Can't your homework assignment? Learn how to keep your digital files organized for easy access.

A older man smiling at his laptop screen with a red, angled, graphic overlay. 

1. Start with the Basics

Make a few root folders that a majority of your files can go in. You probably already have a Documents and Pictures root folder, but it’s easy to save all your files in one or the other. There will be times when an image needs to be saved in the Document folder or a document to the Pictures folder, but try to keep them in their respective folders.

2. Nesting Folders

Think about what kind of files are on your computer and how you could group them. In your Documents root folder you could have a Homework folder, and inside of that have a folder for each class. This will help you find old assignments quickly for future reference and prevent them from being deleted accidentally.

3.Naming

All of these folders are useless if the naming isn’t clear. Avoid using over abbreviated names that might lose meaning in the future. Naming your “Financial Accounting and Reporting I” class folder FAR1 might seem like a great idea now, but future you might struggle to remember what it stands for. Try to find a happy middle ground of abbreviation and clarity with naming.

4. Archive Older Files

If you’ve had your computer for multiple years, you probably have a lot of old files. Moving those files and folders to a single folder labeled Old or Archives keeps relevant materials accessible and provides a clearly marked space for older ones. When archiving you should ask if the file has been used in the last 3 months, if not either archive it or delete it. Only delete files you know will never be needed again.

5. Use the System

Follow through with your new filing system! Keeping current projects on your desktop is handy, but don’t forget to file them after. Move downloaded items into the appropriate folders and use the Save As function when saving a document for the first time. These steps will become habit before you know it, and misplacing files will become a thing of the past.