I wrote about file organization a few weeks ago, so before you blast me about creating folders, using folder actions, or simply organizing files better, hear me out.
Files are a mess on the Mac.
True, it’s been worse. You probably know some Mac users who can’t find anything. I’m not one of them. You probably know Windows users who dump EVERYTHING into the My Documents folder.
That’s a philosophy with merit. At least you know where everything is, right?
My beef is that we have too many files of too many kinds and they’re getting scattered all over hard drives that are so big we don’t “prune” files any more—we just save everything.
To be fair, Apple and Mac OS X have helped considerably, especially for the average user. With all my years of experience I’m still trying to be a slightly more power “average” user.
Music gets stored by iTunes in the Music folder of the Home Directory (folder). That’s a good thing, don’t you think? Perhaps. Until you start creating some of your own original tunes on GarageBand.
Where do you store GarageBand files (not the finished tunes; the “working” files)?
Digital photos are next on the list. iPhoto does an excellent job, for the average user with a few thousand photos, of storing them in the Pictures folder (also in the Home directory). What about those photos that get special “touch ups” with Photoshop Elements 3.0 (we love that application) or Portraits & Prints (that, too)? Where do those files go?
Digital movies are another story but it has the same ending. iMovie imports the movie clips, lets you edit and then save everything into a project.
You can store the iMovie project in—ta da!! The Movies folder (also in the Home directory).
Frankly, all that works great and makes Mac OS X much more organized than OS 9.x or Window (IMHO, of course).
What of all the other files you generate on your Mac? How about the Microsoft Word documents, the Excel documents, the PowerPoint presentations? Where do those go?
In the Documents folder.
If you’re a die-hard Mac user and avoid Microsoft like a disease, then there’s AppleWorks files, Photoshop files, Quicken files, and every other kind of file you can think of (not to mention iDVD files for SuperDrive Mac users). Where do those files go?
In the Documents folder.
Who keeps track of what’s in the Documents folder? No one and nothing, and that’s my point. Documents (everything besides Movies, Music, and Pictures) needs some organization.
Spotlight (that nifty search technology due in OS X next year) might make finding files easier, but I’d kind of like to know exactly where they are. Getting a file is easier than finding a file (usually), I always say.
I’m admitting that I don’t have that Documents folder organized well enough to suit me. Yet. I’m getting there.
I do a bunch of audio and video production, some Photoshop work, plenty of web work. So my standard routine has been to dump everything else into Documents. At least I always knew it was Preggo—it’s in there.
What I want is something else. What do you use? How do you organize all your “other” files? Do you use a folder structure? If so, what? Do you use an application to track all those movie trailers, audio clips, Word documents, attachments, and odd files generated by all the Mac utilities on your Mac?
At the high end I find iView Media Pro to be interesting, somewhat daunting, and ever so expensive. I’m not so sure I want to fork over that kind of money just to keep track of all my “other” files.
I bought FootTrack 2.0 to handle the extra video files generated by Final Cut Pro (the Movies folder isn’t enough) and it’s excellent. Now, if it would just handle, well, everything else.
How about Qpict? It’s mostly a media organizer but I love the interface. Fonts. Movies. Photos. Generally speaking, those are already organized enough.
File Roundup? That seems to be a Mac utility that catalogs files (handy when you dump everything into the Documents folder) but doesn’t really help me organize files.
I’m about to look at DEVONthink Personal Edition. The feature list is impressive and the price is moderate. Click Here to see what I’m seeing at MacUpdate.
Remember, I’m not into organizing notes, or email, or URL’s, or addresses, or schedules. Mac OS X comes with enough of that kind of organizing utility.
It’s all those other files that bother me. I just feel guilty throwing them into Documents. Granted, I also throw most of those files into sub-Folders within Documents, but I change the folders around often because I can’t find something I’m looking for and that I know is already there.
Do you ever have that problem?
In short, I’m officially starting a dialog with readers. You. I’m leaning toward DEVONthink or iView Media Pro (BIG difference in price) but would fall head over heels for a simpler, more elegant solution. If there is one.
How do you organize your Documents folder? Do you have a sub-folder structure that’s worked for you through the years? Do you use a cataloging application? What’s your poison?
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