Options for Undoing Work in Photoshop Elements 14

By Barbara Obermeier, Ted Padova

In Photoshop Elements, Undo is a favorite command for both beginners and experienced users alike. If you don’t like a change to your image, you simply choose Edit → Undo or press the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+Z (⌘+Z on the Mac).

Because trial and error (and thus undoing your work) is so important to making your image look just right, Elements also offers ways to undo that are much more sophisticated than simply reverting to the last view.

Using the History panel

On the History panel, you see a record of your changes in an editing session. And from this record, you can undo your changes from any step in an editing sequence. To work with the History panel, you must be in Expert mode. After you click Expert at the top of the Photo Editor, here’s how undoing with the History panel works:

  1. To open the panel, choose Window → History.

    The History panel displays a record of each step you made in the current editing session.

  2. To undo one or more edits, click any item on the History panel.

    Elements reverts your image to that last edit. All edits that follow the selected item are grayed out.

  3. If you want to bring back the edits, click any grayed-out step on the panel.

    Elements reinstates your edits up to that level.

    The History panel in Photoshop Elements.

    The History panel.

All your steps are listed on the History panel as long as you remain in Elements and don’t close the file. When the file is closed, all history information is lost.

Storing all this editing history can affect Elements’ performance. If your computer slows to a snail’s pace when you’re using Elements, check out the following options:

  • Choose Edit  Clear History. Elements flushes all the recorded history and frees up some precious memory, which often enables you to work faster. Just be sure you’re okay with losing all the history in the History panel thus far.

  • Eliminate Clipboard data from memory. To do so, choose Edit → Clear Clipboard Contents or Edit → Clear → All.

  • Restore the number of history states stored to the default of 50. You can increase the number of history states via Elements preferences. You can ratchet this number up to 1,000 if you like. But realize that the more history states you record, the more memory Elements requires.

Reverting to the last save

While you edit photos in Elements, plan on saving your work regularly. Each time you save in an editing session, the History panel preserves the list of edits you make until you hit the maximum number or close the file.

If you save, then perform more edits, and then want to return to the last saved version of your document, Elements provides you with a quick, efficient way to do so. If you choose Edit → Revert, Elements eliminates your new edits and takes you back to the last time you saved your file.

When you choose Revert, Revert appears in the History panel. You can eliminate the Revert command from the History panel by right-clicking (Windows) or Ctrl-clicking (on a Mac with a one-button mouse) the Revert item and choosing Delete from the contextual menu that appears.