File and Folder structure

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by Martin29, Jul 18, 2014.

  1. Martin29 macrumors 6502


    Nov 25, 2010
    Quimper, France
    I came from a windows background some four years ago and set up my first Mac with a large folder structure to manage my files.

    As time has gone on I have continued to add files and folders so that today I find myself with a complex structure which means I'm unlikely to be consistent when assigning a file to a particular folder.

    I have been looking at the coloured tags and wonder whether I can simplify my structures to simply; photos; documents etc. and then tag everything with one or more tags to facilitate future searches.

    I wonder what other users do? Is it reasonable to simplify everything as above? What are the advantages and disadvantages? If I then store my files on iCloud or in Dropbox, will the tags still function?

    Any thoughts welcomed.
  2. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    Your files usually end up in a couple basic locations, i.e., ~/Documents and ~/Pictures

    I use OneDrive to store my documents so I have access to them on my iPhone and iPad (I run MS office).

    Its really up to you, on what works best with your work flow. I personally have some basic folders on my OneDrive, i.e., spreadsheets, documents, pdfs, etc. nothing to intricate
  3. glenthompson macrumors 68000


    Apr 27, 2011
    If you have a lot of photos you might want to consider a digital asset manager (DAM) like iPhoto, Aperture (deprecated), Lightroom, or the upcoming Photos. Much easier to find photos of a particular person, location, or date. You can also apply ratings and keywords so you can skip the bad ones. I probably have 10x the photos in Aperture from when I switched from a folder based system and it's easier to manage and find the pix I want.

    Similar systems are available for documents but may be overkill for many. Check out DevonThink Pro.

    These are databases for pictures and documents. Doesn't answer your question about color tags because I don't use them.
  4. Martin29 thread starter macrumors 6502


    Nov 25, 2010
    Quimper, France
    Thank you for that. I have indeed been using both, but have to say they confuse the issue by each using their own library structure and with different terminologies. I find myself with two different libraries, each classified in different ways.. And that's one of the reasons I'm looking to rationalise the way everything is placed into folders.. I truly hope that the new Photos will replace both Aperture and iPhotos with a single product which avoids these confusions.

    Thank you, I'll take a look at that. I have many thousands of documents which I have carefully filed but the whole thing is now becoming much too complex to be sensible.
  5. MCAsan macrumors 601


    Jul 9, 2012
    If you talking Aperture and iPhoto, consider that both give you two very different ways of storing your images. The first method is the default managed library approach. That approach puts the imported image files (raw, jpg) inside the Aperture's database package. The files are not easily visible by Finder. Aperture gives you the organization al tools of Projects, Folders, and Albums. Remember those are logical constructs.....and have zero to do with where the image files reside inside the Mac. This approach is OK if you have a desktop Mac with large internal storage. But when you have a Macbook, you soon realize the managed library will soon not fit. You can adapt to this by have different libraries for each year or customer...etc. Then you can put all or some of these smaller libraries on external drives.

    The second approach is the referenced library. If this approach you decide in which file system folders and subfolders, they can be seen by Finder, you will use to import and store you master images. The Aperture database does NOT contain these original master images. The database contains the references to where the master files are located, the jpg previews of the files, and the non-destructive edits done to raw files.

    Other DAM products on the market, such as Adobe's Lightroom only do the referenced approach. Some other DAM products, such as Capture One, let you do either a managed or referenced library.

    You can start your own investigation as to any 3rd party DAM you want to use to replace Aperture/iPhoto. I do suggest that you wait to see how Photos works out in early 2015. Then you can make an informed decision to go Photos or a 3rd party DAM.
  6. Martin29 thread starter macrumors 6502


    Nov 25, 2010
    Quimper, France
    Thank you for that helpful explanation. It is appreciated.

    As far as my image files are concerned, I shall wait to see how Photos works in a few months time.

    I've looked at most of the packages referred to in earlier posts, but most seem to be project management packages which are capable of classifying files, as opposed to file management apps.

    What I guess I'm looking for is something which uses the simplest approach possible to organising around 20,000 files from a wide variety of apps. And which will permit them to be stored on iCloud; Dropbox or locally, as well as being accessible by both Mac and IOS devices.

    That almost sounds as though it is what finder is supposed to do :) but with my Windows background I've made a folder structure several layers deep and no longer feel I'm being consistent where I place files, which means when I come to search then I either have to search the entire disk or else risk not finding the required file..

    Any recommendations welcomed
  7. robgendreau macrumors 68040

    Jul 13, 2008
    Maybe looking into Finder alternatives would help. Leap, for instance. You can tag stuff, use bookmarks, preview and do other tasks.

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