Thursday Tip: File Naming Conventions
The first part of my file organization strategy starts with the hard drives in my machine. I always have three drive letters. The C drive is where I store my operating system and nothing more. The D drive is where I install all of my software. Well, almost all of it. Unfortunately some software developers force you to install in a location that isn't desired. So that stuff ends up on the C drive and earns my wrath against that developer. Lastly, the E drive is where I put data. Just knowing where the data is stored makes the search for a file a bit easier.
Each major project (or client) then gets a folder. Inside of that could be multiple levels of subfolders. That brings us to the file names. I will often save multiple versions of the same file. In that case, I append "-xxx" to the end of the file name where the "xxx" is a number. Anytime I append numbers, I always put in more digits than I expect will be needed. That way I don't have to renumber everything should that extra digit that you didn't think you need really becomes necessary. For graphics files, I often include the colorspace in the name as well by using "-rgb", "-cmyk", "-bw" or "-spot" as needed. I mainly deal with RGB so it is my assumed colorspace if I don't put the extension on it.
When working with CorelDRAW files, I also find it useful to save keywords within the file. Then I can use the free ROMCat utility to catalog and search my drive.
I know my system is probably more complex than what some of you use. Yet I've definitely heard from users who have a much more regimented system. If you don't already have a good naming convention in place, get one soon! For those that already have a good system, please share it with us!