Where and how should you organize your files? Convert your files? Edit your files? We’re here to make sure you master document management.
Did you know that there are over 32 million businesses in the United States today? Thanks to the positive economic conditions of the last few years, many have taken the opportunity to start their dream business.
While many people have great business ideas, not everyone understands the level of organization needed to run a business. This is especially true for businesses that expand within a short period of time.
Document management, for example, is a key skill that many overlook until it is too late. Later, they need to find key information but are unable to do to poor filing.
How can you learn to manage documents effectively? Why not follow our in-depth article to find the answer.
Use “My Documents” Locations
A basis filing directory is provided with your operating system. It is always best to start by using this. Creating other folder structures outside of this can get confusing. It would also be difficult for other people to locate and access files if this was needed in the future.
You can save any kind of document in this area. This includes your regular Word and Excel documents. If you want to keep a permanent record of an unchanging document you can save it as a PDF. PDF editor for Mac or Windows programs will often save to the main documents folder by default.
Create a Logical Folder Hierarchy
Now that you have chosen your base folder, you can start to design your internal folder architecture. To use an illustration, these are the drawers in your filing cabinet.
Keep them to as small a number as possible and give them meaningful folder names. Imagine that you need to access a file 6 months from now, will you still understand this folder name? Will it logically lead you to your file?
Unified File Naming Conventions
It can be very easy to leave a document with the name automatically assigned by the program. However, this may not allow you to find it easily in the future.
If you create a meaningful file naming convention and consistently follow it you will cut the time you spend searching for that file later significantly.
You could incorporate a dating system into the file name. Using the numerical convention:
Year_Month_Day_Content (ie. 2020_07_27_TestData)
You will be able to create several files that can quickly be sorted according to date.
If you use a file frequently you may want to name it starting with AAA. This means when you sort the files alphabetically, it will sit at the top.
Remember that some operating systems have strict policies on characters that you can use in file names. Some operating systems such as Unix do not allow you to leave blank spaces. It is better to fill them with the underscore sign (_).
Once you have decided on your filing name convention you will need to decide what unique information you will add to the filename after you have applied the convention.
In case you are wondering, Windows allows you to have up to 260 characters in your filed name by default. However, this can also be expanded to more than 260 characters. There is no shortage of space to write!
Meaning file names are also important when sending files. After all, you may be able to identify the context of a file by its folder location. However, when you remove it from this folder and email it to a client, they may not understand the content of the file without opening it.
Don’t Get Behind on Filing
Now that you have decided on the filing name convention and vowed to stay consistent in applying it, its time to get to work. It can take time to refile all your documents. However, it is better to do so early rather than when you are under time pressure.
After you are up to date, try to stay that way. Nobody likes to take their evening time to file old receipts and invoices. However, if you do not keep up this may be a reality one day.
Ideally, you will save each document with the correct name convention (using the save as function) each time you save a file. You will never have to perform retroactive filing again.
Delete as Much as Possible
Each industry will have its own set of rules regarding how long you should retain documents. Some financial businesses may require you to retain some items indefinitely. However, you can make your life easier by deleting as much as you can as soon as you can.
Not only does this reduce the number of documents you will need to search through, but it will also reduce your memory footprint. It may make the difference between a paid cloud storage location and one that is free.
Check with your business’s document retention policy to see what you can delete and start as soon as possible to declutter your storage location.
Many documents are irreplaceable, others are very hard to replace. Avoid putting yourself through this pain by employing back-up software.
Your computer or network will have functionality that you can employ to back up your data or you can use a paid or free cloud-based back-up option.
Whichever option you choose, ensure that it backs-up your documents regularly.
Document Management Methods and Much More
Whether you are a small, medium, or large-sized business, storing, retaining, and archiving of information is a crucial aspect of your work. After all, if you do not care for document management correctly, you may not be able to find them again at the moment you need them the most.If you would like to learn more about business and technology development, then we are here to help. We gather the latest information on relevant topics and bring it to you via our feed. Why not take a look at our other articles to see how we can help you today