3 Facts Every Newbie Wants to Know About Digital Scrapbooking

Has the fear of failure stopped you in your tracks?  You’ve heard of digital scrapbooking but can’t really wrap your head around it.  But you’re a little embarrassed and afraid to ask because some people may make you feel “less than” for asking.  I understand it took me a while to get it too.  And guess what, everyone else was in the same boat at one time or another.  In this article, I’ll reveal 3 facts about digital scrapbooking that will answer the most frequently asked questions about this fun & addictive hobby.

We Live in a Digital World

First, let’s look at what digital means as it relates to scrapbooks.  A traditional scrapbook is an album we fill with decorative papers, photos, clippings, ticket stubs, flowers, strings, staples, tape, and such.  A digital scrapbook is an album too but uses computers and computerized technology.  Today we have computers so small they fit in our pocket!  Everyone has a computer of some sort and our world has become more and more digitized.

An online newspaper or blog is digital journalism.  A scanned document is a digital document.  The music and movie industries have radically changed due to digital technology.  Our cameras and photos are digital now too.  What do all of these things have in common?  They use a computer to create, manipulate, and store information.  It only makes sense that our scrapbooks go digital as well. 

What are Digital Scrapbook Products?

Secondly, what are digital scrapbook products?  I’ve heard many newbies express concern because they don’t think they’ll have access to all the traditional products they love and use.  Let me assure you, all traditional products are available as digital products too. Designers create products using many methods. They may use a program such as Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop or another graphics program to draw or design a digital product.  Some designers take photos of objects, such as flowers, foliage, brooches, sequins, or anything else you can imagine, then extract the elements they want to include in their collection.  Some scan and digitize their own artwork.  The designer saves these creations on their computer.  Next, they upload & sell their products at a digital scrapbook store.  Then you can purchase and download them from the digital scrapbook store.

Ready. Set. Wait, What’s Next?

Finally, you’re ready to make a scrapbook layout. So what’s next?  You’ll need a product and a program to work with.  When you purchase a digital product you get the link to download that product onto your computer.  Then you create your layout using photo-editing software program.  There are many programs to choose from but I recommend Adobe Photoshop Elements (PSE).  It’s a powerful program that’s fairly easy to use with some training.

My PSE4DS Primer Course will get you started with Photoshop Elements.  After you install PSE and purchase a collection you may find the different types of files confusing.  Let’s take a moment to review the types of files typically found in digital scrap products.


The Low-down on File Formats

These file formats are commonly used in digital scrapbooking; jpg, png, psd, and tif.  Photos, images, and background papers are all jpg files.  All other elements are png files because they preserve the transparency within and around an element.  Adobe’s native file format is psd (tif is an older Adobe file format).  PSD files support layers, masks, transparencies, channels, paths, vector type, and objects, etc.  Digital layouts and templates are saved as psd files to preserve all of these components. For example, if you use a template to create a layout you’ll use the psd file the designer created.

In addition, when you create a layout you’ll save it as a psd file or you won’t be able to make any changes later.  Layouts you want to share or print are images, therefore, they’re saved as jpg files.  Be sure to download the “File Formats Cheat Sheet” bonus freebie below.

Summing It Up

In this article, we discussed three things that most people new to digital scrapping don’t quite understand.

We explained how digital relates to scrapbooks, how products are created and used, and what you need to get started.

In addition, we learned about the types of files found in digital products and their differences.  All of these topics are discussed at length in Modules 1 of The Basics and Beyond course.  Please hit reply and let me know if I’ve addressed all of your questions about going digital or if you have a question you’d like answered.

Bonus Freebie


I’ve created a File Format Cheat Sheet for you to download here.

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