Where Did I Save That File?
Have you ever searched your electronic files over and over looking for a document? Putting a standard file-naming system in place and adding metadata to your files can create additional organization and structure for your electronic filing system beyond using online folders.
Think about the primary types or categories of documents that you work with. Then create a three- or four-letter abbreviation to represent that file type. Begin each file name with that abbreviation to help categorize the file. Here are some examples:
- FORM – Forms
- LTR – Letters
- MEMO – Memos
- LBL – Labels
- MAP – Maps
- ENV – Envelopes
- RPT – Reports
- SIGN – Signs
Keep the list of abbreviations posted next to your computer so you can refer to it quickly when creating or searching for files until you get used to your new system. When you are consistent, all of your file types show up together on the menu list and then in alphabetical order by the name of the file.
For example, all of the forms show up together and are listed alphabetically by specific form name. The same is true for envelopes and labels.
Abbreviations also help if you create travel itineraries for multiple executives.
When using dates in your file names, use full six-digit dates so they always align in order by date. Here’s an example of a file naming convention for travel itineraries:
• XXXXXX – location or event – name or initials of traveler (e.g., 073007 – Tampa FL Admin Conf – JLP)
Another quick tip to make finding files easier is to add metadata to the files. Most software programs will now allow this when you click “File,” then “Save As.” On the “Save As” screen below the “File Name” and “Save As Type,” you can enter information about the author, tags (or keywords), title and subject information related to the file you are saving. When you add this information, you can search for files in Windows Explorer using author, tags, title or subject details you entered in this metadata on the file itself.
Don’t waste time searching for files. Implement these simple tips and find them the first time every time.
— By Julie Perrine