Im always surprised when users have to spend a lot of time looking for the document they need.
Sure, sometimes it can be difficult trying to remember exactly what you named a document or where you stored it, but you shouldnt need to open every document on your computer to find the right one.
If you spend more time looking for your files than you do working on them, then it is time to take control of your hard drive and take advantage of some of the organizational abilities your computer affords you.
You dont need to be obsessive about keeping things in order, but even a few simple steps can help you out immensely. This is especially important if youre working in a multi-user environment where other users will need to access your files.
If the idea of getting your files is daunting, then that is all the more reason you should get started on it immediately! Here are some tips that will help get you going:
1. Use Unique File Names
This is perhaps the easiest -- and most important -- thing you can do to help when it comes time to sort through files to find the one you want. It is fast and effective!
2. File Document in Folders
There is a reason your operating system allows the creation of folders and nested folders. Just like your filing cabinet, it provides a way for you to group like documents and speed the process of finding what you need.
3. Update Document Properties
If youre working with massive quantities of documents that will have similar names and locations on your hard drive, youll definitely want to take advantage of Words document properties feature. You can include notes and keywords in the properties, so that when it comes time to do a search, Word can find exactly what you need.
4. Include Document Previews
Get a quick peek at the contents of your document before you open it. You may have to do a little reading, but at least youll save some time opening and closing all those files!
5. Take Advantage of Words Versioning Feature
Okay, this might not exactly make it easier for you to find your file, but it can help narrow the number of files you need to search. By storing versions of the same document all in one file, you wont have to sift through countless variations of the same document to find the one you need. Plus, the latest version of the document is always the one that opens.
6. Specify the File Path in a Header or Footer
This might not help you keep your hard drive organized, but it will help you when you have a hard copy of the document you need to edit.
If your hard drive is already brimming with files, dont try to tackle your organizational problems all at once. Try to break it down into manageable pieces and spend fifteen minutes a day working on it. (Hint: A great way to start would be to create folders so you can start filing the documents).
The most important thing is to devise a system and then get in the habit of following it, so the problem doesnt get worse. And those of you who are already well organized, I applaud you!