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Be More Productive with Good Filenames

Have you ever went to search for a specific file on your PC, only to give up after wasting 10 minutes looking? Not only do you walk away frustrated, but you may also be kicking yourself after realizing that you could have found it if you were more organized.

To help you avoid this frustration, we want to share with you three best practices to name and organize your files. Naming and finding homes for files is a task that computer users do every day; and if there is no intentional system in place, then poorly named files will pile up in random places on your PC, and make for a slow and painful computer experience.

Start a File Tree
Having an organized and well thought out file tree is a much better system then automatically saving a file to My Documents with the intention of sorting it out later. The base of your file tree needs to be major projects or different areas of your life like work, hobbies, contacts, etc. The branches of your file tree will then be subfolders within subfolders that are broken down by topic, date, version, etc. There are many ways to create a new folder, one easy way is to right click and go to new folder. You already have an file tree started for you by your operating system, with a base that looks like Documents, Pictures, Music, and Videos, but you might be better off starting from scratch and making a new file tree based on topics and themes instead of file types.

Give Descriptive File Names
Be specific when naming a file, more details work in your favor making a file easier to find. A few examples of what to include in a filename are dates, people’s names, and the version. You will want to give your file a name that is most logical to you, and be considerate of other people on your network. Others may also need to access the file, so you need to make a filename that also make sense to everyone else. You will also want to rename files that are downloaded from the internet, if you do not, then the downloaded file is automatically saved with whatever name the internet gives it, and this might not flow with your file tree.

Keywords Help With File Search
For the purpose of searching for a file, it never hurts to throw in a few additional keywords to describe it. Especially if you consider that remembering specific file names is more difficult than remembering the topic of your file. The filename also takes priority over the content of the file when it comes to the computer searching for it; this means that a filename with keywords will be found quicker. Keywords are even more important when it comes to scanned documents; this is because scans are saved as an image instead of a document with recognizable text.

Keeping your data organized will take away a lot of the frustration associated with lost files. It is also okay to delete files to declutter your network; although, remember to backup any file that could be even slightly important. It may be a large undertaking to organize the mess of files on your network, but if you go through with it and stick with your system, you will reap the rewards of productivity.