Adobe InDesign Advice: Folder Management

Hey, guys, I’m going to go over Folder Management for your creative endeavors.

I have worked professionally with Adobe InDesign for approximately three years. With this experience under my belt, I have decided to impart my wisdom and real-life work experience to educate you guys on time-saving tricks and tips on how to put various Adobe software to work and save yourself lots of time.

This particular tip is one that deals with the pre-production process.

Pre-production by the way is the ‘planning’ stage of your projects. Sometimes this means sketching out your ideas, writing them down or simply gathering materials in order to proceed with the actual production of what you actually want to do.

Today’s Adobe InDesign Advice is a tip that is applicable for all kinds of projects being created within the program of InDesign. Though in all honesty, I feel that Folder Management is key for all kinds of projects involving the aid of software.

What is Folder Management?

As mentioned in the impromptu definition of Pre-production, folder management deals with how you organize your ‘materials’ in folders to save you time and sanity.I have laid out and published Writing Prompt Crusaders that my friends collaborated with me by using this method and even apply it to smaller projects like business cards.

Initially, it seems like a ‘duh’ idea to put all your materials in one place. After all, in a studio you use a toolbox to keep your pencils and markers while your drawers have sketchbooks and paper. However, behind a computer screen, people tend to be all willy-nilly with their files. Sometimes their pictures are in one spot, their word documents are in another and everything is in a disorganized chaos that may make sense to the artist, but when collaborating could be a major pain to deal with.

Folder management is the act of taking your digital materials and organizing them in a way that is easy for you-and fellow collaborators– to work more efficiently and quickly without the mess.

Step 1: Create Your Main Folder

Your first folder that you create needs to have the name of your project.

If you are unsure of what you want to name it, then perhaps just name it the kind of project it is (such as Childrens Book or Spring Break Flyer) or any kind of temporary name that describes the current state of your project that is easily searchable.

If work with multiple projects at a time, perhaps adding in the date of your project in the folder name would work better with your unique workflow. So if you need to name it DATE_PROJECTNAME then go for it. The important thing is not leaving the folder named UNTITLED.

No matter how ‘nice’ the folder name is. If you create it in a place where you cannot find it or if it doesn’t have a unique name, then you won’t be able to easily find it.

Step 2: Create Your Subfolders

If you have a word document with the text you want to use for the project, create a TEXT folder for whatever text documents you have. That way if anything goes wrong in your InDesign file, you have the original copy of your text and don’t need to retype everything.

Create another subfolder named IMAGES or PICTURES for all your visual assets. Another popular name for your images folder is LINKS, but use whatever is easiest for you. Copy and paste your images into this folder and if you are extremely cautious, you could also create yet antoher subfolder inside that one titled ORIGINAL IMAGES if you plan to edit any of your images for the project.

The third folder I’d recommend creating is FONTS where you could store all your fonts that you use for your project. Compared to the previous two subfolders, this one isn’t as maditory since my computer tends to have all the fonts I want to use. And if I ever pass my projects along to someone else, I’ll usually package my document and the fonts will already be inside of that package. However, I’ll still mention it since, in my years of working with InDesign, I have had instances where packaging fonts haven’t always been 100% reliable.

The final subfolder you should create is OLD. Here you can save older versions of your project as you work on it. I discuss here the underestimated power of saving your work constantly and I’ve lost enough work to continue advocating the act of hitting Save As every once in a while. Also if you work with other people on the same server, keeping older versions in a separate folder prevents miscommunication and people working on old files.

Why not just delete old files? While dealing with clients or your own fickle self, you may want to revisit older versions of the same project you’ve been working on. In my OLD folder, I’ll usually rename the files MONTH_FILENAME so I’ll be able to quickly identify the older versions without having to click through all of them.

Why bother with Folder Management?

There are several reasons as to why you should take the extra time to organize your folders before starting on your project.

Technically, InDesign will look for images you drag into your project in the designated folder that it is located in. However, if you ever decide to organize your pictures one day and accidently move files around, the next time you open your project, InDesign is going to go crazy trying to find that file. This even goes for renaming files, if you rename an image, InDesign is going to hard time finding it.

So from a technical standpoint, it’s just smarter to have a designated spot to have your files and where you won’t be moving or altering them.

I cannot reiterate how important Folder Management is when it comes to images. There have been countless times that I’ve lost 5 minutes searching for an image that someone else had renamed or moved around in my workplace. As all of you know, time is money and those were five minutes I could have been working.

Even if you work on your own, it is a good idea to develop and better your creative working habits to speed up your workflow in the long run. If you can, try using the practice of Folder Management for your next project or even start implementing it today in your current project.

Are there any other tips and tricks that you guys use? Has any of this been useful? Feel free to let me know or share this information with a friend.

Adobe InDesign Advice: Folder Management |

Adobe InDesign Advice: Folder Management |


One thought on “Adobe InDesign Advice: Folder Management

  1. Pingback: Stop Talking – Start Doing : Blah Blah Blah Day | 15 Minutes of Creativity

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