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How to Convert Images to Grayscale Mode in Photoshop Elements 11

Grayscale images have black and white pixels and any one of 256 levels of gray. By converting an RGB image to grayscale in Photoshop Elements 11, you can make it look like a black-and-white photo.

Avoid converting to grayscale by choosing Image→Mode→Grayscale. When Elements performs this conversion, it removes all the color from the pixels, so you lose some precious data during the conversion. You can’t regain this color after conversion.

If you use the Image→Mode→Grayscale command sequence to convert an image to grayscale and then save the file and delete the original from your hard drive or memory card, the color image is lost forever. You can save a secondary file, but this method is confusing and requires more space on your hard drive.

As an alternative to using the menu command for converting images to grayscale, follow these steps:


Open an RGB image in Elements and duplicate a layer.

The default Project Bin contains the Layers panel. In this panel, you find a pop-up menu when you click the box in the upper-right corner. From the menu commands, choose Duplicate Layer. After duplicating the layer, you see a thumbnail of another layer in the Layers panel.


Choose Enhance→Adjust Color→Adjust Hue/Saturation to open the Hue/Saturation dialog box.

Alternatively, you can press Ctrl+U or Command+U on the Mac to open the Hue/Saturation dialog box.


Drag the Saturation slider to the far left to desaturate the image and click OK.

All color disappears, but the brightness values of all the pixels remain unaffected.


Turn off the color layer by clicking the Eye icon.

In the Layers panel, you see two layers. You don’t need to turn off the color layer to print the file in grayscale, but turning it off can help you remember which color layer you used the last time you printed or exported the file.

You now have a file that contains both RGB and grayscale. If you want to print the color layer, you can turn off the grayscale layer. If you need to exchange files with graphic designers, you can send the layered file, and then the design professional can use both the color image and the grayscale image.

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