Many businesses use PDF files.
These files are more secure, useful, and visually appealing than other types of electronic documents.
For example, scanned pages that are uploaded as PDFs allow users to search their text as if it were typed.
Software innovations such as this are what set PDFs apart.
These are just a few of the many reasons businesses use PDFs. But, using them is never the issue. Managing them is.
This is especially true if your company has more than a few employees. Things can get cluttered (and then lost) very quickly as the days go by.
But, like we all learned in grade school, staying organized is key.
Read on to learn five ways you can keep your PDFs in order.
1. Place PDFs in a Central Location
There's nothing more frustrating than having your boss over your shoulder watching as you desperately search for one specific document.
Digital clutter is hard enough to sift through on its own. The added pressure from a superior observing definitely doesn't help.
Believe it or not, there are companies that scatter their internal PDFs all over the place.
They could be on desktops, in improper folders, or even placed among pictures that were taken with a camera.
First and foremost, there should be one central location where you store your company's PDFs.
To make it as simple as possible, you can even name this folder "PDFs" to completely eliminate any confusion.
From here, you can branch out into different subfolders that vary depending on a handful of factors.
Directly within the PDFs folder, it's not a bad idea to have subfolders that have months and years as the title.
Therefore, the project from June of 2014 that you may be looking for will be much easier to find.
2. Shorten The Names
When a file name is too long, it can make the PDF files more difficult to locate.
Further, not all software can correctly work with files that have overly long titles.
File names that have too many characters are often abbreviated with an ellipsis. This can get confusing if there are multiple PDFs together with similar names.
For example, a regular file name would be something like "Collins Report."
If the file name is too long, it will get abbreviated.
"Collins Report - Final Draft - Edited and Proofread" may display as "Collins Report - Fi...fread."
If you happen to have a file named "Collins Report - First Draft - Edited and Proofread," the two abbreviated names will be very similar.
Not only will this cause confusion, it will waste time. And, in business, lost time is always lost money.
People are always trying to stay organized. There are even apps entirely devoted to helping you do so.
Having folders that correspond to the first letter of each project name is a great way to save time.
It's also very simple to implement. In the "PDFs" folder you should have created, you can make 26 separate folders for each letter of the alphabet.
That way, you can be sure that the "Collins Report" is located in the folder for the letter C.
Alphabetization can also prevent any conflicts from arising in the future over lost files.
Because the system is easy to follow, it also places the accountability on the person saving or downloading the PDF.
As an alternative, you can make sure that every project title always begins with the name of the project.
That way, you can sort by name in the folder menu and easily find what you're looking for.
4. Give Folders and Documents Color
There are plenty of free third-party programs that allow you to place a color overlay on your folder and file icons.
While it may not seem obvious at first, assigning certain colors to certain types of projects will help you remember what they are and where they go.
For example, all internal reports can go in a blue folder. Client reports can go in a green folder, and so on.
Over time, you'll immediately know where each project goes as you get used to the system.
On the other hand, you'll also know exactly where you need to look in order to find certain documents, helping you save time and increase productivity.
To go even deeper, you can colorize individual files, as well.
This will allow you to make sure that nothing is in the wrong folder because the file's color should match the folder's.
This tip is best used in conjunction with the previous three.
For the most efficient organization, your PDF folder should have colored folders inside for different project types. These projects should have the same color as their parent folders.
They should all have short titles that begin with the project name so that you can automatically place them in alphabetical order.
5. Make a New Folder For Finished Projects
This is perhaps one of the most important tips to remember. Pulling up an old version of a project while thinking it's the final version can have disastrous results.
After you complete a project and it's no longer needed, it should go in a folder for completed PDFs only.
This will both help you avoid using the wrong file and also help you organize the folder where your current projects reside.
You'll be surprised how much nicer a folder directory can look when all of the unnecessary files are moved elsewhere.
Plus, cutting down on the number of PDFs you have in a folder will save you time when you're searching for something.
The finished projects PDF folder also double as an archive, and you can store it on a backup drive if you need to free up some space.
PDF Files Are Vital
And they should be treated like it. They should never be scattered all over different desktops or random folders.
When they're in one organized, central location, you'll drastically improve your workflow.
Want to learn more about optimizing the tech in your business? Check out our blog.