My 5 File Management Tips to Keep Your Files Organised
06 February 2019 ·

Keeping your electronic documents organized can be quite a chore in today’s “wired” world.

Organization Is the Key to Electronic File Management

Wherever the documents are stored it is important to keep them organized and up-to-date. The goal of electronic file management is to ensure that you can find what you’re looking for, even if you’re looking for it years after its creation.

1. One place for all documents.

Place all my documents under a single root folder. For me this single root folder is my iCloud folder this becomes the default location for my folders. Having a single location for all electronic documents makes it easier to find things on any device I also don’t really have to worry about backups.

2. Follow the file naming conventions.

Some operating systems (such as Unix) do not allow spaces in file or folder names, so avoid this if your computing environment is mixed. Instead, use the underscores as a delimiter (e.g. Doe_John_Proposal.docx) Other characters such as / ? < > \ : * | " ^ are also prohibited in file or folder names under operating systems such as Windows.

Use descriptive file names for easy identification and retrieval but don’t go overboard. Having an interest in programming I tend to use all lowercase and use underscores as spaces, similar to the language Python (unless capitals are needed using CSS as an example), this also makes it easier to type. It’s a hardship to have caps you know.

3. Nest folders within folders.

Create other folders within your main folders as the need arises. For instance, I might have to create a folder called Invoices that might contain folders called 2019, 2018 and 2017. A folder named for a client might include the folders invoices and correspondence. The goal is to have every file in a folder rather than having a bunch of orphan files listed.

4. Cull your files regularly.

Sometimes what’s old is obvious. If it’s not, keep your folders uncluttered by clearing out the old or unwanted files.

5. Use Alfred.

Having a great file system is fantastic, but if you have a large number of files finding the right file can take longer than expected even with a great naming convention. I use Alfred to help me find the files I need, with the open or find command you can simply locate the file you need and open it right from the Alfred bar.