Saturday, April 3, 2010

APRIL'S TIP OF THE MONTH: Organzing your digital files

Do you have a lot of digital scrapbooking files like us?  Do you have trouble finding the files that you need?  Well I know that Bobbi and I have had the same issues.  Since we both love to do paper piecings for our scrapbook pages, our collections have grown over time.  At first I just saved them in a file called "paper piecing patterns".  This worked GREAT when I had just a handful of patterns and knew at all times exactly what I owned.  
Over time it became more and more difficult to remember or even find particular patterns.  At first I tried to segregate them to seasons or types.  I set up a bunch of files labeled "patterns - Easter" and "patterns - animals", etc.  I even set up a catalog of images so I could visually see pictures of all of my patterns and the quickly find them to cut them.  Well this worked fine at first, but then I kept running into problems like, "where did I file this cute little chick pattern?  was it under animals or Easter?"  I still ended up wasting A LOT of time looking for the pattern. 

Recently, I redid my entire filing system.  Instead of filing my patterns under type (Easter, summer, People, etc), I just numbered them 001- Train, 002 - Bugs and Friends (the super cute new pattern from Treasure Box Designs), etc.  
Next I set up a file called 000 - Catalog of images.  In this file, I copied a picture of the pattern(s) and number them the exact same way as the cutting file.  

This now allows me to quickly take a visual look to find the pattern that I want to cut and then find the corresponding cutting file.  WOW, has this saved a lot of time!  

When we buy new files (like we did yesterday), I just assign them the next number and insert a picture of my new files into my image catalog. Our files will never be bunched together by season or type, but it is a simple, efficient, and painless way to find your digital files quickly.

We would highly recommend doing the same!


  1. Thanks for the tip, I am at the point of needing to organize my files too. Do you keep the zipped file once you unzip them?

    Also, how do you get a picture of the file to show what it will look like cut, if the download doesn't have a picture attached. I can handle the whole filing thing, but I am pretty illiterate when it comes to getting pics etc.

    Thanks for the help

  2. I think this is a GREAT idea, but have the same question. What if the files don't come with a picture, how do I get one? Can I do a screen shot of the open file?

    Thank you!!!

  3. I sure hope you will answer our questio! I opened the example you posted - and there are NO pictures with the numbered files.

    Really disappointed that I can't see how you make this work, nor how I could use it.

  4. I'm so lost! Your example at the top DOES have the pics!

    What kind of file is this? doc, jpg?