Home | Blog | Software | Reviews and Features | Forum | Help | Donate | About us
topbanner_forum
  *

avatar image

Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
Did you miss your activation email?

Login with username, password and session length
  • December 10, 2016, 04:21:44 PM
  • Proudly celebrating 10 years online.
  • Donate now to become a lifetime supporting member of the site and get a non-expiring license key for all of our programs.
  • donate

Last post Author Topic: How do you organise your 'My Documents' folder  (Read 36071 times)

brett

  • Charter Member
  • Joined in 2005
  • ***
  • Posts: 125
  • Australia
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
How do you organise your 'My Documents' folder
« on: August 20, 2007, 07:23:27 AM »
After a few years of collecting and creating documents, the 'My Documents ' folder has started to burst at the seams. I sat down the other day determined to clean this mess up. but how? I dont really want to delete or archive anything, just organise it properly, and keep it organised.

The ideas i had where
1- A to Z folders with everything filed alphabetically
2- folder based on extensions, ie MyDoc folder, MyPDF folder, MyPics folder, MyTXT folder, MyDWG folder
3- folders based on job/client/theme
4- All piled into one folder, and allow a file search program to locate stuff (X1)

Each has its advantage and disadvantage
1 and 2 can be automated, which is appealing, 3 is practical if you can maintain it, and 4 is just lazy but also easy.

maybe some members here can offer their wisdom. especially if they use 1 or 2

Brett


TucknDar

  • Charter Member
  • Joined in 2005
  • ***
  • Posts: 1,105
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: How do you organise your 'My Documents' folder
« Reply #1 on: August 20, 2007, 07:29:59 AM »
I'm listening in on this one...

I've started using tag2find a bit, but not extensively yet, but it might be a reasonable solution. Tagging, I mean. Then you could leave the docs in a mess, but still easily locate them. Personally I place docs in any related folder, i.e. work, studies -> subject -> year, hobby... etc. I think tagging could be ideal for me.

justice

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2006
  • **
  • Posts: 1,898
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: How do you organise your 'My Documents' folder
« Reply #2 on: August 20, 2007, 08:41:46 AM »
I'm opting for 3. Unfortunately it clashes with Microsoft's idea, as My Pictures and My Music is not sorted by project or theme. That's more no2 thinking.
so I have a folder called Projects which contains project files, and Administration. Most of the things fit in here. The key for me  is not to make another folder for only 1 file or one folder, only if you can no longer maintain the current hierarchy.

jgpaiva

  • Global Moderator
  • Joined in 2006
  • *****
  • Posts: 4,727
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: How do you organise your 'My Documents' folder
« Reply #3 on: August 20, 2007, 08:55:10 AM »
I use a similar method to TucknDar's.
I keep my scripts ordered by project (each with its own folder) in the scripts folder.
Then, i keep my other (very small) projects and attempts ordered by language (java, cpp, etc).
As for school stuff, i keep it ordered by year -> semester -> subject.

Images are sorted in folders, by year and by place (for example: 2007-Italy).

mouser

  • First Author
  • Administrator
  • Joined in 2005
  • *****
  • Posts: 36,435
    • View Profile
    • Mouser's Software Zone on DonationCoder.com
    • Read more about this member.
    • Donate to Member
Re: How do you organise your 'My Documents' folder
« Reply #4 on: August 20, 2007, 03:09:21 PM »
I do something that i find useful and could be combined with whatever other approach you take.
I like to keep separate the subdirectories that are automatically created for me by programs and those subdirectories i create myself.

So for example i never actually put my file in the MyDocumentss folder.  I leave MyDocuments alone and i create a MyDocs folder for my stuff.

That means I have a MyDocuments folders, which is full of directories created by programs when they install, etc., and then I have a MyDocs folder which is all my real stuff.  I find this makes it easier for me to isolate my "real" files from files created by programs which I don't really care about.  Note that this means that the "default" folder used by programs to store stuff is not going to be the MyDocs folder so this solution is only good for people who dont mind changeing where programs you really use store there stuff, etc.  i.e. don't do this unless you know what you are doing.

I do a similar thing with:
  • C:\Program Files <--- here is the folder used by all normal installer programs
  • C:\ProgramFiles <--- i created this for any programs that DONT have installers, which i create manually; this helps me easily identify programs which i manually "installed" and keep them distinct from programs with their own installers, and has been a great help
  • C:\Programs <--- some old programs have installers and dont like long paths with spaces, i created this directory for those.

urlwolf

  • Charter Member
  • Joined in 2006
  • ***
  • Posts: 1,797
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: How do you organise your 'My Documents' folder
« Reply #5 on: August 20, 2007, 03:25:28 PM »
I use an e: partition for data.
THen I follow the unix approach, and have everything under my user name folder. this is monitored by superflexible and updated/refreshed often. I even have an USBstick folder where programs with no installation live. these are supposed to be portable, hence the name, although that folder is now bigger than any USBstick.

Inside my username folder, the biggest folder is the one that has pdf and endonte files.

For each new project (normally, experiments/papers), I create the following folders:
tools - progamming (R, actionscript, ruby, .... for running experiments and analyzing data)
data - obvious
stimuli - obvious. May have randomizations created with R programs in tools

The paper itself goes to username/articles.

It is a bit confusing, so if you have suggestions, please post.
I'm also considering moving "data" out of the username directory, as they are static and don't benefit from incremental backups. And superflexible takes a long time to index the entire username directory as it is right now...

Thanks

Darwin

  • Charter Member
  • Joined in 2005
  • ***
  • Posts: 6,984
    • View Profile
    • Read more about this member.
    • Donate to Member
Re: How do you organise your 'My Documents' folder
« Reply #6 on: August 20, 2007, 03:44:52 PM »
I, too, use an E: partition for all of my data, including IE Settings and Outlook pst files. This way, when my OS installation needs refreshing via Acronis TrueImage restoration, I don't have to worry about my data... Anyway, the E: partition is organized much as TucknDar describes, minus the tagging. For example, I have a Work folder which is further divided into 1. PHD and subfolders (data, databases, graphics, correspondece, thesis, etc.), 2. Teaching and subfolders (class, which are subdivided further into year and then lecture notes, term papers, projects, etc.), and so on. Other folders are organized in much the same way. I don't know, it works for me and over time has become effortless.
"Some people have a way with words, other people,... oh... have not way" - Steve Martin

Lashiec

  • Member
  • Joined in 2006
  • **
  • Posts: 2,374
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: How do you organise your 'My Documents' folder
« Reply #7 on: August 20, 2007, 05:11:00 PM »
My data is all dumped in the D: drive (the biggest one), and following a system similar to that proposed by Microsoft with the folders that come as default with Windows, only that not everyone has a "Mi" (My) prefix. It actually take some time to arrange it like I wanted, and now is pretty much to my liking, except for the damn folder called "Universidad" (University), that's where all my papers, coding, problems, etc. go. It's right but not right, it's difficult to explain but there's something that troubles me, not regarding organization, which is pretty good, I even came with a esque-tagging scheme, but the name of the primary folders, which are organized by subjects and years (ya know, every subject is taught at a particular academic year) bugs me. Maybe I'll do some renaming in the future.

Is it me or didn't we have something similar to this thread in the past?
« Last Edit: August 20, 2007, 05:14:31 PM by Lashiec »

nite_monkey

  • Member
  • Joined in 2006
  • **
  • Posts: 727
    • View Profile
    • Just Plain Super
    • Read more about this member.
    • Donate to Member
Re: How do you organise your 'My Documents' folder
« Reply #8 on: August 20, 2007, 09:54:36 PM »
well right now I just slap everything randomly on the desktop, the all user documents folder, or the all user start menu, but as soon as I get a new hard drive, I will come up with some sort of organization method that works for me. ;D
[Insert really cool signature here]

cranioscopical

  • Friend of the Site
  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2006
  • **
  • Posts: 4,368
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: How do you organise your 'My Documents' folder
« Reply #9 on: August 20, 2007, 10:23:33 PM »
This stuff's highly dependent on the individual and relies so heavily on what mnemonics work best for that person.
Personally, I use your approach 3 for personal stuff.
Mind you, I have relatively few files in there (about 6,000) so it's no big challenge.
I have a few broad classes of 'principal' folders and then sub-classes of folders below that (created as required when material in a 'principal' folder builds up to create clutter).
Like many others here, I find "Locate" very useful for times when my mental filing cabinet is rusted shut. http://locate32.webhop.org

For each business project, I'll:
  • Create a folder using the project name
  • Establish mirroring and versioning to another internal drive and also automatic back-up to external storage
  • Create whatever files I need and store those within the project folder
  • Remove the folder from my main machine at project end
  • Archive on site and off site

TucknDar

  • Charter Member
  • Joined in 2005
  • ***
  • Posts: 1,105
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: How do you organise your 'My Documents' folder
« Reply #10 on: August 21, 2007, 01:20:00 AM »
as soon as I get a new hard drive, I will come up with some sort of organization method that works for me. ;D
Yeah, right! :P

brett

  • Charter Member
  • Joined in 2005
  • ***
  • Posts: 125
  • Australia
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: How do you organise your 'My Documents' folder
« Reply #11 on: August 21, 2007, 01:43:12 AM »
Being notoriously bad at staying organised. (I failed mousers GTD experiment) I am leaning towards a more automatic system. I have been using the Client/Theme/Job folder name approach for the last couple of years, but sometimes fail on the discipline of maintaining it.

I might try some of the auto-file moving utils out there, use X1 to index it all. just cant decide on alphabetical or extension.
Not that I have much time anymore, but I might even try a AHK solution.

(And of course, multiple backups before and after trying anything)

Brett

Armando

  • Charter Member
  • Joined in 2005
  • ***
  • Posts: 2,727
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: How do you organise your 'My Documents' folder
« Reply #12 on: August 21, 2007, 11:56:43 PM »
I too have a partition for data.... who wouldn'T? (edit : precisions : "My documents" redirects to E: which contains "my pictures", "my music", etc.)

So, following MS "suggestions" I tend to first organize my data by medium (but not by extension… because, for example, a picture is a picture, regardless of its format -- jpg, gif, bmp, etc.), using of course some “preconceived” folders (mymusic, mypictures, mywhatever…). But that’s mostly for backup convenience : because of the generally big size of multimedia and music/sound files, and  because I use a laptop, I tend to archive these on an external hard drive — it’s a bit easier to do so if files are grouped by medium.

Past the gross “medium filter”, I use folders pretty loosely… I will create folders sometimes just to have a better view of what I'm working at, but will often dissolve these once the job is done. (Applications are different case altogether and are dealt with differently: for example, I strictly adhere to the rule of having one folder for each downloaded application)

My main organizational weapon is not based on folders though, but on a strict naming system (now powered by AHK…) which separates filenames into different information fields (I don’t use the file'S metadata fields or any tagging software for many different reasons, two of them being reliability and coherence). Using that strategy has several advantages, and almost no disadvantages. The main advantages are that files can 1-belong to many categories at once; 2-be found with Farr, X1, in a flash 3-be reorganized easily with BRU or Flash Renamer. (And I do have a lot of stuff, like most researchers — about 20 000 textual files; of course I’m not taking into account other media). The main disadvantages are that 1-you have to be comfortable with abstract structures; 2- filenames can get rather long (one has to be careful…)

In the end I guess that one could say that my data is pretty much… "all piled into one folder" (but one folder per medium) and that... I allow "file search programs to locate stuff"! Yes, I admit: I've become pretty dependent on file search programs, but that's because I have the feeling they won't disappear anytime soon...

One last thing, maybe… IME many aspects of organization can be automated, but, obviously, not everything can. It takes some discipline and effort to remain in control of your data: nothing replaces your judgment when it comes to finely categorized info.
« Last Edit: August 22, 2007, 10:17:17 AM by Armando »

cthorpe

  • Discount Coordinator
  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2006
  • **
  • Posts: 728
  • c++thorpe
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: How do you organise your 'My Documents' folder
« Reply #13 on: August 22, 2007, 12:21:21 AM »
I organize by subject with folders such as Receipts, Lesson Plans, Landlord, Certification, etc.  Then I move all those folders into appropriately named yearly folders at the end of the year.

justice

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2006
  • **
  • Posts: 1,898
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: How do you organise your 'My Documents' folder
« Reply #14 on: August 22, 2007, 06:18:32 AM »
I'm wondering if it's possible to have an organisation filter based on for example the Bayesian spam filter.
It would learn how you categorize your start menu and my documents and then do it for you. Based on the content of these documents.

Armando

  • Charter Member
  • Joined in 2005
  • ***
  • Posts: 2,727
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: How do you organise your 'My Documents' folder
« Reply #15 on: August 22, 2007, 10:28:56 AM »
Based on the content of these documents.

IMO, maybe not impossible, but incredibly difficult.

Such an organization filter might be efficient at a first "gross" classification (sending the right file types to the right folders, etc.), but I'd be surprised if it could do much more. I don't see, for example, how such software could guess which documents are linked to a complex research project... There’s no way! One would probably end up reclassifying what's been automatically classified (that’s pretty much what happens with my EverNote database).

justice

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2006
  • **
  • Posts: 1,898
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: How do you organise your 'My Documents' folder
« Reply #16 on: August 22, 2007, 11:05:19 AM »
groups of words are probably more common between your research documents then between your research document and your electricity bills? Yeah it won't be easy at all.

superboyac

  • Charter Member
  • Joined in 2005
  • ***
  • Posts: 6,070
  • Is your software in my list?
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: How do you organise your 'My Documents' folder
« Reply #17 on: August 22, 2007, 12:17:12 PM »
I do something that i find useful and could be combined with whatever other approach you take.
I like to keep separate the subdirectories that are automatically created for me by programs and those subdirectories i create myself.

So for example i never actually put my file in the MyDocumentss folder.  I leave MyDocuments alone and i create a MyDocs folder for my stuff.

That means I have a MyDocuments folders, which is full of directories created by programs when they install, etc., and then I have a MyDocs folder which is all my real stuff.  I find this makes it easier for me to isolate my "real" files from files created by programs which I don't really care about.  Note that this means that the "default" folder used by programs to store stuff is not going to be the MyDocs folder so this solution is only good for people who dont mind changeing where programs you really use store there stuff, etc.  i.e. don't do this unless you know what you are doing.

I do a similar thing with:
  • C:\Program Files <--- here is the folder used by all normal installer programs
  • C:\ProgramFiles <--- i created this for any programs that DONT have installers, which i create manually; this helps me easily identify programs which i manually "installed" and keep them distinct from programs with their own installers, and has been a great help
  • C:\Programs <--- some old programs have installers and dont like long paths with spaces, i created this directory for those.


Wow, that is almost exactly what I do.  I like having complete control and it bugs me how all these programs create their own folders automatically in "program files" "My Documents", etc.  I also install my programs in a "C:\Programs" directory.  For my Documents, I have two separate folders...one for "Documents" and another for "Software files".  In Documents, there are word docs, pdf's, excel sheets, stuff like that.  In Software Files, I keep the software specific files that usually save the settings for that software.  For example, if I was using Evernote, I would keep the Evernote data in the Software Files folder, in a subfolder for Evernote.

Brett, to answer your question, I don't know how to categorize all those files.  My system above is somewhat hypocritical because I should technically keep my Excel files in an Excel folder in my Software Files folder.  But there is something different about common office documents (doc, xls, txt, pdf) and software specific files.  Right now, I'm using something similar to your option 3, because that makes the most organizational sense.  The only problem with that is that you can have a lot of subfolders to go through.  I take care of that by using flat (or grouped) file view with a program like Directory Opus, and also a Dialog Extender program like XFilesDialog to help me go to folders quickly.  This is a pretty good solution, if I do say so myself.

Armando

  • Charter Member
  • Joined in 2005
  • ***
  • Posts: 2,727
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: How do you organise your 'My Documents' folder
« Reply #18 on: August 22, 2007, 12:35:52 PM »
groups of words are probably more common between your research documents then between your research document and your electricity bills?

Yes, exactly. That's what I call "gross classification".


Yeah it won't be easy at all.

But an incredible challenge as an AI type project...

nite_monkey

  • Member
  • Joined in 2006
  • **
  • Posts: 727
    • View Profile
    • Just Plain Super
    • Read more about this member.
    • Donate to Member
Re: How do you organise your 'My Documents' folder
« Reply #19 on: August 22, 2007, 05:45:50 PM »
as soon as I get a new hard drive, I will come up with some sort of organization method that works for me. ;D
Yeah, right! :P
yeah, I will most likely keep slapping my files in random locations like I have for ever.
[Insert really cool signature here]

Darwin

  • Charter Member
  • Joined in 2005
  • ***
  • Posts: 6,984
    • View Profile
    • Read more about this member.
    • Donate to Member
Re: How do you organise your 'My Documents' folder
« Reply #20 on: August 22, 2007, 06:16:38 PM »
With desktop search technology what it is today, My Documents organization is probably not really such a big issue. Still, being old school, I am anal about my file structure... Anyway, I doubt that those of you, like nite_monkey, who don't organize at all suffer very much as a result!
"Some people have a way with words, other people,... oh... have not way" - Steve Martin

momonan

  • Charter Member
  • Joined in 2005
  • ***
  • Posts: 227
    • View Profile
    • Read more about this member.
    • Donate to Member
Re: How do you organise your 'My Documents' folder
« Reply #21 on: August 22, 2007, 07:03:36 PM »
The problem with having files all jumbled up and relying on searches is that it you have to remember what something is called -- or that it even exists -- to search for it.  For me, filing by subject matter works best -- and it doesn't matter what the extension is.  I treat files just like I would paper in file cabinets, where there are drawers that contain certain subjects, in the drawers are expandable folders that contain projects, and in those are file folders for individual items. 

For example, since I lecture a lot, I have a folder called "lectures."  In that are dozens of events, such as "family court judges 7/28/07."  In that folder will be a folder for correspondence connected to the lecture, one for the bio I used, etc.  I may have a subfolder for materials that contains several files, each containing a separate handout.  The extension doesn't matter at all.  I may have Word documents, power point presentations, excel spreadsheets, etc.  I don't worry about the extension, and only concern myself with organizing everything according to project.

There is a lot more to it.  For example, I may copy the bio to a folder called "bios," so I have them all in one place.  The same with materials.  Within the folder for lectures, I may have a folder called "materials," in which I have copied all the materials I have used for every lecture.

Doing this allows me to get a visual picture.  So, opening the "lectures" folder lets me view at a glance all the lectures I have given.  I can then dig into any one to see if there is something I can use for the next one, etc.

It also allows everything to be clean.  When I open to the first level, I only see 30 or so large project folders, such as "lectures," "real estate," "personal," "financial," "writing," "health and fitness," etc.  Each of those contains folders and sub folders, going ever deeper, but still visually simple.  Works for me. 

BTW, even though software programs have their own preference for default directory, etc., can't you just change that so all of them are downloaded into your program directory?  I don't allow a program to put itself anywhere I don't want it.
When you can't be a good example, then you'll just have to be a horrible warning - Catherine Aird

Lashiec

  • Member
  • Joined in 2006
  • **
  • Posts: 2,374
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: How do you organise your 'My Documents' folder
« Reply #22 on: August 22, 2007, 07:25:27 PM »
I don't understand your question. May you rephrase?

Armando

  • Charter Member
  • Joined in 2005
  • ***
  • Posts: 2,727
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: How do you organise your 'My Documents' folder
« Reply #23 on: August 22, 2007, 08:03:21 PM »
The problem with having files all jumbled up and relying on searches is that it you have to remember what something is called -- or that it even exists -- to search for it.  

I find that this is always the case anyways, even with folders. If you don't really know what you're looking for, it will be hard to find or even to know that it exists (especially with 1000s of files). But if you use well thought off file names, this is not really a problem anymore.

One usually remembers at least one parameter: the date, the author (or company, etc.), the title, the document type (book, article, magazine...), the theme (or category, tag, etc.), the file type (pdf, txt, etc.), etc. After, it's just a matter of slowly filtering the results, adding new search parameters on the fly.

It’s perfectly possible to "file" stuff without using folders. One just need to have a category system built in the filenames themselves, a system that's coherent and kept up to date (something one can achieve without any problem using a script -- AHK or whatever). It's more flexible than using folders, since with that technique, a document can belong to many categories at once (the only limit is the filename’s length — this IS a disadvantage, but not a big one IMO).

Quote
Doing this allows me to get a visual picture.  So, opening the "lectures" folder lets me view at a glance all the lectures I have given.  I can then dig into any one to see if there is something I can use for the next one, etc.


This is a very important aspect… the visual one.  One great thing with X1 in particular, is that one can save searches as folders. I rely on this feature a lot; I love it since it allows me to create multiple views on any given subject and save them for reference…

TucknDar mentioned tag2find... It's a nice software and it might complement my current organizational system once it’s mature enough. It already works pretty well, but I found that putting tags in filenames allows for much more powerful searches.


PS. Sorry Lashiec... i posted right after you posted your question :-[

Darwin

  • Charter Member
  • Joined in 2005
  • ***
  • Posts: 6,984
    • View Profile
    • Read more about this member.
    • Donate to Member
Re: How do you organise your 'My Documents' folder
« Reply #24 on: August 22, 2007, 11:57:39 PM »
Interesting comments, momonan. I couldn't agree more, particularly with your point about the visual aspect of effective file/folder management. This is precisely why I prefer to use both an organizational system AND an indexer. I simply meant to point out that anyone who simply dumps everything into My Documents is far less likely to be "lost" than I was 20 years ago when I started out using computers! Back then, and for years afterward, my sanity depended on my being able to locate files by dint of having them organized...
"Some people have a way with words, other people,... oh... have not way" - Steve Martin