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Tips for Naming Your Files Appropriately

Picture this.

You’re at the library searching for a book that your friend recommended about your favorite hobby. Fortunately for you, most libraries are notorious for their organization methods, meaning you should know exactly what aisle, shelf and general area a book is located, making your search that much easier. Similarly, you should consider treating your digital files on your computer in the same way, with proper file naming and placement.

We’ve all seen it, and have more than likely been there: a cluttered desktop full of images, PDFs, Word documents, you name it! Or, you’ve been requested to send a client a copy of the most recent design you have mocked up and it’s saved on a hard drive… but where was it saved?

Implementing a file naming system that works for you and your colleagues is key in establishing a proper workflow and to more easily communicate to clients. As a photographer and designer, I have found a method for storing my digital assets that makes locating my work stress-free, clean, and easily explainable to coworkers.

To start, consider categorizing your folders by client. By creating corresponding folders for each of your customers, you can ensure that there will be no confusion of varying assets ranging from all the types of projects that are dealt with frequently.

After client folders, save files by beginning with job numbers, invoice numbers, etc., if applicable to your business. Job numbers allow you to reference the specific file you are looking for, without having to go on a wild search. Plus, your computer system allows you to categorize and filter documents from low to high values, and vice versa, which automatically creates an easily navigable list.

Following job numbers, accompany the appropriate number with a project title or description. It’s extremely difficult to memorize all of your projects by an extension of numbers, so a title is necessary for quick searching capabilities!

Design alterations and requested changes happen regularly, so it’s not unlikely that you’ll come across various versions of your document. It might only appear minor but this actually has a large impact on successfully sharing various copies of the same design to clients and your team. Try to add a “version” (see image below) for each time you make a change to direct any feedback to the latest version that you are currently working on. This step helps eliminate room for error for outside parties and help them avoid from looking at a wrong version of the job!

I have found that my workflow has promoted an effective and easy way to locate my desired files and has slimmed down the margin for error when sharing my work with others. I would highly suggest a similar system to anyone who works with various clients, projects, and tasks day in and day out! Share your best file naming practice below!

Nate-Revard-150

Article written by:

Nate Revard

Marketing Assistant

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