I was helping a new writer and she was confused about versions of her story/article. This is a common problem for many writers as it requires some computer literacy that people often don’t have. Here’s what I suggested to her:
- Have a computer folder for the book project. Hers was a collection of stories from mission trips to Haiti. Her folder logically says HAITI STORIES.
- Inside that folder have a folder for each individual story. One of her stories is titled “Anesthesia by Song”–don’t you want to know what that’s about?! Her inside folder where all copies of this story are can simply be ANESTHESIA BY SONG.
- – I also use this folder to save notes, resources, etc. related to my article or story.
- – I might have a separate folder labeled NOTES or INFO inside the story/article folder if I have a number of different documents.
- If you want to have different versions of a story/article, name the files with dates or a number. E.g. Travel Story 4-15-17.docx, Travel Story 5-1-17.docx, Travel Story 1.docx, Travel Story 2.docx. (Or .doc for older computers.) At a glance, you’ll see which is the newest version. You could also label them Travel Story first draft.docx through Travel Story final.docx.
Whether you are on a PC using the file manager (looks like a folder at the bottom of your screen) or on a MAC using Finder, organizing your work helps you know where everything is. The folders within another folder, the files within a folder, all can be in alphabetical order which makes it easy to find the file you need when you need it.
My friend was surprised to hear you can have folders within folders. I liken it to a wide hanging folder in a desk drawer. It can have multiple manila folders. But the computer is even better as you can keep nesting as far as you need.
But how do you save different versions of a document?
There are multiple methods:
- The one I find myself using the most often is opening the document itself and then clicking on “save as” and adding a version number or date. This leaves my new document open and I can immediately start work.
- Another option is to go where the file is and make a copy. When you save the copy, the system will add a number to differentiate it or will add the word copy. Then you can rename the copy, open it and get to work.
“Save as” is useful in other ways too.
- Saving a backup copy to another location such as Dropbox, google drive, a USB device, etc.
- Saving the first ten pages for a consultation/critique. Of course, you can also copy the first ten pages and paste in a new document, but you probably will lose your headers.
I liked having the “save as” icon on my toolbar, so I can click on it easily.
Another writer expressed this week how she lost six hours of work when preparing a PowerPoint presentation. We’ve all lost work and it is very frustrating. Here’s what I do to help avoid that:
- Name the document or presentation right away. An unnamed doc or ppt is much more difficult to find if you have a computer crash. I’ve also clicked on “don’t save” when I meant to click on save when closing a document. Arghh!
- When you save the file that first time, make sure you put it in a logical place so you’ll know where to find it.
- Save frequently as you work. I suggest every twenty to thirty minutes. (The “save” icon on the toolbar makes this quick and easy. Command/Control S is the keyboard shortcut.)
- If you’re inserting create commons images you’ve copied from the Internet, I suggest downloading them then insert versus copy and paste. You’ll have the downloaded copies in your downloads folder as a backup.
And speaking of backups… Make sure you are backing up your documents and files. For further info, go to this blog post.