Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Organization on the hard drive


Digital Scrappers love to brag about how they don't make messes anymore, and indeed that is probably my favorite part of digi-scrapping. However, you quickly learn that you need to be organized within the confines of your hard drive or you run out of space and find it difficult to scrap. Why is space always an issue?

Even traditional scrapbookers often use computers for digital pictures, fonts, and journaling so these tips should be helpful to everyone.

Thumbs Up


I love fonts! I currently have 1,379 of them installed on my computer! I didn't have to count them - I use the font hit tool - a free software program to organize my fonts. I know there are others out there as well, but I really like this one. You can sort your fonts several ways, it is easy to see them all in one place, and printing out a illustrated list of fonts is a snap! I do print out a new list every few months when I have added quite a few fonts and then I keep it in a binder on a shelf next to my computer. Most of the time I pick my fonts right on screen as I'm working, but sometimes it is so helpful to see them in print.

Here's a screen shot of the font hit program:

I'm getting ready to buy a laptop computer so I'm going to want to transfer my fonts to the new laptop. I decided to backup all my fonts to a DVD this morning which will be a good backup as well. I won't need to install every font on the new laptop as some will already come with the computer and the Word program I will install on it. I know there are some other ways to do this. There are some online tutorials for using the file transfer wizard in Windows XP so I'm going to study those as well. Here's a link from Dell that is useful.



Because I'm currently sharing a computer with my children (and their programs) and the computer is also a few years old - I'm constantly running out of space. With all the digital kits and photos I have on my computer, I need to frequently back up to discs to make space. I'm hoping this will improve with my new laptop purchase, but I know I won't be able to keep everything on my hard drive.

Backups are important, but I also like to have my pictures in online albums available through photo processing sites. The albums are easy to share with friends and family and easy to order prints from. I use Costco and Sony Image Station. One thing I love about Image Station is if you are willing to become at least a "silver level member" - I think it was $4.99 for the year to do that? then you have access to your original image as well. What does this mean? Well, you can click on the photo and access your original jpeg file then copy it into your editing program. Very useful!

I use Costco to print out my layouts right now, but I'm spending a fortune this way. I love the look of the professionally printed layouts, but I may just consider investing in a better printer since ours has recently started jamming with every print job.

I do like that I have my pictures in 2 different online systems in case something ever happened to one of them. However, I've been careful to choose companies that I thought would be stable and around for the long term - don't think I have to worry about either Costco or Sony going under anytime soon.

Another photo organization tool that is very helpful is the Picasa Photo Organizer from Google - and it's free! This tool takes every image on your computer and organizes them in a very user friendly way. It also does some fun tricks like collages and photo stacks and you can send pictures directly to blogger or emails.

Here's a screen shot:



A blog is a wonderful tool for journaling. I often pull from entries I have made on my blog and include them in layouts. I'm not the only one. If you have read Cathy Zielske's new book, or one of Ali Edwards articles in Creating Keepsakes, you will recognize a lot of the content in the journaling has been on their blogs previously.

Even if you are not a blogger, you may use your computer for journaling. Even though I'm a digital scrapbooker, I usually cut and paste my journaling into Word so I can do spelling and grammar checks - plus it is easier to read that way. Sometimes I will save the journaling as a file in word if I know I want to use it elsewhere, like a letter to a family member, blog or journal entry. When I was a paper scrapper I used the computer a lot for journaling. I always saved my files so I could alter them and print them out for other pages (like grandparent books.) Keep a folder on your hard drive just for journaling and date and label your entries to make them easy to find.

If you are typing a large blog entry (like this one) or a lot of journaling, be sure to save as you go. You don't want to put all that work into a document and lose it because of a computer glich!



Digital image files are really like pictures, but a kit will have several images that work best if they are kept together. I like to keep all my digital files together by designer since I post my work online and need to include credits. I create a folder for each designer and file the appropriate kits in each folder. This is also an easy way to see which designers you like the most, because their folders will be the most full.

I also save a preview of each kit and put that in a different folder labeled previews. Then it is easy to browse through all your kits at once. Some people print out this list of previews but I haven't done that since I am always adding to my digital kits with freebies and purchases. It would be a good idea though. One thing I have done using the Picasa tool I mentioned under the photos heading, is to make a webpage of my previews. I promise that this is very easy to do!

Simply go to the folder of your previews within the Picasa program. Then "select all pictures" in that folder. Then in that same menu (it is on the top right of the selected folder and the buttons says "actions") select the option to make a web page. It will take you through the process step by step and then your web page will pop up.

Be sure to save this to your bookmarks. I like to put it right on my toolbar. This won't be the kind of web page you can send a link to another person, this will only work on your computer. But then you won't even have to open your photo editing program to see your previews.

Here's a screen shot of my previews web page:

yep - I know that's a lot of previews! LOL!

I chose the white background 1 page option when creating this in Picassa - this is my favorite format because you can see all the thumbnails on the left side of the screen. Whatever kit you want to see in more detail, simply click on the thumbnail, and it will bring up the larger picture on the screen.

You can also create folders for smaller elements like flowers, doodles, ribbons, buttons, etc. I haven't done a lot of this yet, mostly because of disk space. I also like to keep my things together by kit. But it is up to you how you want to organize. Just find a system that works for you.

Hope you have enjoyed looking through my hard drive.


Have a happy Wednesday!

Katie the Scrapbook Lady


AmyK said...

Thank you for the Picasa web page idea! I have all my previews saved in separate folders for which CD they are in, but never knew about this wonderful option for viewing. Awesome!

And just a little FYI - having more than 500 fonts installed in your computer at once can significantly slow down your processes. I keep a folder where I look at my fonts, and only install the ones I know I will be using. Thanks for the great tools!

Kristin said...

For what its worth, I think its cheaper to print out photos at places like costco rather than at home anyways. I don't think printers are economical in terms of cost, they are convenient yes but I don't think you'd save money in the end, after buying the printer etc. I gave up buying ink for my printer and i'm just going to send to an online photo service from now on (both for layouts and for photos).