Can Adobe Premiere Elements 15 process (take over) video projects (.prel files, etc.) previously built with Premiere Elements 11?

In other words, if I upgrade my iMac Mountain Lion OS X to El Capitan and get Premiere Elements 15, am I screwed, or can I continue the projects started on Premiere Elements 11?

1 Answer 1


In general with Adobe software, newer versions of a program can open/import project files created with older versions. This makes sense, since it would be pretty stupid if you couldn't open your old projects anymore after upgrading your software version. However, in most cases the project files are not backwards compatible, meaning you can't open a project created with the current version of your software with an older release of the same software.

For this reason, if you open an old project file with a newer release of Premiere Pro, it informs you that the project file needs to be converted and prompts you to save the new project file with a new name. This way, you will still have the old project file that can be opened with the older version of Premiere. However, any additional changes you make to the project will only be present in the converted project.

For Elements, I'm not sure how the conversion is handled, but you will definitely be able to open your Premiere Elements 11 project file with Premiere Elements 15. However, once you overwrite the project file from within Premiere Elements 15, you probably won't be able to open it in Premiere Elements 11 anymore.

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    Thank you. Your answer is very encouraging and describes an ideal situation. Sometimes products fail to meet their own specs however. So I would be comforted to know if you have, or know someone who has, actually experienced this, or an equivalent, upgrade conversion?
    – Lor
    Commented Jan 8, 2017 at 19:36
  • @Lor I've done this with Premiere Pro many times, but I've never used Premiere Elements. I am quite certain however that there won't be a problem when you upgrade. But if you are worried, just install Premiere Elements 15 alongside your current version (trial is available here), import your project and check if it works before you buy the new version
    – MoritzLost
    Commented Jan 8, 2017 at 20:18
  • I would try that, but PE version 15 won't work on my current OSX 10.8 and PE version 11 may not work on a new OSX 10.11, so I'm catch 22'd to go for the complete upgrade, or not upgrade at all. At worst, I'd have to revert my Mac OSX back to 10.8. Maybe PE11 will work on OSX10.11, or the best would be PE15 will import PE11 projects under OSX10.11. Thanks again @MoritzLost. I appreciate your advice.
    – Lor
    Commented Jan 8, 2017 at 20:41
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    BTW, I will report on my experience here.
    – Lor
    Commented Jan 8, 2017 at 23:05

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