Organizing Your Digital Supplies

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Organizing Your Digital Supplies

Hi i wanted to start an organizing thread ´cause there's so many people in here that probably have things to share with others smiley

I've blogged about it a while ago i got the idéa of sharing since so many want tips and tricks and i got my idéas from watching others so smiley

How i store my stuff

Awesome!!! I use Adobe Lightroom to store my items... however in order to do so I have to convert all PNG files to TIFF using Adobe Bridge. It's exhausting and overwhelming at first (i'm still doing it!) but nothing beats the embedded metadata storage. i'm always curious to see how other's are organizing, thanks for sharing!!!

Well i convert all my psd to tiff so i can watch them in windows smiley So i know the feeling of that extra work smiley

How do you use lightroom as storage.. I see it as an editingprogram for like RAW files smiley So i'm curious smiley

It took me a long time to come up with a system... I had no idea how to organize things, but eventually I decided to create spring, summer, fall and winter folders. And under those I put holiday folders (one for Christmas, one for New Year's, one for Valentine's Day, etc.). Then I created a kids folder & made several subfolders under that as well (girl, boy, school, sports, etc.). The sports folder had it's own subfolders broken down by sport (to make things easier - basketball, soccer, winter sports, etc.). I created a papers folder (subfolders like striped, floral, solid, grunge, etc.) and elements folder (subfolders like fasteners, flowers/trees/nature, animals, etc.), an alpha folder and a templates folder (now with subfolders based on # of pictures). And I made a Miscellaneous folder to hold things that I thought were neat, but I didn't know how to label (had subfolders like travel, Asian design, shabby chic, pets, etc.). I could be miss something, but that's the gist.

After I unzip, I make sure the designers name, kit name & element name are part of the filename for each piece (if not, I add them). Then I copy individual items to the subfolders & move the kit folder to the appropriate season. This way if I want to work from just the 1 kit I can, but I also now have the ability to use part of the kit with other designers creations when I create a page.

That's what's worked for me so far. There may be a better way to do this, but that's what I've done... I had no one to guide me. I'm still in the process of organizing & unzipping files as I have time. Wish I had worked on unzipping things in the beginning... Not only because a lot of things didn't have the designers name or TOU (so I have no idea who made the items), but because a lot of the files I downloaded were corrupt & I didn't know (it looked like they downloaded properly, but they didn't) and now those files are no longer available to download (site gone, download gone or what not). But you live & you learn... smiley

I was thinking about making a post myself about this, it's kind of a big topic, so many things are involved.

I use Picasa (PC, it's free) to view all my stuff, you can see .PSD files in it. Also, there are programs that will give you thumbnail image in the actual folder.

If you're doing a lot of renaming, I would suggest this program: (PC, free)

It looks scary at first, but it's pretty easy to use. It's super helpful when you want to rename a bunch of files.

Ooh, I'll have to check that out. Thanks, Marisa! smiley

I would like to remind-when sharing links please indicate Windows only or Windows and Mac. I am a Mac user and use PSCS Bridge keywords to organize.

I store my photos by date. Right now, most of the layouts that I make are for CTs in which I participate, so I store by designer and kit. When I actually start creating layouts to create books, I'm not sure how I will store those layouts and am glad to have see the different ways other do it.

@Gail: Sorry! I should put in that info.

When taking photos off the camera or scanning I store the pictures by in folders with dates. I than create subfolders that contain places, events, peoples names, something that will let me know what the pictures are about. You can also create additional subfolders here and divide the pictures more. This way I do not have to rename all of the pictures. I rename pictures when I edit or use the pictures. I do the same with scanned pictures.

For digital scrapping files. I created various folders. Winter, summer, fall, spring, children, zoo, water fun, etc. If there is a blog train or treasure hunt, I store all the files within one folder, broken into several sub folders.

I use the widows explorer that came with my puter(free) to organize. I like to keep digi stuff in categories like-Halloween, Christmas,girl,baby.....then by kit and photos by date. I snag the kit preview and rename it folder so I can see everything at a glance and there is a dll you can add to view psd files in windows sorry I forgot-but can Google.....its worked for years, so either its works out well or I have one heck of a memory(probably the first)-lol

I have not been digital scrapping that long, but I use the Photoshop Elements Organizer and a folder and tag system much like Lizanne. The best thing I ever did was have only one folder where I unzip any downloads to and then organize them and tag them from inside the PSE Organizer. When I am looking for a particular color or theme, it is soo much easier and easier to find inspiration if I can see everything I have in that is in that particular color category or them. It is a bit time consuming at first but is so worth it when I want to create a layout.

I still use ACDSee... But my organizing is a two-step process:
1) My folder system on my PC does most of it for me... I set it up once and make sure I save it to a logical place. I sort more by website and designer though in the folder system because this prevents the problem of not knowing who or where I got it from when I want to post a layout online. (although I haven't in a while due to health issues)
2) When I have time I go into ACDSee and tag using all my categories (color, style, item, etc) I set up way back when. I even have categories for my photos. (date, person, place, etc) This is a tedious process and hasn't been kept up because I hate spending all that time organizing old stuff when I can be spending that valuable time scrapping. smiley

-- One thing I do to avoid the dreaded corrupt file scenario is I have started using Chrome as my browser. The show all downloads is fabulous!!! I go in there at the end of each day or download session "binge" smiley and have it take me to the file location and unzip in the folder. It makes it so easy to unzip right where it belongs by designer instead of having to move it again later. If you want more info on this just ask and I can give more details. smiley
-- I also at the end of the file name on items a paid for put [Pd] because then I can just search within windows and find those kits at a glance that I thought worthy enough to spend a lot of money on and make sure I at least TRY to use them on one layout first. smiley

Great ideas everyone. I was talking in another thread about the file names of downloads from, but thought I'd mention it here.

(designer - node # - title - tags - license)

The idea is that you should be able to use your photo/organize program to search since the words are in the title. No need for tagging. Also, I've been meaning to start tagging things before I upload them so that everyone doesn't have to go around and do it. Easier if just one person does it, right? Anyway, if that sounds good to you, encourage me to do it. Maybe we should put it on the quality control list for designers (not yet in existence, but coming sometime).

I really like that idea Marisa!!! I've always wondered why designers didn't name their files better especially when they ALL want you to give them credit if you use it in a layout online or are published in a magazine. Not that getting published is likely now that there is only ONE SB mag left out there and it's getting smaller and smaller by the month. I have sooooo many items that have no info at all in the file name, not even what it is and definitely no metadata. They are like element1, element2, paper1, paper2... so those items don't get used in any of my online layouts, because I can't credit them, therefore no one sees their swag except my family. smiley

Well, the site automatically renames the files for me, thanks to Jordan (it was his idea). It's just a problem right now for files inside of zipped folders, so I'll have to think about that before we put kits up.

Also, just for the record, I would never want somebody to hold back on posting a layout just because they couldn't remember I had made something! My goal as a designer is to help people be more creative, not limit them with little details. The whole point of this site is to enable everyone to share their stuff and get credit in an easy and nonrestrictive way. Don't sweat the details! I will cut myself off now, don't want to get carried away!

I have an unorganized mess. I think my major problem is that even though I have only been digital scrapping for less than a year, I am a digital hoarder smiley
Because a lot of my downloading is done at work my organizing for downloads is by month lol, but as I unzip I try to unzip by designer and kit or collection.
If my current laptop would run the PSE10 that I have I would like to use that organizer - I have been reading the reviews that the PSE11 revamped the organizer and it is wonderful smiley

It's funny... it could have been screen dumps from MY computer. But Sweden and Denmark are after all close neighbours smiley)

But while we are talking about storage and organizing... Does anyone have a good idea for making up for lack of storage space? My archives have just reached 2½ TB and are still growing day by day. Soon I have to hack some giant government computer to find space for everything ;0))


How about some bigger harddrives smiley No i actually have no ide, started to think about it my self smiley But one thing is converting files so they donät take up as much space.. You can save MUCH space on just that smiley An other reason for me to convert psd files to tiff smiley Or you can get some external drives and save old stuff on maybe smiley

And i've actually started to clean out stuff i never use.. Stuff i got in the begining and so on smiley

But the only thing you can do to actually save space on a computer is converting big files smiley And ofc rar/zip but who wants to do that smiley

I have just been using folders and sub-folders but as my collection is starting to grow (thanks mainly to you, Marisa, with all your awesome assets and helpful tutorials) I am finding it harder to keep track of what I have and am spending too much time hunting through everything. Based on your post, Marisa, I decided to download Picasa today and I can already see that it is going to be an awesome tool in terms of searching through eveything. So once again... thank you!!!!

OMG! I'm never really thought of organizing my stash until recently. I just downloaded Picasa and I already love it!!! I usually just buy another EHD, but that getting crazy I need to organize and delete!! Thanks for all the great ideas. I'll check back and let you know how things are going! smiley

I purchased an external hard drive because it was chewing up my disk space & slowing my computer down... Only problem with this is it appears that it is not be compatible with my new PC (need to find out why - either from HP or the co. that makes the external hard drive) so between that, and not having transferred all my files over yet (I needed to upgrade to handle software that had requirements beyond what my old pc had, so my kids are getting my old desktop for school use), I can't do any digiscrapping right now. With all the outside activities winding down, maybe I can get that accomplished this winter (crossing my fingers).

Ah, the organization issue (enter sound of scream here.....) I'm always trying to get myself better organized. I don't think it's working! LOL. In my own organization, I used folders and subfolders on a PC. For example, folders would be like this: Alphas, Brushes, Elements, Kits, Papers, Shapes, Tools.

Sub-folders for Folder "Elements" would be animals,borders, flowers, lace, metals, frames, gems and jewels, tags, fibers, (trying to remember this from memory). I also have separate folders for commercial stuff and personal-use stuff, as well as separate folders for my designs and other designer stuff. I'm always open to a better way to do this!


@ Trine: The only suggestions/solution I have come up with are similar to what Jessica said. Converting your files... especially any .psd files into tiff I created a action in photoshop to do it automatically for me but it can only handle one designer at a time if I don't want to have a giant mess on my hands as far as what belongs to who. But when I started doing that I had like 10x's more space. But I too have a 1TB EHD for some of my goodies... and then the 1TB HD on my pc. The only other thing I can suggest is once you've been doing it a while and learn what your style truly is and the designers you really like and know do GREAT work you can keep all their stuff but start purging the ones you don't figure you'll use in the next 6 months. It's kind of like clothes, if you haven't worn them in 2 consecutive summers, or winters; they tell you to give them to someone who will because you are obviously done with them. smiley hope that helps some

You are all very kind, and I do like your suggestions. Only problem is - I have already done most of it smiley)))))

My problem is, that as a designer I have to keep my original psd's in case I need to change anything. But when it comes to scrapping material, I have even gone so far as to delete almost all my PU stuff as I find it more important to keep the material I can use for designing. I don't want anything messing up my computer itself, so everything is on EHDs, 4 at the moment and saving up for a 5th (2TB).

I think I have to face the fact that a serious clean up/out is the next step. But I will not use the clothes example, as I keep that for a LONG time (no money for half yearly changes).... ;0)

Thank you all for your inputs - am glad to see that I'm not all alone.


I'm just using folders too and desperately wish there was a common naming technique that EVERYONE used!!! Because I like to buy from all over, I track my supply by store, designer, kit name. Then I tag it with what's in the folder. Depending on the size of the kit, I put everything in one folder (except alphas) when I unzip it. For larger kits, I break it out into whatever categories necessary. For instance, I just collected all the pieces to Marisa's scavenger hunt and added the kit to my collection. Here's how each folder is labeled:


A smaller kit might just be:


Then I search using keywords. It's a completely imperfect system, but trying to tag every little piece seems overwhelming to me, not to mention the time it takes to learn something new. When I have time to create, I just want to jump in and get my hands dirty (so to speak)!!!

Marisa...i love your file naming!! it makes life so much easier. I have a ton of stuff so i store the majority of it on external drives - one for storage and one for back up. i would encourage any of you who are deeply attached to your scrap files to always keep 2 copies of your files stored on separate drives. hard drive crashes are inevitable and sometimes cannot be repaired smiley

Early in my digiscrapping exploration, I found a website that suggested a method of folders that I'm currently using. It's similar to Lizanne in that it's guided primarily by the seasonal year, then some specific holidays throughout. I have a couple extras for general special occasions, like birthday/wedding/baby. I guess maybe I should just go into a Hallmark store and use their guidelines for major categories!

What I've started to do is save the folder image for each kit and keep those in the main category folder, so I can just open up Windows photo viewer and "flip through" to see which one catches my eye for a given project. That has helped a lot.

I'm definitely finding some gaps in the system, though. Not being able to tag certain files in Windows creates a bit of a challenge, so I've tried to make sure a useful name is in each title (thanks, Marisa!). I have also started cataloging all my kits via an Excel spreadsheet (I'm kind of an organize nut, so this is actually fun for me), and then I can look up a certain designer to make sure I haven't already purchased a kit. I have also started to add tags within the excel spreadsheet, so that helps if I'm looking for a specific theme, too. I've heard that PSE 11 has a great organizer, so I may start using that if I upgrade.

I can see the importance of keeping files organized. Just like the old file cabinets. Being so new I can see that if I start now it will keep things organized.

@Bren: Yes starting now will save you tons of trouble... Most of us didn't even think about organizing until we had been scrapping a year or more, and backtracking is so difficult to catch up on the old and still organize the new in addition. Good luck to you starting now in the beginning. smiley

Thanks! I didn't even see this thread! There are a lot of great ideas here, every time I open my files up I get so lost because I can't find what I'm looking for and that drives me bonkers!