Cloud-based file storage platforms have revolutionized the way we store, access, and share documents and files with one another across the globe. Once a file is uploaded, we can send a download link to anyone who needs access to it.
File sharing has clearly become easier that it used to be, but how organized are your files? How long do you spend searching a document?
Even when you use the best cloud-based file storage platform, you still have to create an organizational structure for your records. Here are some pro tips for organizing your files in the cloud.
Choose a file storage platform that uses tags
It’s no longer practical to organize files without using tags. Even with the best naming conventions, it’s hard to find files when they’re spread among multiple folders.
When you can tag files and folders, everything becomes easier to find. Provided you take the time to tag your files properly, locating them later is as simple as knowing which keywords to type in.
Several popular cloud-based file-storage platforms utilize tags, including Box. Once you have the ability to use both folders and tags, the organizational powers of Box become exponential.
That’s why many high-tech companies report Box is the ideal cloud content management system. It’s not easy to organize tens of thousands of files manually; the tag system makes this possible.
Even when you know exactly where to find your files, tags allow you to bypass the step of having to click through hierarchies of subfolders. If you’re not using tags, you’re probably wasting too much time looking for your files.
Have a system for archiving older files
It’s easy to amass a large number of files in your cloud storage account that you don’t actually need. The more files you have to sift through, the harder it becomes to find the current ones.
The best solution is to create a system for removing old files. For example, when someone uploads a new version of a file, you might have them archive all the other versions to a designated archive folder. This will get those files out of the way, yet they’ll remain accessible.
Create a strict and specific naming convention
Too many organizations fail to use a naming convention when they save documents. This is understandable given that multiple employees may be saving files on a daily basis.
However, a naming convention becomes essential for staying organized in the cloud. With a naming convention that includes the date a file is modified, you won’t have to wonder which version is the latest. You can also easily go back and reference previous files quickly and easily.
It’s not hard to train a team to use a naming convention. It just requires providing each staff member with guidance about how and when to use the system for labeling documents. For instance, you might have a different naming convention for client contracts to contrast with images saved for your website.
When creating a naming convention, use as few words as possible, but make sure to include critical info. For example, say your organization attends trade shows and you collect contact information from people who visit your booth.
When you type up the file, save it by using a filename that includes the date and name of the convention: something like “01-22-20_ConventionName_Contacts.”
When you save your files this way, they become discoverable by searching for the date, the convention name, and the word “contacts.”
Use as few folders as possible
Folders are great, but they can become cumbersome to click down through. The fewer folders you create and maintain, the better.
You might be able to cut down on the total number through the use of a naming convention. For example, if you write articles for your own blog as well as for other publishers, you don’t need separate folders for your online and offline articles. You just need a naming convention that begins with “onsite” or “offsite” to separate them visibly within a single folder.
This works best when you aren’t apt to end up with hundreds or thousands of files in a single folder. If you’re going to generate that many files, then it’s better to use separate folders.
Otherwise, if you need to store multiple files in the same folder, just use a designated prefix to separate the files within the folder when the sorting is done by file name. You can always sort the folder by file type if necessary.
Organized files support efficiency
Getting organized in the cloud will have a positive impact on your organization. When files are easy to find, people work faster and more efficiently.
If you haven’t already organized your files in the cloud, start with the tips outlined in this article – you won’t be disappointed.