Electronic file management is the practice of naming, importing, storing, managing, and securing digital assets such as documents, photos, videos, and other media on computers. The method entails capturing and scanning these digital data from their paper-based form in order to digitize them. The purpose of file management is to make sure you can locate whatever you’re searching for, even if it was created years ago.
Every digital file we generate or receive must be appropriately handled and saved in our system to save us time in finding the resource when we need it. The act of identifying and storing these files inside a logical structure made up of directories and subdirectories should be handled with care.
There are various recommendations in this post that will assist you in maintaining an orderly repository of digital materials without the use of sophisticated processes.
You may make the most of your digital asset collection by employing suitable file and folder name techniques, as well as solid metadata practices.
In today’s digital age, keeping your electronic papers organized is a difficult chore. Few businesses still rely on basic operating system features to manage their electronic data, while an increasing number of businesses are either moving to a cloud file storage solution or investing in a document management system that suits their business operations, particularly in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic.
It is dependent on the amount of digital data that you or your company must manage. This method is appropriate for personal use or small businesses with a limited number of staff. However, investing in a document management system to properly organize, communicate, and route information across many stakeholders is always suggested.
I strongly advise you to read this in-depth article about the power of a DMS.
File Management Guidelines To Use
Have you ever had a situation where your desktop is so cluttered with files and folders that you can’t see the wallpaper?
Have you ever attempted to locate a file and spent at least 5 minutes doing so?
Most of us have been in this scenario, but at some point we resolved to structure our file management hierarchy so that we could spend less time looking for digital documents and more time doing our task.
Let’s have a look at some guidelines you may use to organize your digital materials into a folder and subfolder structure.
1- Setup The Main Folder For All Documents
Set up a folder or shared directory that will include all of your folders, subfolders, and documents in one location, whether for personal or organizational use.
It’s easier to discover documents and perform backups and archives when all electronic files are kept in one place.
2- Create Folders/Subfolders in a Logical Hierarchy
We’ll begin by generating the necessary folders and nested folders that will serve as a container for our electronic documents in this stage.
To begin, consider the various types of files and papers you’ll be storing in these folders. Then, for each of the previously defined categories, start creating folders and subfolders. It’s important to note that you may adjust this as you progress along the journey.
Avoid repetition by using a consistent, straightforward naming convention that excludes special characters.
You may, for example, establish a folder for financial documents with subfolders for each year. Or a folder including all quotations, as well as the names of the firms and subcontractors with whom you are working.
This is far more manageable than having a single “My Document” folder with hundreds of random files.
Don’t go overboard with elaborate, multi-layered folder structures. Instead, wherever feasible, use descriptive file names.
3- Follow a Consistent Naming Convention
Following a standard uniform naming convention for all your files is the most crucial component of digitally organizing data and making it easy to retrieve.
- Create a naming convention for each type of file.
- If you’re using several operating systems, such as Linux or Windows, avoid using spaces in file or folder names since some of them won’t let you.
- Add details to the file name, such as the project name, the date, the document version number, and so on.
- Special characters, spaces, and case insensitivity should all be avoided.
- Manage the version number of documents. here is a complete tutorial covering this aspect.
Master Your DOCUMENT VERSION CONTROL in 5 Minutes (theecmconsultant.com)
- When feasible, use common abbreviations.
- File extensions should not be overwritten.
4- Make Use Of Metadata
Metadata may be thought of as the building elements that allow you to find information more quickly. You may find or locate this file using any of the information supplied before by adding extra data to the file (right click, properties, Details).
This guide to metadata in the area of information management may be found here.
5- Organize Your Files As You Go
Whenever you create a new file or document, or whenever you get a file that you need to store for later processing, save it to the appropriate folder and name it appropriately for quicker access.
This will be difficult at first, but you will adapt and realize that this step is quite beneficial.
6- Index Files For Faster Search
File management in windows can be enhanced by enabling the index capabilities.
Some of the operating systems we use already have the capability of indexing your files and documents for future searches. Make sure this option is turned on on your computer.
Rather of having to manually filter through hundreds of thousands of files, if the files you’re looking for are indexed, that item may be instantly searched up in the index.
7- Do Periodic Checks
Create a process that allows you to go through your files and remove everything that isn’t needed. This will save space and make the hierarchy more accessible.
DO NOT delete any business document for archival purposes unless you are certain it is safe to do so. Organizations are obligated by law and regulation to store certain types of files for a specific amount of time, or face financial penalties or fines.
8- Back up Your Files Regularly
Electronic equipment are susceptible to a variety of issues that might cause them to fail or shut down completely.
In such scenario, it’s a good idea to back up this folder and the documents it contains on a regular basis to protect your most important data.
There are various free applications available that allow you to select the backup destination folder and backup storage location. The option to create a timetable that will accomplish all of this automatically in the future is the most appealing feature.
File Management System
While maintaining digital documents and files for a personal or small business may be done using basic ways, managing digital information in the same way for medium to big businesses will become increasingly difficult.
These organizations have different level of file management requirement ranging from creating information to These businesses have varying levels of file management requirements, spanning from information creation through disposal, as well as review and approval cycles.
These systems let businesses to better manage content and its whole lifecycle, allowing them to better support the delivery of information to the appropriate person at the right time for better decision making and day-to-day operations.
To mention a few, they include a lot of useful file management features.
- Automatic capture information and metadata (What Is Data Capture and Why It Is Important? (theecmconsultant.com))
- Information stored and secured in a centralized repository.
- Automatic and powerful version control
- Full document audit trail
- Intelligent search for easier access of information.
- Full e-signature capabilities (Why I Hate Wet Signature? – The Number One IM Blog (theecmconsultant.com))
- Automating document centric processes
- Complete records management handling
- Improved Security (Boost Your DOCUMENT SECURITY With These Tips (theecmconsultant.com))
Electronic file management should be a component of your company’s overall document management strategy.
In today’s environment, using technology innovation to handle the ever-increasing burden of information expansion is a necessary.