How to Get Started
If you’re like most Mac users I know, you probably use your Mac to create or use graphics files and artwork. Because of the size of these files, they can really clutter up your Mac. If you use your Mac to create publications, newsletters, brochures, and so on, you probably have a lot of images (and possibly duplicate ones) that you use with applications like InDesign to compose final documents. In creating projects like publications and brochures, it’s easy to get yourself into the situation of having your art files spread all over your hard drive. This can make them difficult to find, use, and archive, and it might even cause you to delete the wrong files when you go about removing files after you finish a big project.
Getting your graphics and project files organized can be quite time consuming. You might have applications that save your files in strange places, or you might have project files that you’ve saved to network drives. You might also have files you’ve linked into other files so the information will be up-to-date each time you access it but you have no control over where these files are saved. Because of these things, you can’t just go about randomly moving project files into “Art" or “Project" folders. If a file you need is moved and the application, document, or presentation can’t find it, you’ll get an error about that missing file.
Tip: Linked files are those that are used in a document but that aren’t actually part of the document and are located elsewhere on the hard drive. One such example is an Excel file in a PowerPoint presentation. Linked files are used so that when the document is opened and the linked file is accessed, the latest version of the file is obtained.
So how do you go about getting these types of issues resolved? The best way to start is to get all of a project’s files into a single folder. Then, you’ll want to do the same with other projects and their files. Once you’ve done that, you’ll have everything together and you can access, share, and archive the project easily.
Look at one of your projects, such as a brochure you created in InDesign or Photoshop. It likely consists of various images, text, and marketing information. Open the main project file and look at its contents. Is there a linked spreadsheet? Is there an image that was obtained from and is stored on a network drive? Is the original project file stored in some weird folder you’ve never heard of? Is there text that is linked from a document that is changed daily or weekly? If so, you have to decide what you can and can’t move and if it’s worth the time and effort to try to consolidate it. Linked files will give you the most grief, especially if they’re out of your control.