There is nothing more frustrating than not being able to find an assignment file…especially under time constraints. It is important that you practice good file management. Here are some tips for organizing files on your computer:
A. Keep a backup
The most basic rule of effective file management is to have two copies of every file you create, in two separate places. Thus if one becomes lost or damaged, you still have the second copy as a backup.
B. Name your files in a logical and reasonable fashion.
- The name final2.doc really will not mean too much to you by the end of the semester. It is best to name files using letters and numbers only. If a file will be used on a PC, never use / or . (slash or dot) in the file name, although – (dash) is okay. Avoid spaces in files that will be used on the web. Consider how you want a series of files organized when you name them. Either start all similar files with the same first letters to group them, or name them individually, and add numbers to the end of each file to differentiate between different versions.
- Here are some best practices for organizing your folders from the University of Wisconsin-EauClaire:
- Create a folder design which will minimize the number of files displayed, when you open a folder.
- Create descriptive folder names which are meaningful.
- Type folder names in CamelCase (also know as BumpyCaps, CapWords, and HumpBack) . CamelCase capitalizes the first letter of each word to help distinguish the words as you eliminate spaces.
- Try to limit the number of sublevel folders within a folder. (Using Folders. (n.d.). In File Management. Retrieved from the University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire).
- Example of a well organized class folder:
C. Always know where you are saving a file.
- Check the path the computer is going to use EVERY time you save a file.
D. Always save your file before printing
- If there is a problem with printing, it can prevent you from saving changes
E. It is best to work on a copy of the file on the local hard disk.
- Save your changes to that file frequently, and then copy that file to your personal file storage periodically, keeping an archive of older editions. Multiple versions means that if you do irreparable damage to the current file, you can go back to the last saved version, and reconstruct.
F. Memory sticks, CD/DVD RW’s and other removable storage:
- Removable storage devices are very convenient, inexpensive, and portable. However they can be lost, and the media with which they are created does wear out eventually. The data, for instance, can also become corrupted, and it may only be partially recoverable. If you use writable CD's, please be sure to back them up on an additional media or network server, replace them yearly, and keep them in a protective case in order to keep dirt and dust from getting into the disk and scratching the media.
If you have your own computer then saving a copy of a file to the hard drive on your personal computer is a good backup. Don't let it be your only copy, because even hard drives can fail!
(File Management: Best Practices. (n.d.). In Network Basics. Retrieved from http://www.bates.edu/ils/2011/how-do-i/servers/file-management-best-practices/).
Learning Tip: Save, Save, Save -- Save your files frequently (every 15 minutes or so). Save your files with meaningful names. Save your files to an appropriate folder, which you have created. (Don’t automatically save everything to the My Documents folder!)