Photoshop Elements 5 introduced the embedded catalog where you can tag your photos based on pretty much anything – people, places, events, etc. I love the whole concept of being able to tag photos, and Adobe did it right in PE5. I’ve spent hours tagging the pictures we’ve taken, so the catalog is pretty valuable to me since it represents quite an investment of time. Since it’s something I wouldn’t want to lose, I include it in my off-site backups that I routinely run. One thing I noticed is that my catalog seemed very large. For around 6,000 photos, not all of them tagged yet, my catalog file was pushing over 90MB. That just felt… big! Turns out I was right. While trouble-shooting a problem with Photoshop Elements freezing in Vista, I discovered a little tip to shrink the catalog.
Before you launch Photoshop Elements in “View and Organize Photos” mode, press and hold the Control key. Then click the menu to launch the organizer view. You will see a prompt to compact and recover the catalog. Click OK.
You should see a progress bar, and then a confirmation that the process was completed.
Once I did this on my 90MB catalog file, it shrunk down to 20MB! Excellent! Now the backup routine is a little more zippy.