Getting off Auto - Updating Photoshop Elements Camera Raw

Photoshop Elements is a simpler version of their full Photoshop product - and is still available as a one off purchase (unlike full PS which is a subscription service).  One of the downsides of Elements is Adobe's limited support arrangements - they seem to bring out an updated version every year or so & only support that and one previous.  This doesn't matter at all if you always shoot JPEG images (any version of PSE will open those - and newer versions don't seem to add much in the way of new features).  However, if you shoot RAW, there's a catch - once out of support, the "Check For Updates" feature stops working and you cannot upgrade your software to the latest version of Camera RAW.  Since new camera bodies frequently tweak the file contents, you may find you simply cannot open the RAW files of a new camera - until Adobe eventually get around to updating Elements (if you're lucky) or you buy the newest version.  I ran into this problem recently with the new Canon R5, when I realised my Elements 2019 was already out of support.  As there wasn't even a brand new Elements available, it was my assumption that even if I bought the current latest, it wouldn't work with the new R5 files.

However, Adobe HAD updated the Camera Raw plugin for full Photoshop, so I had a poke & a play, with little success - there seemed to be no way to use this plugin (even though it was standard between Elements & Full PS).  Eventually, however, I found an old post on - believe it or not - the official Adobe Support website, that explained a way to manually install Camera Raw and get it to work.  It was a well hidden, but it was on the Adobe official website, so can't be regarded as a hack - rather a workaround they've obviously forgotten to delete!

So, here it is, should you ever need to update your version of Elements to get it working with newer RAW files

If you haven't been able to update the Camera Raw plug-in for Elements, follow these steps:

  1. Download and install the latest Camera Raw version from Camera Raw plug-in installer.
  2. Quit all Adobe applications.
    • On macOS, double-click the .dmg file to mount it.
    • On Windows double-click the downloaded .zip file to unzip it. (Windows might unzip the file for you.)
    • On macOS, double-click the .pkg file to start the installer. 
    • On Windows, double-click the resulting .exe file to start the installer.
  3. Follow the on-screen instructions.
  4. Once installed successfully, close the installer window.
  5. Navigate to the following folder:
    • On macOS: /Library/Application Support/Adobe/Plug-ins/CC/File Formats
    • On Windows: C:\Program Files\Common Files\Adobe\Plug-Ins\CC\File Formats
  6. Copy the Camera Raw plug-in from the CC > File Formats folder that is mentioned in the above step.
  7. Navigate to the following folder: 
    • On macOS: /Library/Application Support/Adobe/Plug-ins/Elements<Version Number>/File Formats
    • On Windows: C:\Program Files\Common Files\Adobe\Plug-Ins\Elements<Version Number>\File Formats
  8. Replace the existing Camera Raw plugin in Elements<Version Number>folder with the plug-in that you copied in step 8.

Hopefully this will help everyone :-)


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  • Thanks WJ that was very helpful and I've updated my version of Photoshop Elements 14.
    I suppose you don't know whether it's possible to update Camera Raw in Lightroom. I've searched the Web in vain

    I've got a standalone version Lightroom 5.1 but I've been reluctant to sign up to Adobe's monthly fee to get the latest version of Lightroom and Photoshop. I don't need the full Photoshop CC.
    If I have a file format that Lightroom can't read I convert it to a DNG file using Adobe DNG Converter which is a bit of a nuisance.



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  • In reply to TeeJay:

    I don't know for certain, but I wouldn't be surprised to find that it is possible and that the process is very similar. If you kindof follow the steps but use "Lightroom" in place of "Elements" in the folder names, it might be as simple as that!


    Find me on Flickr / All about your camera - The Getting off Auto Index