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Tips to Help You Organize Files

7 Tips on How to Manage & Organize Files

Organize files so you can find your work easily on your computerYou work with documents, graphics, presentations, and other files all day long —and there is a good chance that you have plenty of them! This may mean that it could take you some time to find the documents that you are needing. It may be that it's just a couple of minutes here and there, but if you add them all up, you may realize that you are spending a little more time than you like on this task.

The following tips such as organize files by keeping file folder structures small, will help you manage and organize files in a way that you will be able to retrieve them quickly.

Organize Files by Using Documents - It's a good idea to take advantage of the Documents feature (called My Documents in Windows XP and earlier versions) in Microsoft Windows. To use this function in Windows, click on Start, then click on Documents. The Documents folder is the easiest way for you to keep your personal documents all in one spot.

When you use Documents, you will be better able to:

  • Retrieve files - Windows makes it very easy for you to get to the Documents folder (and its subfolders) in several places such as the Start menu, common File Open and File Save dialog boxes, the task pane in Windows Explorer and many other places.
  • Back up files. This should be done on a regular basis and when you have all your files and documents in one place, it makes the back up process so much easier!
  • Separate files from programs. When your document files are separate from your program files there is a much lower risk of you accidentally deleting your documents when you upgrade or install programs.

Use a consistent naming convention for files and folders. Create a consistent way to name your files that you create the most often and follow this pattern always!

Keep file names short. Although you can use long file names in Windows, it does not mean that it's the best way to name your files. The longer the names, the more difficult they are to read.

Organize files on your computerSeparate your work from ongoing and completed. To make sure the Documents folder doesn't get out of control, use it only for files that you are working on now. This way you limit the number of files you have to search though and the number of files you need to back up. Periodically, move the files that you are finished with into another folder or location, such as an archive folder, a CD or an external hard drive.

Keep like with like. Make sure that all similar files are in the same folder, so it's easier for you to find files. An example is to keep all your graphics files in one folder, it is very easy to use the Filmstrip view and slide show feature in Windows Explorer to find the exact picture you need for your project.

Keep file folder structures small. Avoid large ones at all costs. If you need to put a lot of subfolders in a folder that you are not able to see all of them at a glance, try creating an alphabetical menu.

Use shortcuts and links rather than multiple copies. If you need to retrieve the same file from many different locations, don't make copies of the same file. Instead, create shortcuts to one file. Once you have a shortcut, you can copy it and put it in many different places.

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