agree with the other posters in this thread that there is a lack of information about those novelties and changes. On the other hand, the end user is generally free not to use those. I don't use geotagging nor face recognition, I only use the 'adaptative' view when doing visual searches... Even with my normal hardware setup, editor and organizer are top speed without those heavy background tasks.
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Knox Cameron

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"You don't have to go through 10 steps, since you can keep the old places categories by renaming the hierarchy before the conversion. What I did myself." 

That's a useless suggestion for 99% of users.

They are not expecting the problem, and don't know to do this workaround in advance. They go ahead with the upgrade, use the product for a while, and discover the problem. By they time they find a forum like this, they can no longer go back to the old product without losing a significant amount of work.
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In case people are finding this thread and are not clear on how to avoid having their pre PSE 12 'Place' tags converted to into Adobe's 'Place' geotags (which results in the loss of ability to determine the tagging structure and ability to add new tags and subsidiary tags of one's own choice) on an 'upgrade' to a later version of PSE, make sure that you change the name of your 'Places' file to something else (eg  Locations) before you 'convert' your old catalog to be compatible with the new version. This will leave your 'Locations' as a custom key word category, over which you retain full control, rather than finding your original 'Places' converted into Adobe/Google Maps 'Places', which are virtually un-manageable. If you subsequently want to geo-tag your collection, you will still be able to do this. Please be warned that if you don't rename your 'Places' file and then try to use 'Place on Map' to geo-locate your original place tags, there is a high risk that you will loose the place tagging associated with some of your pictures and that you will find files created in illogical places - which you can't move!
Geo-tagging is a nice feature but Adobe have really made a complete mess of their implementation. It is amazing that the problems have not been rectified in PSE 13,14 or 15. 
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William Marble

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Adobe has failed to correct the problem that if you add a PLACE in PSE 12 and assign a picture to it the picture loses the original GPS data.  I asked 3-4 years ago for a solution to the exact problem of the Million Dollar Highway, Colorado.  We have 100+ pictures, with exact GPS, so on a map we see a nice progression from picture to picture.  But when we tag them in PSE12 the detailed GPS is replaced, not supplemented, with a single dot on the map.
A better solution would be to allow users to select either GPS details or PSE PLACE GPS.  Thus we have one "PLACE" called Million Dollar Highway so we can search easily but still see exact locations.
MikeGBR might have eluded to this issue, but for those of us who are part time PSE users, without the lingo of "Place", Location", geo-tagging - a solution such as I suggested seems better than creating 100+ different "Places".
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Jack Klaber

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So I did not know PSE changed its Places Tags and upgraded from V9 to V13 without renaming the Places category. Version 13.1 makes it even worse!
For geotagging I use "GeoSetter", a wonderful tool that even shows the direction in which a picture is taken!
Now, I have to create for all existing Places tags (>240....) a new Tag under the "Other" category...
Apart from the bug that no maps are shown, I do not need thousands upon thousands of new tags with a resolution up to and including street numbers...
I need only tags for Country and city, so Places is much too specific for my 50.000 images made in tens of different countries.
Enough said, very disappointed!!