Tutorial: Organizing Your Digital Files

As digital scrappers we tend to collect a lot of goodies and if we aren't organized, things are hard to find and quickly get out of control. Here are a few tips to organize all those goodies and not let our hard drive and CDs become a mess! To see the transcript of our chat, click here.

First off I suggest you download a couple of free programs that I can't live without!

Irfanview - an image viewer. Fabulous for quickly viewing images files and batch renaming or converting/resizing. Downside - doesn't handle PNG's well.
Picasa - another image viewer but you can add keywords and tag your files for quick searching. Lots of other features too.

Organizing Your Photos

First off, lets discuss photos. Everyone has their own way of organizing their photos, some better than others. You need to find a way that works well for you whatever it is. I'm going to share with you the way I do it, which works well for me.

  1. All of my photos are kept in 1 folder called "photos"
  2. All photos are kept in the appropriate years folder
  3. When I download new photos from my camera it gets put into a folder with the date it was downloaded and they are kept there until I rename the photos.
  4. I rename the photos in this format YYYY_MM_DD_Event_## (using irfanview) that way I can always find what I need. Once renamed, they go into the year folder. I don't separate them into separate folders for months or events because I like to look at all of my photos at once without flipping through a million folders.
  5. I then go into Picasa and add keywords to each photo or group of photos with who is in the photo, etc. and more details if needed.

I organize my scrapbook pages in pretty much the same manner.

I put the original PSD files in the year folder and then JPGs for printing and web in their coordinating folder.

Scrapping Stuff

  1. When I download something it goes into the appropriate folder. I then unzip it and immediately add keywords (using Picasa) including where I downloaded it and who designed it.
  2. I keep kits together in their individual folders. I sometimes separate backgrounds and embellishments into folders depending on what they are.

Now these directions are all wonderful and great to do from here on out, but how do you organize all those files you already have? Using Picassa have it find all of your files, then just start adding keywords. This morning I organized almost 2000 embellishments I had collected that were on a CD (Picasa remembers items even if they aren't on your harddrive) in under 2 hours.

First I went through and highlighted all of the eyelets and added the keyword "eyelet" to all of them. (In Picasa you can add keywords to an entire batch of selected items.) I then did a search for eyelet and it gave me all of the eyelets. I then went through them and highlighted all of the round eyelets and added the keyword "round" then I did "square," "hearts," etc. Then I went through and added other keywords like "metallic" and different colors. I did this with all the different kinds of embellishments (tags, charms, etc.) and just kept adding keywords.

It can seem like a daunting task, but well worth the effort. You may want to try the powerscrapping approach and just set aside a certain amount of time each day to work on it or doing a certain number of folders each day. Just remember to keep doing the new stuff as you get them and eventually you'll get all caught up! Then all of your files will be easy to find when you are ready to scrap. Just go into Picasa, search for your file, select it and hit CTRL-ENTER and it will open up windows explorer so you know where the file is located. Happy Scrapping!


For a printable version of this quick class, click here



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