TIP: "Smart Name" Your Files PDF Print E-mail
Written by Miko   
Sunday, 23 May 2010 00:00

TIP: SMART NAME YOUR FILES. Computer searches & search indexes for files really do hope that you have good file names. Try using all 32 characters available to you & add keywords to the filename. Use the first EIGHT characters for the most important part of the name- especially photos- so that you can identify them on machines that shorten names. Always rename photo files with event & date, on import.  Some of my clients have lost huge amounts of photos because they kept resetting the serial numbering in the camera (which you should also never do) and then they imported over older photos because they did not rename on import.

* Note that a filename like "Book-report.doc" is not particularly useful. However, maybe "animal-farm-201003-FINAL-report.doc" is more helpful, even if not perfect. No name will be perfect. As you name your files, you should think "what words will I remember this by:?  Also keep track of revision levels- especially with marketing file edits - "accahc-CEDR-cover-ver6-bluer.psd"

* Note that people think that the correct creation date of a file is always stored with it- but this is SO not true. The creation date OFTEN gets lost- especially when migrating files to a new computer or reading from non-rewritable media like a CD or DVD.  So put the important relevant file-associated dates in the name if you can- event date, created date, or the last modified date- for example- if it fits.  Sometimes, though, especially with business files, when you've run our of characters in a filename, the version level, and the keywords, are more important than the date.

On some computers you can have really long names, and when you can- what the heck- try using longer names, but always name with the most important powerful keywords starting at the LEFT, since different systems will have cutoffs at 8, 16, and 32 characters. If you work on different computers, you'll still need to know your files.  If you take photos to Costco or the Pharmacy to print them, you'll find that their machines only show maybe the first 8-16 characters on their photo printing computer screen AND on the back of the print.

If you really want to store some good search-indexable information about a file, and understand what metadata is- FILL the metadata with keywords. In most programs you can do this under FILE > PROPERTIES or FILE > document info. On a Mac you can type command-I while clicked on a file (or use Get Info from the menu) and add information to the file COMMENTS field.  In Windows you can right-click on a file, choose Properties, and then look for where it lets you add freeform data (look for "summary" or an extra tab). Metadata tags won't show in the name but they will help with many kinds of searches.

Last Updated on Saturday, 29 May 2010 20:04