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Adobe offers their Classroom in a Book series for the program. And I've written step-by-step books for both Premiere Elements and Photoshop Elements that are available on Amazon.com and through my web site.
Otherwise, there is the Help file.
But in any event, you can start by working through my free 8-part Basic Training tutorials. They'll show you the basic moves for working with the program.
I also teach a course on Premiere Elements 11 on http://Lynda.com.
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I will give a big +1 for Steve's Muvipix books on PrE.
There is not real "manual," and I really wish that Adobe would do a deal with Steve Grisetti, to include a copy of his book, with each copy of PrE sold.
As you mention, PrE is a consumer program, and a large part of its target market is to people, who are new to video-editing. While that is not that hard, it is alien to many first-time users, and they could certainly use a "leg up." Steve's books provide just that, and very, very effectively.
For me, things were easy, as I came to video-editing from decades of film editing, and also at a time, where there WERE printed manuals. I miss those greatly, but Steve's books certainly go a very long way, to fill that void.
I have come to realise that Adobe have forgotten about newcomers to PE11 and video editing by not including a user manual, which to me is arrogance on Adobe's part in providing consumer software.
After opening this discussion, I went on Amazon UK website to look for a book that would help and came across your book about Elements 11, which looked very good on first impression. I ordered the book about Photoshop and Premier Elements 11 and is now in the system with delivery in 3 to 4 days time.
The Classroom in a Book series that you mention I already have. I got in the hope it would help me teach my lovely wife PE11. If you are a newcomer to video editing this is definitely NOT the book to buy. It assumes the reader has a lot of knowledge about video editing and is not very helpful. I only gave one star when I wrote a review.
Will let you know what I think of the book when after it has arrived.
As you can see from my reply to Steve, his book is already on order and I had ordered it before Steve posted a reply to my plea for help.
It would not take that effort by Adobe to develop a user manual from older versions of Premier Elements or the help files that are already on their website. Adobe assume far too much when it comes to beginners in video editing.
I agree that with Steve's book in print (there is at least one more, that is good, though I do not know if the Missing Manual series has been updated for PrE 11), it would seem like a great promotion on Adobe's part.
However, Adobe has moved completely away from any printed manuals, and have opted for an online Help system. The good point of such a delivery is that Adobe can instantly make changes to the Help file, when perhaps an update changes things, or errors are discovered. Once, way back in the dark ages of personal computers, I had WordPerfect 1.0.x (by WordPerfect, Orem, UT). It had a lovely ring-bound manual. About once per quarter, WordPerfect sent me new pages for it, to either replace existing ones, or add to the manual, as changes/corrections were necessary. There was no Internet then, or even FAX machines. Things moved by "snail-mail," so were slow. Still, the manual is beautifully printed (all screen-caps, and illustrations) are done with a gloss varnish, that made them look almost 3D. Besides that one, I still have all of my manuals for Photoshop, Illustrator, PageMaker, Premiere Pro, After Effects, InDesign, and the rest. I just love books.
I find that Help files have two limitations. First, the user needs to know the exact term, when Searching, and a new user will be ill-equipped to know those terms, and it really takes two computers to have the Program fully opened, with the Help file displayed - even my dual 21" monitors get crowded, and there is a lot of clicking on various windows, to do the work, while reading the Help file. Still, the online Help is the way of the future, and almost everyone is doing similar. Guess that it's time for me to get with it, and move into 2013?
I have gifted several copies of PrE, and before I knew of Steve's books, I included the Missing Manual book, and then Steve's books, with the gift. The recipients really appreciated the "manuals," along with the programs.
Now, one learning resource, that has not been mentioned in this thread, is this very forum. Back when I started, there were no forums, as there was not then an Internet. It took several generations of programs, before there were any news groups on the NNTP - those did not come about for a couple of years. Along with those copies of PrE, I also put the URL for this forum in the card, and urge the recipients to stop by for a good read, or with any problems. When it comes to forum support, Adobe does one of the better jobs, and we greatly appreciate their efforts to keep these forums going, and as powerful, as they are.