This Visual QuickStart Guide, like others in the series, is a task-based reference. Each chapter focuses on a specific area of the application and presents it in a series of concise, illustrated steps. I encourage you to follow along using your own images. I believe the best way to learn is by doing, and this Visual QuickStart Guide is the perfect vehicle for that style of learning.
This book is meant to be a reference work, and although it's not expected that you'll read through it in sequence from front to back, I've made an attempt to order the chapters in a logical fashion. The first couple of chapters take you on a tour of the work area and provide a foundation for the basics of image editing and creation. From there you explore color, selections, layers, effects, painting, and typography, and then learn a variety of techniques for saving and printing images, including special formatting options for distributing images over the Web. I've also included a chapter with a collection of advanced techniques and projects, organized as short tutorials that I hope will provide further creative inspiration as you work with your own images. This book is suitable for the beginner just starting in digital photography and image creation, as well as hobbyists, photo enthusiasts, intermediate-level photographers, illustrators, and designers.
Many of the commands that you access from Photoshop Elements' menu bar have a keyboard equivalent (or shortcut) that appears beside each command name in the menu. Keyboard shortcuts are great time-savers and prevent you from having to constantly refocus your energy and attention as you jump from image window to menu bar and back again. When this book introduces a command, the keyboard shortcut is also listed. For example, the keyboard shortcut for the Copy command is displayed as (Ctrl+C). You'll find a complete list of Photoshop Elements' keyboard shortcuts in the appendices.