Elements: A way to change the UI colors

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Is there a way to change the Photoshop CS5 and Elements 9 user interface and application colors? With the black and dark grey colors it is extremely difficult to use. Earlier versions like Photoshop CS4 and Elements 5 have a much cleaner user interface and background colors that is so much easier to see and use. Please help, I'm going blind trying to see dark gray on black.
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Sharon G

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  • going blind

Posted 9 years ago

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robert benigno

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thanks for your input...disappointingly I now know that adobe doesnt do upgrades to the problems in creates when making newer versions....the problems I have with Elements 9 didnt exsist with Elements 3...

I could work with gif files in Elements 3...adobe has taken away that feature in Elements 9...I am beginning to believe that adobe deliberately abuses users of the Elements software so that they will buy the much more expensive C series.

PLease..can someone recommend a better photo editor for me.
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robert benigno

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These are animated gifs that elements 3 did accept and allow me to edit...Elements 9 also doesnt open animated gifs downloaded from the net.
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robert benigno

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Also did you know that in Elements 3 when you put your cursor on the line separating the edit image space and the panel on the right side that shows your layers and filters, it would allow you to shrink or enlarge this panel...by moving your mouse.

Adobe has taken this feature away in Elements 9.
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Chris Cox

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Animated GIF - that's quite different. And I'm not sure if Premiere Elements can work with them...
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Brett N, Official Rep

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For the Animated GIF discussion, go here:
http://feedback.photoshop.com/photosh...
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Betty Dale

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I don't know if this setting has change in Version 8, but in version 7 you can go to Edit>Preferences>General, and there is a User Interface Brightness option; drag the slider to 100% and click OK; you will see a big difference. This is one of my big frustrations with Elements. I just upgraded from 7 to 10 and we are back to the dark interface and no way to change it. Betty
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robert benigno

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Well it worked with quite a few of the earlier Elements versions including 3. Why did you take it away...and more importantly why dont you reinstate it...send me a patch.

Dont you understand that when I purchased Elements 9 I expected it to have all the performance features of Elements 3 plus whatever improvements you may have come up with. This was not the case and I feel cheated by Adobe...and I want my money back...or for you to fix the all so many flaws that I and many others have reported to you.

You have made me angry to the point that I will post all that has been said here, plus my statements at Amazon.com in every internet site were reviews of your products appear. I know how to do this. But I will give you time to make a resolution that is satisfactory to those of us who have given you our input.
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Delina Greyling

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One more longtime user of previous versions expressing extreme frustration ... this product should be written up somewhere as making no accommodation for accessibility options. I find the user interface so obnoxiously difficult to read that I don't even want to use it ... and I used to just LOVE working in 5, from which I upgraded. I could not believe that there is no option for dark text on light background and wasted a lot of time in attempting to accomplish it, now I read here after Googling that the option does not exist! PLEASE HURRY UP and provide a patch for this, or this problem is going to become a headliner ...
The boomer generation needs enhanced visibility, NOT OBSTACLES!
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Blaine Byers

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I agree - software reviewers should be made aware of the problems many of us are having with the PS elements UI, but I don't know of any sites that review software like this. If someone else knows of any site or publication that reviews software maybe they could give us the address so we can provide them with information. I've been following this thread for a long time now, so for those who have not read all the posts (including the many hidden posts), we've indirectly been told there will be no patches for any version of PS Elements, and the earliest to expect any changes to the UI would be version 11 which is almost a year away.
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robert benigno

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Go online and enter photoshop elements...you usually can add your review or comments to any site that sells or compares photo editing software.
You only have to write one review....copy it and paste on all sites you find.
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Philip Goddard

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- Yes, and every one of PSE's aggrieved users would have to pay for that new version, just in order to get back what Adobe took away from them! Adobe owes us a free upgrade to whichever version does actually fix the UI colour scheme problem.
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James Paul DeCesare

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I am SO late to this thread and haven't read all of the posts, but it would be WONDERFUL to be able to change the brightness level of Photoshop just like you can with Bridge and Premiere. I want to take that puppy down to almost black like Lightroom. Hope this is relevant to the current conversation!
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Brett N, Official Rep

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Actually, while a lot of this post is about the ability to choose the brightness, most people here think it is too dark as is. :)
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halmo1927

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I don't think you understand the problem yet, after all these posts. At least in my case, it is a combination of brightness, contrast and font color of the interface. In simple terms, I just want to be able to easily read the menus and other text on the screen better. I have no problem with the work area for editing. Elements is still a fine program, but it is degraded by the useability problem reading menus.
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Miguel Marn

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To methe worst thing since CS4 is that I couldn't locate my current document anymore (apart from tabs but different issue).
In a plain "windows xp" style interface the current document would have a coloured bar or some kind of obvious difference to the other document windows.

In the PS interface the difference is merely by the brightness (!!!) of the font in the titlebar - nothing else (at least to me). When I am working with 20 open documents at once, guess how annoying it is to find the current one. And I need to know before I open eg: the "save for web" window.

I had to make a lot of exclamation marks here ;-) because this is really something that should have been checked before the program ships out to the customers.
Please include this in future UI design decisions.

Thanks ;-)
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David Jensen

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It isn't about tabs, though. When using Windows, documents in CS3 and previous versions used the standard OS window chrome, while CS4 and CS5 use a custom gray title bar.
On OS X, the custom titlebar looks just about the same as OS title bar, so there isn't much difference between earlier and newer versions.
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Sheila Zaprzalka

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Customer Service Tutorial For Chris:

Your response "Um, no, ............ You read things into the reply that were not written there" re-written as a customer service professional would respond.

"I did not intend to be belligerent. I am sorry you misunderstood my intent. "

(Omit the "Um no, " it is usually heard in conversations that have a somewhat sarcastic bend to them. Omit the "You read things.........) Professional customer service reps do not attack the customer.)

and to Phillip. You are right, that it is fine to point out when a comment is "off topic," (as mine probably are here.) I merely object to the lack of professionalism shown. Many Photoshop users are frustrated and the last thing they need is Chris' type of customer service. Jeffery Tranberry's comment above is a good example of what I mean by good customer service style.
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Chris Cox

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"You read things..." is not an attack, but a simple observation -- you are attributing emotions, causes, or intent to my writing that simply are not present in my writing (or my intent or emotions). It is no more an attack than saying "the sky is blue today".

"Um, no" generally means "I'm confused by your incorrect statements" or "that is not correct and I'm not sure why you would say that". The phase has no particular relation to sarcasm.

And at no point have I attacked a customer here. I'm simply responding to your incorrect understanding of my writing.
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Sheila Zaprzalka

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Chris - and you prove my point. You are determined to be right, no matter what. Most customer service reps are taught to not engage the customer in a dialog such as ours. I bet you have to sit on your hands so that you don't whip off another reply to me.
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Colin Douglas

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Well I'll just have to get off my hands and whip off a reply - you would appear to be attacking Chris for his unprofessional attitude - this isn't an office with codes of conduct - my understanding is that this is a friendly forum - human beings communicating with each other - Chris has simply explained how you've jumped to interpret his remarks in a negative fashion - he's NOT determined to be right - there is no right or wrong - he's just telling you what his intentions were in his reply!!! Lighten up for heaven's sake.
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Sheila Zaprzalka

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Add me to the list of EXTREMELY frustrated users who will NOT spend another dime on an a supposed "UPGRADE"
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Elizabeth Hillyer

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I am a very long-time Photoshop user and now have Photoshop Elements 9. I find the Organizer to be very user UNfriendly. The white letters on a gray or black background are difficult to read on a laptop. this makes the whole process of working n the organizer unpleasant. any basic textbook on graphic design will tell you that dark letters on a light background are much easier to read. I was hoping that PSE 10 would have a different background/letters or at least the ability to change the background and lettering. it's absurd that you have all these fancy photo recognition tools but you give the user no way to control the color of the work space !! I've seen this complaint on numerous Internet forums and am surprised that Adobe did not make the change for PSE 10. guess I'll look for another photo program. too bad.

This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled
Give users the ability to change PSE Organizer background and letter color!.
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Betty Dale

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I agree that it's hard to work on photos in PSE because it's too dark; in PSE 7 I could change it in Preferences>General, but in PSE 10 I can't find where to do this.
Betty
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Lianne Trevarthen

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Ditto to the people wanting to have the UI have options.... I posted comment as a feature request, and Brett directed me to this forum. Although it appears from the comments that nothing has moved from the Adobe position since I put in my feature request in April 2011?
I am not saying do away with the dark option, but have an option. I had to start wearing glasses for looking at the screen in PSE - I now have the latest version. I, too, found that PSE5 was much easier to work with - on the eyes. And this problem exists whether I am on my laptop or desktop. I have LCD screens that are calibrated. I still find that the user interface currently is a step backward rather than a step forward in terms of useability. I would like to have at least ONE other option in the settings so that I can switch to light background and not because it is aesthetically better, simply that it is easier to view. I work on computers all day, and I hardly need to have eyestrain when it comes to my hobby.
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Dan Smith

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Yes and in older versions of photoshop (pre cs3) and photoshop elements (pre pse3) one could have photoshop or photoshop elements use the same theme as the windows operating system including any global settings for the visually impaired.

Now adobe insists on "skinning" photoshop and photoshop elements, thus not following the proper established microsoft UI guidelines and making the applications useless to those that may have less than perfect vision.
(much more of a problem in photoshop elements than the full version photoshop, which at least allows some adjustments to the interface)
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Dan Smith

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A very basic example that ui designers knew 15 years ago: (windows 7 has the same options as windows nt 4 did in 1996, yet photoshop elements cannot use these settings)

From the windows nt 4 microsoft support tips and tricks:

"High-Contrast Mode for People with Low Vision

Many people with low vision require a high degree of contrast between foreground and background objects, in order to distinguish the objects. For example, some people may not be able to easily read black text on a gray background, or text drawn over a picture. By selecting a High Contrast display scheme, you can now instruct Windows NT 4.0 and programs to display information with a high degree of contrast.

To select a high-contrast display scheme:

In Control Panel, choose the Display icon.

On the Appearance tab, select one of the High Contrast schemes from the list.

Choose OK or Apply.

Windows NT 4.0 color schemes enable you to choose from several well-designed sets of screen-color options, designed both to match users' individual tastes and to meet their visual needs. The new color schemes in Windows NT 4.0 include high-contrast colors, such as white text on a black background, or black text on a white background. These high-contrast color schemes optimize the visibility of screen objects for people with visual impairments."
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Lee Hefner

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Does Adobe seriously think that this dark UI serves its market?
I've had the product for 10 minutes, and already I want a refund!

What were they thinking?

Can anyone recommend a competitor's product that's easier to use?
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Len Welch

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Yes, Lee. I have Paint Shop Photo Pro 3 (which I set aside to test Photoshop only because of the "Name.") Also, I would like to point out that I even have a 5-year old Windows XP OS that came OEM-loaded with a program called Photo Paint Select that does 99.9% of what ALL of the so-called "Pro" league graphics programs do!

It's unbelievable! Photoshop is no better than any freely distributed photo editors out there. Examples, try Picasa by Google. Try iPhoto by Apple. Try GIMP, which is open source.
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Vince37mr

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I suggest you go after your refund and look for a copy of PSE 5 which is the last one to be completely readable - despite the small font, or an old version of full PS - CS3 or CS4, at a decent price, but still rather more that PSE5.
I've seen CS3 running on Windows7 64 bit and it seems OK. PSE5 has to have an upgrade applied, downloadable from Adobe here:
http://www.adobe.com/support/download...
Despite what it says about Vista 32bit, I have installed PSE5 and the update on WIndow7 64 bit and it is OK - so far!
I've tried competitive products - GIMP (free) and PaintShopPro (not free) and unfortunately they just don't 'hack it' for me, although other people find them good. PSP can be tried free for 30 days.
One operation in particular I like in PSE (also in CS I expect) is to set a target image size in the Crop tool - say 1920x1080px for TV display - , and then select a correctly proportioned section of a picture, and crop and resample in one go. There are other aspects of alternative products, which for me don't work as well or as easily.
So Adobe has me in its icy grip - but I'm not buying anything new, so in that respect I'm a lost customer.
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Len Welch

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I can scarcely find civil words to describe my frustration with the dark charcoal background colors and extremely small fonts in the user interface of Photoshop Elements 8!!!

I just don't understand how a leading graphics (perhaps the leading) company can go 8 months without giving its users at least a progress report of some kind in answer to this extremely frustrating and, judging by the overwhelming outcry just on this forum, critical user concern.

Won't you PLEASE address this problem with your customers?

This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled
Photoshop Elements is bleeding market because it has not addressed A way to change the UI colors in Photoshop and Elements.
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Betty Dale

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I don't know if this setting has change in Version 8, but in version 7 you can go to Edit>Preferences>General, and there is a User Interface Brightness option; drag the slider to 100% and click OK; you will see a big difference. This is one of my big frustrations with Elements. I just upgraded from 7 to 10 and we are back to the dark interface and no way to change it. Betty
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Adrienne Adams

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You cannot change the interface brightness in current versions of PSE. I think they ditched that with v.8.
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gnach

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Not meaning to hijack the thread, but this applies to Lightroom also. Jeffrey Tranberry has indicated it's under consideration for PS and PSE but don't stop there.

The issue here is basic form vs function. It's hip (trendy) to be dark and cool. But many of us remember the old terminal days with it's accompanying eyestrain. Why is this venue on a white background? It's easy to read!

Another UI issue is the color of the crop overlay grid lines. Light grey, 1 pixel lines, disappear over a light subject/image. The option for a high contrast color would be a huge improvement.
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Richard Weatherby

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The Americans with Disabilities Act (which is Civil Rights Legislation) requires a minimum contrast ratio from light to dark of 70 percent. Does anyone want to measure the user interface?

One day I was working in my sunroom and could not find the cursor (even with circular movement). I had to perform a CRTL-ALT-DEL to close the program.

I am on the verge of un-installing this program and moving on. The CEO of Adobe certainly made it clear they have other goals.
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Adrienne Adams

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Another issue with the UI is text size. Photoshop Elements is unusable to me as I have a high-resolution iMac and the text elements are miniscule and completely unreadable. I have added my 2 cents over here to try to get this UI element changed as well, tho I don't have much hope: http://feedback.photoshop.com/photosh...
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Barbara L

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I have mentioned this also in this thread, as I have the same problem. I also have a high resolution monitor and the UI text is barely readable. Strange that I don't have this problem with any other programs installed on my computer. Many others have also mentioned the text size as well as the dark background and light grey text color.
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Adrienne Adams

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Adobe uses a Flash-based tool to write all its program user interfaces. Because of this choice on Adobe's part application interfaces can't be scaled by the user. They CAN choose to enable the option to use bigger text for the user interface--the pro version of Photoshop allows this. But none of Adobe's apps, as far as I know, allow the user to scale the interface icons--which I also am increasingly unable to see. I get a eyestrain headache after about 10 minutes of using Adobe products. I only use them because I must for my work.
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Chris Cox

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No, most of Adobe's UI does not use Flash.
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Miguel Marn

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What I find a little irritating is that this "request" - even though it is still generating so much feedback even until today - is still "only" marked as "under consideration".

While I appreciate Jeffrey for doing this some 8 months ago I do not really appreciate that there is no more recent update.

I'm sure many people want to know what is happening. Please make a decision.
No matter if "Planned", "Completed", or "Not planned" - either of these will help, even the last option. Thanks, Mig
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David Jensen

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Under Consideration doesn't mean that any particular feature isn't "Planned" or "Completed"

Adobe, being a public company, has rules to follow that prevent them from making certain forward looking statements.

There hasn't been a major release that could have been affected by this site, so you can't currently see the impact of any of the feature requests here.
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Vince37mr

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There is another thread related to this problem
http://feedback.photoshop.com/photosh...
I'm posting a message on it to tell the users about this thread
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Adrienne Adams

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These two threads maybe should be merged, as both the color and the text size are related to poor interface design decisions. However I don't see much hope for improvement as Adobe is fully committed to tits Flash/Flex platform, which IMHO creates a truly horrible user interface experience.
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Chris Cox

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No, because there is a big difference between UI colors and UI scaling.
And no, Flash/Flex has zero influence or impact on either topic.
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Adrienne Adams

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Chris, Thank you for correcting my mistake. And as far as the USER is concerned, these issues are not separate. The issue is Adobe's poor user interface for its products and the fact that the user cannot make adjustments to make the interface more usable.

Whether it is because of low contrast, small text sizes, poorly antialiased text, small and low-contrast ions, the user interface on Adobe products is shockingly bad when compared with the current native interfaces in OS X and Windows.
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Vince37mr

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Adrienne Adams commented above "...But none of Adobe's apps, as far as I know, allow the user to scale the interface icons--which I also am increasingly unable to see. I get a eyestrain headache after about 10 minutes of using Adobe products. I only use them because I must for my work."

If you have an employer who requires you to use the offending products, you may well have a case against your employer on the grounds of endangering / affecting your health.
I am a UK resident, but I would think that the comment above: "The Americans with Disabilities Act (which is Civil Rights Legislation) requires a minimum contrast ratio from light to dark of 70 percent." might apply.
While I am ignorant of the terms of the act, I wonder if a disability is required before the act is applied.
In any event, repeated periods of eye strain could well lead to a seeing disability.

Is there anybody in the UK (or other non-US country) with strict industrial health regulation who could take this up?

A quick look for UK regulations gave this link
http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg36.pdf
[The law on VDUs. An easy guide:]
Page 6 states:
"In setting up software, choose options giving text that is large enough to read easily on your screen, when you are sitting in a normal, comfortable working position. Select colours that are easy on the eye (avoid red text on a blue background, or vice-versa). "
It's not exactly legally binding but does make requirement of software options quite clear. On these grounds it should be possible to disallow the use of products without such adjustments.
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Morris Cottingham

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why are there NO skin color controls on PSE . Skin color is way too dark, and cannot see program controls because of the problem.

This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled
Lousy Skin Color Controls.
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Chris Cox

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Are you referring to changing the UI colors, or controlling the skin color of a person you've photographed?
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Morris Cottingham

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Thank you for asking. I am referring to the User Interface colors, which are very dark colors, almost black, rendering the black tool icon arrows and similar tools unreadable. I have never seen a program with so many user controls, that offers no control over its appearance. Why is that?
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Mike Chamberlain

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It's because their designers are all spotty 21-year-olds with 20/20 vision who don't give a damn about anyone over 40. It's because Adobe don't like Microsoft, so they completely disregard all the UI customisation features built into the Windows operating system. In short, it's because Adobe have the sheer bloody arrogance to think that their UI is perfect, so why would we ever want to change it?
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Morris Cottingham

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Amen, brother. After reading the river of complaints on this subject, it is amazing and appalling that PSE is so unresponsive to its customers, the source of the company's revenue. Is the management of Adobe from Washington, DC? Must be, because they are treating their customers the same way American Politicians treat their electorate. Maybe it's time to Occupy Adobe ???
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Adrienne Adams

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Just for laughs, some of you folks might want to check out http://adobegripes.tumblr.com. It's a laugh-riot compendium of how fubar'd Adobe's UI is in its pro-level tools. And mind you, these are applications that cost thousands of dollars!
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PECourtejoie, Champion

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Adrienne, I don't know if you have noticed, but some of the threads here have been amended with the relevant Adobegripes comments by the team itself.
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Vince37mr

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As 340 comments in this thread don't seem to get a positive reaction from Adobe, could all users here enlist their friends who use the product to add to the count?
I don't use social networking - but any opportunities to increase the pressure by that route?
I wonder somewhat deviously, if Adobe really want to abandon Elements, and if enough people stop buying it that might be achieved by "lack of demand".....
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Jeffrey Tranberry, Sr. Product Manager, Digital Imaging

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There are no plans to abandon Elements. The Elements team is actively working on UI improvements for Elements, along with other major re-architecting. Sorry, but this is not a small, easy fix that can be turned around and released the next day regardless of how many people request the change. The Elements team does take everyone's input seriously.
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Elizabeth Hillyer

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I'm glad you're not abandoning Elements but mystified why the fix wasn't made before relasing PSE10! User frustration with the UI has been a common complaint for months, both on this website and elsewhere on the Internet
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Jeffrey Tranberry, Sr. Product Manager, Digital Imaging

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Yup. From the outside it appears that there was time. However, feature sets and engineering work are spec-ed out much earlier in advance. Because of the scale of other items in the development pipeline, it wasn't something the team could turn on a dime. Sorry.
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Miguel Marn

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@Vince37mr: Maybe some common action would help, yes. But I fear it needs to be directed at the management. Maybe something like an "open" letter. To me it seems these people are hiding behind their customer relationship employees as well as their business and market related non disclosure regulations.
(I was told here before that they can not even tell us if highly demanded features like the one discussed in this thread will be or are already implemented.)

Thank you Jeffrey for your reply.
From your response I can feel that you don't have an easy job. I also believe that most of the developers at Adobe do understand the concerns of their users.
Why? Because I am a developer myself, and I know that most of us put their heart and soul into their work. At the same time I can see that marketing and legal departments are "taking over" more and more software businesses.

While it makes sense to be profitable there is no way that one can just go by the numbers. Many of such "managers" have no real idea and no identification with their product. They could sell toys, fruit, or shoes as well.

I personally could easily live with slower version updates - even PS - if it only helps to get important things done and shipped!
BTW I didn't get it so far why there is no constant upgrade/update mechanism for Adobe PS/Elements/etc. just like there is for flash. Why ALWAYS have to wait for even the smallest fix until the next FULL version. This is almost "last century" to me ;-)

However, if managers constantly ignore customer's complaints and wishes just to meet tight deadlines and to make more profit then their business is doomed. Sooner or later some competitor will take it's place.

Again, why? Because these customers are already starving for changes and enhancements they NEED - not changes they DON'T need. And then they will happily embrace other options as soon as they appear. And from the customer's point of view the world will keep on turning.

I love PS - but like someone said: not only because, but also even though.
And if I didn't have to work with it (employed) and if I didn't appreciate the good things about it I wouldn't care or write any of this.

Cheers ;-)
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Jeffrey Tranberry, Sr. Product Manager, Digital Imaging

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Hi Miguel,

Ahh. A developer after my own heart. I worked on the Photoshop development team for the past 11 years before switching to my current role. I appreciate a lot of what you're talking about. It does make my job extremely difficult some times. But, I'm resolved to fight the good fight despite it all.

In this case, it's not really an issue related directly to marketing or legal. I wish I could blame them - and I often do. ;) Though I completely understand the sentiment around upgrade rate, etc.

In this case, the root issue really is a matter of this being a bigger code/architecture change that couldn't be addressed in one development cycle.

Thanks for loving PS and caring.
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robert benigno

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Jeffery...in some of your replies you use terms like "make improvements" and "drum up".

You dont need to do any of these things...everyone here has been telling you that the earlier versions of elements like 3 and 5...didnt have these issues.

All Adobe needs to do is to go back to one of these version...make it compatible with windows 7 and mac...and give it to those of us who have paid for elements and are deeply dissatisfied.

It is also very apparent that Adobe is either not interested...or is dragging its feet in making the NECESSARY changes that would once again make the elements software the best of its type like it once was.

Keep in mind that for every individual who has logged complaints with you there may be hundreds who agree...but consider it would be futile...based on the response Adobe has not given to these issues.
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Dan Smith

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With all due respect to adobe and it's employees, this has been a complaint about the photoshop elements UI for more than six years. Ever since pse 5 started with putting the darker interface on the menu bar and just above the options bar and not a single version since then has been usable for some people or at least not enjoyable to work in.
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Vince37mr

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In fact PSE5 can be made compatible with Windows 7 32 and 64 bit versions by applying the patch available from Adobe here:
http://www.adobe.com/support/download...
Despite what it says about Vista 32bit, I have installed PSE5 and the update on WIndow7 64 bit and it is OK - so far! (Before a new PC I had it running on Windows7 32 bit).
Incidentally I've seen CS3 running on Windows7 64 bit and it seems OK.
(This is a repeat of info I posted about a week ago which is now a long way up the thread)
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robert benigno

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Before you submit your comment you should check the link that you have listed.

The link takes you to a page that says "Sorry this page is unavailable".
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Jeffrey Tranberry, Sr. Product Manager, Digital Imaging

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Vince is probably referring to the product updates pages:

http://www.adobe.com/support/download...

http://www.adobe.com/support/download...

http://www.adobe.com/support/download...

Though, in most cases, it's easiest to choose Help>Updates... from the product rather than hunting and pecking through the downloads list.
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Vince37mr

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Sorry about that. I'd posted the link once before and in copying it I missed off the end portion which isn't visible in the post. The full link goes straight to the PSE 5.0.2 update download page.Here is the full version (which I have checked):
http://www.adobe.com/support/download...
The end portion after support/ is
downloads/detail.jsp?ftpID=3569