Adobe Bridge is a file managing software that is currently free to use.

It is really helpful to get an overview of multiple files because Bridge can directly show you what’s inside PDF, Illustrator (and many other formats) files. It also shows some additional information, like the size of an image or even geotags (if available).

I thought it is nice to know that such software exists before you clean up your desktop ?

Create a Syntax for filenames

Having a standardized Syntax for naming files makes naming files a much faster process.

This is the Syntax I am using, which I adopted from an ad agency I once worked at. But come up with your own syntax that fits your needs.

Create a standardized file structure

A standardized file structure comes in handy if you open up projects again, which are a few months old or even multiple years because the clients want some changes after a year, for example, or you can reuse assets for another project.

It is also helpful if you hand over multiple projects to someone else because he can recognize the pattern and knows where to find what.

Consistency

Like in many things in life, consistency is also important for file handling. If you switch your naming Syntax or file structure every once in a while, it is harder to orientate in older projects.

No 02_ 04_ 00_

Some people name their folders.

02_Final Result

04_archive

Putting a number in front of repetitive folders is a bad idea since it makes searching for folders harder. And disables you from selecting a folder or a file by typing the first letter on the keyboard.

Give files an ID (identifier)

“An identifier is a name that identifies (that is, labels the identity of) either a unique object or a unique class of objects”

Wikipedia

The important part here is that an ID is always unique. No files should share a name. This not only makes it easier to find them again. But also reduces the risk of other people falling into depression if they need to work with your project.

Name things inside projects

The same principles are also appliable inside documents. You can give Photoshop Layers names, put them into folders, give them colors name objects in Blender or Cinema 4D, put them on different layers, and so on.

Plan in time for file handling

It is impossible to do something right if you have no time for it. Because of that, it is necessary to plan in time for data handling as well. For my projects, I plan in 5% of the time. For handling files.

Don’t save Things on the Desktop or the download

Saving files on the desktop is like saying I don’t later.
Which we all know is a lie.
We all know this moment where you have to just save the current file asap. To prevent that this file from landing on the desktop, just save it after you created it.

The same accounts for the download folder.
In Google Chrome, it is possible to activate an option, so that the browser asks you every time when to save it.
You can find this option under “Settings” scroll down and click on “Advanced” and under “Downloads” you can find “Ask where to save each file before downloading” which you can activate.

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