Digital Scrapbooking Software – Which to Select?

Approaching digital scrapbooking for the first time, your immediate challenge is most likely to be – what software should I use? This article aims to help you understand the different types of digital scrapbooking software available, some of the “must have” functions, and how to match up the many options to best fit your own personal working style.

So, how should you decide which digital scrapbooking software to use? From a bird’s eye view, there are 3 types:

  • Scrapbook Layout Programs
  • Photo editing packages
  • Online photo album creation services

For folks coming new to scrapbooking, or simply seeking a quick way to share simpler designs with friends and family an online photo albums can be a quick and easy way to start.

However, if you prefer an outlet for your creative skills, or if you’re an experienced paper scrapper, you’ll probably want to have greater control over all aspects of your design, and be looking for the highest artistic functionality from your digital scrapbooking software. Then you should consider either Scrapbook Layout software, or full function Photo Editing software.

Let’s recap the basics…For digital scrapbooking, you “must have” methods to:

  • upload photo images to your computer
  • manipulate your photos
  • create pages which may include graphics, photos, journaling text, audio commentary, video clips
  • save pages easily, safely and securely
  • share your pages using the media of your choice

1. Digital Scrapbook Layout Programs

Layout programs allow you to easily and quickly assemble digital scrapbook pages from pre-made graphics, photos, and journaling. They also help organize your digital photos, page themes and journaling.

Here are some examples:

  • MemoryMixer from Lasting Impressions ($50 PC & Mac)
  • My Memories Suite from Polaroid ($40 PC & Mac)
  • Scrapbook Factory Deluxe from Nova ($40 PC only)
  • Digital Scrapbook Artist Deluxe from Serif ($50 PC only)

However, do look closely at the product descriptions. Some layout programs are still missing functions that most digital scrapbookers need. For example, some don’t support transparent PNG files, are not capable of at least 200ppi for quality printing, or they do not have the ability to place shadows. If these are important to you, check carefully.

2. Photo Editing Programs

These are more powerful programs for editing photos and they work well for creating digital elements, but you’ll probably find they take longer to learn. Some popular examples:

  • Adobe Photoshop Elements ($75) PC & Mac, or Adobe Photoshop CS4 ($250)
  • Corel Paint Shop Pro ($100 PC only)
  • Ulead Photoimpact ($100 PC only)
  • Apple Arpeture 3 (Mac only) ($200)

If you feel a photo editing program is the right way to go, we’d recommend Photoshop Elements since its very widely used, available on PC and Mac, and and has more tutorial support available than any other digital scrapbooking software.