The Great File Hunt

A good file naming structure cannot be stressed enough. Imagine me on a safari, dressed like they did in King Solomon’s Mines with Stewart Granger. Reality check, T-shirt and jeans, with a black ball cap to cut down on fluorescent lighting.

Why hunt files? I get to the point where there are so many files on the computer, I have to backup because there is a possibility that the hard drive will crash. So I need archive storage. There are customers that I don’t hear from anymore or hear from in years, so these files aren’t necessary to keep on hand. Mostly, the hard drive crash. I make DVD backups and wipe the drive clean of customer files and start over.

A customer calls up to order gift certificates for his restaurant, one of our favorite customers, and I open the disc cataloging utility, and search for the gift certificate. The one that pops up is not the one he wants. Grr. I start searching on different word combinations, based on how the file could have been saved. At one point, I realized, that I was going about file hunting the wrong way. Instead of locating the file in the catalog, and then opening it. I should be locating file possibilities and browsing them with Adobe Bridge.

I did find the file, instead of being filed under the restaurant, it was filed under the designer, then under the restaurant. The file naming structure also left a lot to be desired. I gave the file a new name, and saved it to the current folder for customer files. I may have been responsible for the bad file name, I could blame it on an intern that we had during the last printing of this job, or that’s the way the designer set it up when she brought it to us, I don’t remember that far back. At this point, who cares where the fault lies? I did find the file, and I gave it a new name, and gave it a better filing. If the customer ordered every month, the file name would be fresh in my mind. Every two years, I have to stop and think how the file could have named, what the file might have named, and if there is an off the wall possibility for the way he named the file.

Files can have names up to 255 characters, that’s extreme. When the files are backed up, I burn DVDs, that 255 characters also includes the path for the folder structure.
/computer/user/kingkong/customerfiles/awesome.gift.certificate.indd. I pulled a name out of the air, I’m sure you can see where this is going, on a back device, the file name is truncated after 255 characters. File names should have enough information to give a good description without writing a novel.

Non-descriptive files names reduces our productivity. Leaving us to spend more time than what is necessary to locate and print files.

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