Photoshop Elements Editor: Is the undo function broken?

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  • Updated 7 years ago
In my opinion the undo function (undo arrow in the tool options bar and menu item Edit>Undo:Ctrl or Cmd+Z) should undo the last operation only and should not combine undoing the last operation with step backward.

Consider this scenario of following a tutorial in photoshop elements 4-9.
(pse 3 is a special case) Versus the same in photoshop elements 1 or 2.

The steps might be something like the following:

1. Make a new blank document 640 px x 480 px, resolution 72, RGB Color Mode
and Background White.

2. Select the Horizontal Type Tool using the Times New Roman font at 200 pt
color black and type test.

3. Ctrl or Cmd click on the type layer thumbnail in the layers panel to load a
selection of the text.

4. Go to Layer>New Fill Layer>Gradient and use the Blue,yellow,Blue gradient
from the default gradients.

5. Change the blending mode of the gradient fill layer to overlay.

6. Make the text layer active (click on text layer thumbnail in the layers panel)

7. Go to Filter>Stylize>Emboss using angle 180, height 6 and amount 32.

So after doing that, you think, i want to change the settings for the Emboss filter,
so in pse 9 you hit the undo arrow or Ctrl or Cmd+Z or the menu command
Edit>Undo. But instead of undoing just the emboss filter, you also step backwards
and instead of running the filter on the text layer, you run it on the gradient fill layer.

before undo:





after undo:



If you do the same exact thing in photoshop elements 1 or 2, you only undo the emboss filter and don't step backward.

before undo:





after undo:



MTSTUNER
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JEA

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Posted 7 years ago

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Brett N, Official Rep

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Undo is defined in the Help as: "the image reverts to how it looked when that change was first applied". This includes which layer was selected. Since layer selection does not create a history state, that selection is tied to the last step performed since the layer was selected.

But you bring up an interesting and advanced topic: Step Backward. But there is no command called Step Backward in Photoshop Elements. Step Backward, in the professional version of Photoshop, behaves the same as the Undo of Photoshop Elements. The Undo of Photoshop works as it did in older versions of Photoshop Elements.

You may also notice from your screen shots, the difference in the appearance of the History panel. In PSE now, when you undo, you can still see the undone step grayed out in the History panel. This is the same you will see in Photoshop when you Step Back. If, instead, you Undo in Photoshop, that history state is completely removed from the History panel (as can also be seen in your screen shot from the older version of Photoshop Elements).

Since this is the case, you cannot Step Forward after performing an Undo step, because the History state has been erased (unless you use the Redo Command).

However, with these observations in mind, despite the names that might be in use, Photoshop Elements' Undo is the same command as Photoshop's Step Backward. This is further evidenced by this simple behavior: multiple clicks of the Undo button (or command or keyboard shortcut) will continue going up the list of history states. While multiple clicks of Undo in Photoshop will alternate between undo and redo.

I'm not sure why the Undo of Photoshop will not revert to the full state of the last History step.... Perhaps Chris will chime in on that.
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JEA

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Thanks for the reply.

I guess i should worded this more like a feature request to have the undo in photoshop elements work like a true undo (not a step backwards command, but only undo the last operation) as it did in older versions of photoshop elements and in present versions of photoshop.

I just wanted to show that at one time photoshop elements had an undo command that works the way it should (only my opinion).

From my experience on the photoshop elements forum and other forums, most people expect the undo to only undo the last operation and it really throws them off when the layer switches from the layer they were working on to a different layer, as in the example posted.

MTSTUNER
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Brett N, Official Rep

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It's true, it's something that gets me in trouble all the time with Photoshop. But it's because I use the History panel for my undo's (I rarely just want to undo the last step, but have to go back several).