First we'll talk about Drives
- Your H:\ drive Your HomeFolder
- Your W:\ drive Your WorkFolder (aligns with your department)
- The N:\ AllCampus Drive (this is the location of the Telephone Directory)
- The S:\ Common Drive
Let me tell you about a man and his flash drive. He plugged it into my computer once and it didn’t have any folders, just files… lots of files. But in case it isn’t, folders are the backbone of organization, but even if you have folders, you can still be very unorganized.
A folder that’s not properly labeled or is in the wrong place is just as bad, if not worse, than files all over your computer without a home (folder).
One way to organize your folders and files is by category, or type. For instance, let’s say you have documents for school, work, personal and professional (separate from work), as well as music, photos and movies. Obviously music, photos, videos and documents should all be kept separate, but organizing goes a step further. For example, you should also organize the types of documents that you have. There’s a couple ways to do this.
You could organize by file type, which I don’t recommend very much. Sure it’s better, but it’s not ideal. It’s mostly used for mass-organizing and “quick fixing” although there’s not much “fix” involved. This method could mostly be helpful if you’re going through things you no longer need at the moment and/or don’t care to get too detailed. It does have its place, and I have some files which I’ve organized this way, but it always leaves you knowing that you need to organize “those files”. For this reason, it’s not a method that I highly recommend — there are better ways.
You could also organize by what category the file is most relevant to. For instance, a school document should go into a school folder.
Organizing by date is also helpful, but shouldn’t be used solely by itself. The reason being, if you ever perform a search for a file, you might find it in a folder labeled “04-11-2006″. If that’s all you have to go by, you will likely have to open the folder to look at its contents to see what is in it. It can get worse if you file all files this way and have all kinds of types intermingled with each other. Again, this isn’t very organized and perhaps worse than nothing at all.
If you feel adding a date is necessary (which I’ll often do for time sensitive files or files which are updated often, such as a resume), add a description with the date at the end or beginning, depending on your preference.
Subfolders are a necessity to organizing files. It’s one of the great perks that a computer has over traditional filing cabinets. An example of a good use of subfolders would be having yourWork folder in My Documents, a Projects folder in the Work folder, “[Name of Project and Date]folder” in the Projects folder, and so on (if additional folders are needed).
However, be conscious of the number of folders within folders that you have because it can be a daunting task opening folder after folder looking for your files. If there are files that you know you need to quickly access, try to keep them only a folder or two away. Part of this has to do with the system that you are creating, have created or are just the most comfortable with, but it also must do with practicality and ease of access.
Another thing that is important to consider when you’re organizing your files is to be as brief as possible, but also as detailed as possible. For many cases, you might be the only one using the folders or files, but if you do decide to share something with someone, either on a personal or professional basis, you want it to be clear to them, as well as to you. You don’t want to have to think about what you were trying to describe in a folder title. Don’t name a folder “school stuff”name it “School” — notice the emphasis on capitalizing things, which also makes things look nicer.
Then under your school folder you can organize things by school (if there’s more than one). If you don’t have more than one school which you’ve attended you might name your folder“School: [Name of School].” If you want to abbreviate your school’s initials, that should be fine as you’ll likely know what they mean. However, be careful to not go overboard with abbreviations. Although they can be handy in keeping names short, the most important thing is that you understand what is in that file or folder.
Like I was mentioning previously about make sure your files aren’t hidden deep in the Subfolder Forest, there are other things you can do to make your files easily accessible. Besides the obvious of being able to find a file quickly, it also plays a huge role in maintaining your file management status. In other words, it’s essential that you can quickly and easily save a new file to its correct spot on your computer.
In Windows Explorer there are numerous ways to view files. Along with viewing files in various icon sizes, there’s also a preview pane to see what the file looks like before opening it. You’re also able to sort your files by date, name, etc. This doesn’t directly correlate with managing files per say, but it allows for an overall better experience. What we’re aiming for is less work and more efficiency and how you view your files can do just that.
1. Adopt consistent methods for file and folder naming. When learning how to manage files and folders, it is important that you develop a naming scheme for the kinds of files you create most often and then stick to it. To change an existing file or folder name, right-click the name in the folder structure. Click Rename, and then type the new name.
2. Keep names short. Even though you can use long file names in Windows, you should not necessarily do so. Long file names can be harder to read.
Let your folder structure do some of the naming. For example, rather than creating a file called Great American Novel Chapter One First Effort, you can build a structure like this:
3. Separate ongoing and completed work. To keep the Documents folder from becoming too unwieldy, use it only for files you're actively working on. As a result, you can reduce the number of files you need to search through and the amount of data you need to back up. Every month or so, move the files you're no longer working on to a different folder or location, such as a folder on your desktop, a special archive folder, a flash drive, an external hard disk drive, or even a CD.
4. Store like with like. Restricting folders to a single document type (or predominantly one type) makes it easier for you to find files. For example, with all of your graphics in a single folder.
5. Avoid large folder structures. If you need to put so many subfolders in a folder that you can't see all of them at a glance, consider creating an alphabetic menu.
6. Use shortcuts and shortcut links instead of multiple copies. If you need to get to the same file from multiple locations, don't create copies of the file. Create shortcuts to it instead. Shortcuts are links to files or programs and are represented by icons with an arrow in the lower-left corner. To create a shortcut, right-click the file and then click Create Shortcut. You can drag the shortcut to other locations. Microsoft Office 2013 includes some built-in shortcuts with the new Backstage view. To see Backstage view, open an Office file and then click the File tab. In Backstage view, click the Recent tab for a list of links to your recent documents. The Recent tab even includes a Recover Unsaved Documents option. In Backstage view, you can create, save, and send documents, inspect documents for hidden metadata or personal information, set options, and more.