Organization is key for non-linear editing programs like Windows Movie Maker, so learn to keep all your files together.
The key to any non-linear editing software is file organization, mostly because this type of editing is primarily about media management. The software treats each piece of media as a digital file, like any on your computer. Essentially the editing program then lets you arrange and alter those media clips at will with the available tools. Windows Movie Maker is the same as any of the more complicated packages in this way, and keeping things organized should remain top priority.
All your clips that you capture or import into Windows Movie Maker for editing can be organized into Collections. These Collections are similar to bins or file folders in other programs, and are simply places where you can store a number of files for later editing. From here you can put similar clips, or clips that are all being used in a select sequence into a specific Collection so they can be referenced easily. To create a new Collection go to the Tools menu in the task bar and select New Collection Folder. Remember to properly name the Collection for easy reference. If you want to rename the Collection select it and then go to Edit in the task bar and select Rename.
The view of these clips changes depending on the settings you have set for each Collection. A certain amount of information about each video clip is displayed in the Content section when you open a Collection. You can select the Thumbnail view or the Details view. The Thumbnail view allows you to see a small image of the first frame of the video clip, while the Details view allows you to see quite an array of information about the selected clip. To change the view type you simply select the appropriate one from the View menu in the task bar.
It is a great idea to separate different types of media as well, usually into sub-categories. This means splitting up video clips, photos or other types of pictures, audio segments and music tracks, and any type of imported video effect or transition. Depending on how you are trying to arrange the entire project, try having a Collection for each type of media for each chapter or segment of your video project. If you want to properly arrange all of the files in a Collection simply go to View in the task bar and select Arrange Icons By.
It is also important not to keep files or Collections that you have decided will not be used at all. This will keep your interface clear of clutter and take a little bit of the strain off your hard drive. Always delete files that you do not want, and if you want to delete a Collection click on it and then go to the Edit menu in the task bar and click Delete. It is exactly the same process if you would like to delete a single video clip inside a Collection.
Copy and Paste
If you want to use the same video clip in several Collections then you should copy and paste it from one into the other. This uses the same logic as copy and pasting text. When you are in the Contents pane you just click the clip you want to copy and go to Edit in the task bar and select Copy. Then click the collection you want the video segment to go to, and go back to the Edit menu in the task bar and click on Paste.
Keep in mind that every video clip and Collection you are using takes up space and memory, so keep everything as minimal as possible. This is the key to effective editing, no matter what program you are working with.