One of the first things a digi newbie needs to learn is how to download and unzip files. Surprisingly, there are many ways to manage downloading, so even a seasoned digi veteran can always learn a few tricks in this area as well. I (Katie) have been digital scrapbooking for almost 6 years now, and I only recently streamlined my own downloading process thanks to something that Steph mentioned to me in a podcast.
Here’s my current process:
- As soon as I complete an online digital scrapbook purchase (or find a high-quality freebie), I immediately save the zip files to my computer hard drive. All my downloads go immediately to a folder labeled “downloads”.
- After I’ve accumulated a few downloads (never waiting more than a day or two), I use the unzip them all tool (it’s free!) to quickly unzip multiple files at once.
- I quickly check all unzipped downloads to be sure there were no corrupt files and that I got everything. That’s the main reason why I never wait too long to do this – many sites keep the download links active in your account for a few days. It’s also much easier for a shop owner to go in and reset download links on a recent purchase rather than having to wade back through months of orders to find yours.
- I delete all my zip folders once I have unzipped the contents. I know many digi scrappers keep these for their files, but I don’t feel like there is any need to do this.
- I like to consolidate my unzipped download folders at this point. I generally like to have only 1 file per kit or product. I may keep subfolders within that main folder (especially for alphas), but I like to keep it all neat & tidy. You can read more about my organization process in the post Digital Scrapbook Organization – 3 Ways.
- Once my files are consolidated, I move them to my external hard drive organization system. Sometimes, if I plan to use the download right away, I will also keep a copy on my laptop so I can easily access it.
It’s a pretty simple system and it works for me. However, not everyone is the same and there are other ways to accomplish the same tasks, so I thought it would be helpful to share what some of our team members here at The Daily Digi do to manage their downloads.
- With scrap supplies, I download into my SCRAP DOWNLOADS folder and unzip right away. This is because I’ve had corrupt zip files in the past and it can be a pain to have a download reset by a store after a certain amount of time has passed.
- With kits, once I unzip them, I organize them right away by renaming the main folder DESIGNER NAME – KIT NAME and creating sub-folders ALPHA, ELEMENTS, and PAPERS. If a kit has two or more paper zips, I consolidate them all in one PAPERS folder to make it easier to scrap with. I also drag the kit preview into the top folder and tag it in ACDSee right away. Later on, once I’m ready to actually use the kit, I tag the individual elements and papers. (This makes it very easy for me to know which kits I’ve scrapped with before and which ones haven’t been used.)
- Once I’m done those quick steps, I delete the zip folder. I’m embarrassed to say that I used to keep my zip files in a folder up until last year! I had about 80 GB of them! After doing some research, I found out there’s no need to keep them and I happily deleted them (and freed a bunch of hard drive space!).
Melissa S.’s process:
- I download zips into a folder, then unzip them using unzip them all onto my main HDD and re-download any corrupted files if necessary.
- I unzip them into the designer’s name and then leave them however the designer organised them otherwise. I delete all the extra folders for the Mac.
- I keep my zip files until I have about 4GB then burn them off on to a DVD as a backup. I delete the zips and then backup my supplies onto an external HDD using Synctoy. I don’t use the HDD all the time as they tend to go flakey. So I have 3 copies. I on DVD, one on my HDD and one on my External HDD.
- I use ALZIP and when you right click over the zip you can click on “extract ALL to folder” which i love!
- I also agree on unzipping right away because of the issue w/ improper downloads and what not.
- I also remove copies of previews (you know how sometimes the put them in EACH folder!) and i rename the preview I keep “folder” if it’s not already named that way.
if the kits in multiple folders, I put them all into one (usually the paper folder). I like them nice and tidy!
- I download everything to my desktop so I can see it and it makes me organize and unzip it faster because it drives me crazy to have a bunch of files on my desktop.
- I use Zip Genius, and I try to unzip as I’m downloading to make sure none of the files are corrupt, and as soon as I check to make sure the file contents are all there I’ll dump the zips into the recycle bin.
- Any scrapbook products that I download get renamed by Designer_KitName. If the kit is broken up into individual folders I’ll put them all into one folder, with only a subfolder for an alpha if there was one included. I don’t like to have to click through a bunch of folders to find things, and tend to scrap easier if I can just open 1 folder and find all of the paper/elements mixed together as it helps me to visualize the items together better.
- I use UnzipThemAll as well, although it took me awhile to figure it out. It is such a time saver! I download to 2 spots – New Downloads (for stuff I’ve purchased) and CT Downloads.
- I unzip right away and delete the zips. I’ve found that when downloading some stores limit you to downloading 2 things at a time, but even if they don’t limit it, I tend to stick with downloading 2 zips at once, otherwise it downloads too slow and actually takes more time. A lot of times I don’t have time to download something right away, so I keep the e-mail from the store with the download links in my inbox until I download. I hate having a cluttered inbox, so this always reminds me to go download what I’ve purchased.
- I use Mozilla Firefox, and I love the Download box that pops up, it comes in handy for remembering which was the last download link you’ve clicked on (I could never remember that using IE).
- Currently when I download a file from a shop etc. I save it to my favourite place!!! My Desktop.
- Then I right click and select Extract All. I move my Zip file into the Zip Folder I keep on a separate drive.
- Then I file the folder in my scrap folders, I move it to my main folders and then to the back up I keep on an external drive.
- I’ve recently started working on a Mac laptop, so I’m still trying to figure out the inns and outs on this one. But when I used PC I loved my 7-ZIP download manager. I could download up to seven files at once and I could adjust where I wanted the zips to be stored right away.
Who knew there were so many ways to download & manage files? Even though we all had differences in our downloading process, we all had a common goal – unzip & organize those digi goodies as quickly as possible so we can get scrappin!
Here are a few related links worth checking out: