Pse8 should be able to save a bmp with an alpha channel.
How are you making your alpha channel?
How do you know that the alpha channel was not saved?
Anyway, here's a quick rundown.
1. Either use a file you want or make a new document.
2. In the layers panel, add a new blank layer and put the logo
or picture you want to use to define the alpha channel.
3. Ctrl+click on the layer you want for your alpha (layer 1 above) to load the selection.
Then go to Select>Inverse.
4. Go to Select>Save Selection and name your new selection Alpha 1 and click ok.
5. Save as a BMP. The 32 bit option should be enabled by default and no need to worry
about the advanced options for now.
The 32 bit option only means you are saving the image with an extra channel (RGBA)
and is not same as an image in a 32 bit depth mode.
6. Open your bmp file into pse8 and go to Select>Load Selection.
You should see Alpha 1 listed.
7. You can also check for channels in your image by going to:
Filter>Render>Lighting Effects and at the bottom under Texture channels
will be all the channels in your document.
Hope this helps.
MTSTUNER, thanks for replying and for taking the time to post your informative tutorial. I didn't know that PSE 8 could export selection information to the BMP format. I experimented with creating multiple layers, each with its own uniquely saved "new selection", and saved to 32-bit BMP. However it seems that PSE 8 cannot export more than one selection (unless I'm doing something wrong). Only one exported selection would just require 1-bit of alpha, so 7 bits of alpha space seem to be wasted...or used for something else?
Your post indicates that PSE 8 interprets the 8-bits of alpha in a different way, unfortunately, than what I wanted. I was expecting that the alpha channel would be used to store "transparency" (or more accurately, "opacity") information and when I currently export to a BMP file using the 32-bit option, opacity/transparency information is not preserved. 8 bits of alpha would nicely provide 256 levels of opacity,
Such a capability seems to be hinted at with the disabled option of "A8 R8 G8 B8" in the Advanced Modes dialog (as detailed in my original post).
I am rephrasing my original question to "Photoshop Elements 8.0 - Cannot export transparency (via alpha) to BMP files?"
BMP does not support transparency, hence the use of an alpha channel.
When you save a selection in pse, your really saving a channel, pse just calls it
saving a selection since it does not have a channels palette.
Maybe if we knew what the purpose and intended destination (other program)
of the bmp files were, we could understand better.