Publishers of technology books, eBooks, and videos for creative people

Home > Articles > Design > Adobe Photoshop Elements

This chapter is from the book

Creating a greeting card

Personalized greeting cards based on your own photos make a great way to show friends and family how much you care—a really attractive card can spend months on a loved one’s mantelpiece and may even be framed and displayed with pride.

You can include one or more images on each page of a greeting card and either print it on your home printer, order prints online, or save it to your hard disk, and then send it via e-mail. Once you’ve begun your greeting card, the Create tab offers controls for navigating between pages, and easy access to layout templates, artwork, and effects to help you to create sophisticated designs quickly and easily.

Choosing a size and theme

For this project you’ll use two photos to create a folded invitation card.

  1. In the Organizer, click Show All in the Find bar above the Media Browser. In the Keyword Tags panel, expand the Imported Keyword Tags category, and click the find box beside the Lesson 04 tag to isolate the images for this lesson.
  2. In the Media Browser, select the images card_1.jpg and card_2.jpg.
  3. Click the Create tab above the Task Pane. On the Create tab, click the Greeting Card button. The Greeting Card window opens.

  4. At the left, the Sizes pane lists size options for various online services; choose the third listing under Shutterfly: 7.00 x 5.00 inches (Folded, Landscape). From the Themes pane, choose Colorful. You can use a theme “as is”, or as a design template that you can customize. The preview shows that this theme will make a good starting-point for our design, with a front page layout occupied by a single image. Make sure Autofill With Selected Images is activated; then, click OK.

Photoshop Elements takes a few moments to create the appropriate number of pages, place the selected images in the template, and generate a preview. The card design appears in the Edit window and the Create tab presents the Pages panel, where you can click the thumbnails to navigate between the pages in your layout. A thumbnail for your as-yet-untitled photo project appears in the Project Bin.

Positioning photos and replacing frames

You can start to customise your project by tweaking the layout for both pages.

  1. Right-click / Control-click the cover page photo in the Edit window and choose Position Photo In Frame from the context menu. A control bar appears at the upper left of the image, with a scaling slider and buttons to re-orient the image or replace it with another.

  2. Drag the scaling slider to the left, reducing the size of the photo until it is just a little wider than the page. Keep an eye on the Width (W) and Height (H) values in the tool options bar above the Edit window; we reduced the photo to 72.7%. Use the arrow keys on your keyboard, or simply drag the image to position it as shown in the illustration at the right. When you’re satisfied with the size and position of the photo, click the green check mark at the right of the control bar to commit the changes you’ve made.

  3. In the Pages panel on the Create tab, select the Inside layout. Click inside either of the empty image place-holders to select it, taking care not to click too close to the instruction text. Shift-click the other empty frame to add it to the selection; then, press Backspace / Delete on your keyboard. Click Yes to confirm the deletion, and then delete both text frames in the lower part of the layout.
  4. Right-click / Control-click the occupied image frame and choose Fit Frame To Photo from the context menu. Drag the handle at the lower right of the bounding box to scale the photo to about 120%. You don’t need to use the Shift key; the proportions are constrained by default. Drag the photo a little to the right to centre it horizontally on the page. When you’re satisfied with the result, click the green check mark at the lower right of the image to commit the changes.
  5. Click Artwork at the top of the Create tab. The thumbnail menus present a subset of the artwork from the Content library, with choices most likely to be appropriate for the theme you selected. Collapse the Backgrounds category, and then scroll down in the frames menu to locate the “Groovy” frame.

  6. With the photo still selected in the Inside layout, either drag the “Groovy” frame swatch from the Artwork panel and drop it directly onto the image, or simply double-click the swatch in the Artwork menu.

Replacing the background image

Each photo project theme consists of a different preset combination of background artwork, image frame, graphics, layer effects and text styles. In some cases you may be happy with the un-edited result once your image has been placed in the layout but in other instances you may wish to treat the theme as a starting point or template and go on to customize the design.

All the design elements can be moved, replaced, or deleted. Images (with or without frames) can also be duplicated, which is one way to add more photos to the layout if you wish.

  1. Click the Switch To Advanced Mode button at the left below the Edit pane.

    There are two major changes in the workspace: the Layers panel has opened below the Create tab, and the Artwork menu now contains all of the backgrounds, frames, and graphics from the Content library, rather than a limited set. Note, however, that the sort and filter functions you used in the Content panel in Full Edit mode are not available on the Artwork tab.

  2. Hide the Project Bin by double-clicking its header. Drag the upper edge of the Layers panel’s header bar upwards as far as it will go. You can see that at this point this page is made up of four layers. Items on higher layers appear in front of the contents of lower layers.

    The Layers panel displays a separate layer for each element in the layout.

    Starting from the bottom, the Background layer contains background art from the Content library, marked with a Smart Object icon in the lower right corner. You can ignore the locked _DZGRADIENT layers—these non-printing layers contain the shading between facing pages for on screen viewing. Above the Background in the stacking order is the layer with the currently selected framed photo.

  3. Click to activate the Artwork tab. Scroll down a little in the Backgrounds menu to Locate the background “Balloons.” Either double-click the Balloons background swatch, or drag it onto the background in the Edit window, keeping an eye on what happens in the Layers panel, as well as the preview.

Photoshop elements automatically replaces the old background with your new choice, despite the fact that the background layer was not selected. Background artwork can be scaled, rotated, and moved—but for the purposes of this exercise we’ll accept the default placement.

Adding graphics from the Content library

You can use clip-art items from the Content library to create atmosphere, to add dimension, movement, or humour to a design, or to suggest associations that will link your images with other elements in the layout in a way that tells a story.

  1. Scroll through the Graphics category on the Artwork tab to locate the red balloon (Balloon 07). Drag the swatch onto the lower half of the Inside layout.
  2. Drag the graphic to position it on the page, and use the bounding box handles to scale it as shown in the illustration. When you’re satisfied with the placement of the item, click the Commit button (pse10_greencommitbutton.jpg) to commit the changes.

Adding text to a layout

With the Type tools accessible in the Advanced Mode, you can place editable type anywhere in your layout in several different ways. Photoshop Elements includes several variants of the Type tool. We’ll start with the default variant.

  1. In the toolbox, select the Horizontal Type tool (pse10_typetool.jpg).
  2. Set up the tool options bar as shown in the illustration below. Choose Comic Sans MS from the Font Family menu and Bold from the Font Style menu. In the Font Size text box, type 30 pt and then press Enter / Return on your keyboard. Choose Center Text (pse10_centertext.jpg) from the paragraph alignment options. Click the color swatch to open the color picker.
  3. Move the pointer over the preview in the edit window and sample the light blue of the balloon at the lower right. Click OK.
  4. Click to place the type insertion cursor a little above the center of the red balloon. Type Saturday, press Enter / Return on your keyboard, and then type May 15th 2pm. Press Enter / Return again; then, type at City Park. Click the Commit button (pse10_greencommitbutton.jpg) in the tool options bar to commit the text.
  5. Select the Move tool (pse10_movetool.jpg) in the toolbox; then, center the text on the red balloon.
  6. Select the Type tool again and click the color swatch in the tool options bar. Sample the yellow of the balloon at the upper left. Change the font size to 44 pt. Click between the framed image and the central fold of the card layout and type Don’t miss the fun!. Click the green Commit button in the tool options bar to commit the text; then, use the Move tool to adjust its placement as necessary.

In the Layers panel the design now has two more layers: one for each text message. Most of the space on the text layers is transparent, so that only the text itself interrupts your view of the layers below.

Whenever you use the Type tool, Photoshop Elements automatically creates a new text layer in your image or layout. The type you enter remains active on the text layer, just like type in a word processing document—you can return to edit its content, scale it, reposition it, or change its color at any time.

Warping text

It’s easy to stretch and skew text into unusual shapes using the Photoshop Elements Warp Text effects; the hard part is to avoid over using them!

  1. Make sure the Type tool is active, and then click anywhere on the text “Don’t miss the fun!” in the Edit window. It’s not necessary to highlight the text because warp effects are automatically applied to the entire text layer.
  2. In the tool options bar, click the Create Warped Text button (pse10_warptext.jpg) to open the Warp Text dialog box. Choose the Arc effect from the Style menu, making sure the Horizontal variant is activated.
  3. The Warp Text dialog offers several controls for changing the way the effect is applied. Set the Bend value to –50%, reversing the direction of the Arc curve. Set the Horizontal Distortion to +50%, and then click OK to close the Warp Text dialog box. In the Layers panel, the text layer thumbnail now displays a Warped Text icon.
  4. The text layer is still editable. To check this out, first click the text layer; then, swipe to select the D with the Type tool and type a lower-case d over it.
  5. With the Type tool, click anywhere on the text in the red balloon, and then, click the Create Warped Text button in the tool options bar. This time, choose the Bulge effect from the warp Style menu. Make sure the Horizontal variant is activated, and then set the Bend value to +60% and click OK.
  6. Select the Move tool and hold it just outside any of the bounding box handles. Drag with the curved double-arrow cursor to rotate the bulged text slightly in a clockwise direction. Confirm the change. If necessary, use the arrow keys on your keyboard to center the text on the balloon.

Using layers and layer styles to refine a project

Now that all the elements of this page design are in place, you can add a little polish to your project with a few quick touches from the Effects menu.

  1. In the Layers panel, make sure the layer “Saturday...” is selected.
  2. Choose Window > Favorites to open the Favorites panel. If the Favorites panel opens in an inconvenient position, drag it into the Panels Bin by its header bar or position it where it won’t obstruct your view of the card or the Layers panel. In the Favorites panel, double-click the Low drop shadow swatch, and then the Simple Sharp Inner bevel swatch.
  3. In the Layers panel, right-click / Control-click the layer “Saturday...” and choose Copy Layer Style from the context menu. Right-click / Control-click the layer “don’t miss the fun!” and choose Paste Layer Style.
  4. Finally, select the layer “Balloon 07” in the Layers panel; then double-click the High drop shadow swatch n the Favorites panel. Repeat this process for the layer Groovy 1.

Fitting text to an image

Photoshop Elements 10 introduces three new variants of the Text tool: the Text On Selection tool, the Text On Shape tool, and the Text On Custom Path tool.

These new tools all enable you to shape your text creatively so that it fits with image elements in your photo. In this exercise, you’ll use the Text On Selection tool to fit a playful message to the photo on the front page of the card layout.

  1. With the Horizontal Type tool, click in the yellow text, and then click the Commit button in the tool options bar. This ensures that the Text tool is “loaded” with our bright yellow. Choose Select > Deselect Layers. In the tool options bar, change the font size to 30 pt.
  2. In the Layers panel, right-click / Control-click the layer “don’t miss the fun!” and choose Copy Layer Style from the context menu. In the Pages preview on the Create tab, click the Front page thumbnail.

    Like all images placed in a photo project layout, our front page photo is contained in a frame; the frame and photo are grouped together on a layer that takes the name of the frame preset. In this particular case, the frame preset is effectively an invisible frame, named “No Frame.” Before you can work in this image with a selection tool, you’ll need to partially ungroup the photo and its invisible container.

  3. In the Layers panel, right-click / Control-click the layer “No Frame 1” and choose Simplify Layer from the context menu.
  4. Right-click / Control-click the Text tool in the toolbar and choose Text On Selection from the tool variants menu. Over the Edit window, the pointer changes to a selection cursor. Click and drag inside the red panel on the near side of the slide.
  5. When you’re happy with your selection, drag the Offset slider in the tool options bar all the way to the left to contract the selection a little, then click the green Commit button in the Edit window.
  6. Move the pointer over the upper edge of the selection; the pointer changes to a text insertion cursor. Click the edge of the selection at a point about half-way down the slide, and then type Please come to Lilly’s party!. Click the green Commit button in the tool options bar to commit the text.
  7. Select the Move tool and drag the text, together with its selection path, slightly downwards and to the left, so that it sits within the red panel rather than along its top edge. Activate the Text On Selection tool again and click between the “t” and the “o” in the word “to,” where you can see a small square on the text path marking your original insertion point.
  8. Hold down the Control / Command key, while holding the pointer over the text insertion point; the text cursor changes to show two black arrows. Drag the text backwards and forwards a little along the text path, taking care to keep the pointer above the path. When you’re happy with your placement, click the Commit button in the tool options bar.
  9. In the Layers panel, right-click / Control-click the text layer and choose Paste Layer Style from the context menu. In the menu bar, choose Layer > Deselect Layers. Congratulations; you’ve completed your first photo project!
  10. Choose File > Save. Name the file Invitation and save it to your PSE10CIB > Lessons > My CIB Work folder in Photo Project Format. Activate the option Include In The Elements Organizer, and then click Save. Choose File > Close, click the Reset Panels button (pse10_resetpanelsbutton.jpg), and then return to the Organizer.

Peachpit Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from Peachpit and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about Peachpit products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information

To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.


Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites; develop new products and services; conduct educational research; and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.


If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information

Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at and we will process the deletion of a user's account.


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by Adobe Press. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive:

Sale of Personal Information

Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents

California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure

Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact

Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice

We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020