Let’s Explore v4 – Organization Series
I see it asked often about how to organize designs, fonts, files, etc. So to kick 2022 off I will be doing a series on organizing different aspects of your Silhouette supplies.
This series will be focused on the digital side of things more than the physical products.
The one thing I want emphasize as you read this is that each user will vary in what works best for them. There is no perfect answer or solution to this. We all “work” and process things differently. What works for one individual, may not work the best for another.
And the next thing I want to emphasize is that it can be an ever evolving organization too! So no matter how you are doing it or how you want to do it, it may change in the future as you develop your best practices for YOU!
And I’m going to be completely honest with you and say that I have not kept up with making backups, organizing, or creating a good system. I was a digital scrapbooker prior to getting into Silhouette, so I just went with what I did before. Although I have gotten into some bad habits such as not backing up as often as I should. As a scrapbooker, we were always reminding each other to back up your photos constantly and to save in multiple locations as nothing is 100% safe.
But I’ve gotten lazy and have slacked in this area.
So let’s do this together!
To start the series, we are going to discuss backing things up. All things!
I’m going to share some tips and recommendations on backing it up, but you will need to decide what is going to work best for you. Hopefully this will give you some ideas to decide what is best for your work style.
What is a backup?
A backup is simply having a copy of your item(s) in a safe location in case something happens such as a computer crash, server crash, computer system update, etc.
The first point we should discuss is that there is nothing that is 100% safe. The best thing you can do is have a backup of your supplies whether that be photos, designs, fonts, files, etc.
And it’s a good idea to have a backup of your backup too!
What things should you backup?
All things you do not want to lose!
This could include:
– Silhouette files
– Silhouette library
– Your phone contacts
This is not a comprehensive list at all, but will give you an idea of where to start.
How often should you make a backup?
This is going to vary by user, but a good start is monthly.
However, if you are a power user, business owner, or create/collect a lot of designs, fonts, etc. you may want to do it more often.
Next, set a time each month. If the beginning of the month is busy, set it for the middle of the month or another time that works well. But, make it consistent.
Let’s set an alarm. Pick a date for each month.
Set an alarm in your phone and label it so you don’t forget why you set the alarm.
Now, set the alarm to reoccur each month for 2022.
And write it in your calendar too if you keep one.
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What should you use to backup to?
This is also going to vary by user. There are many options available such as external hard drives, flash drives, cloud options, etc.
Personally, I keep all of my files on an external hard drive to keep my computer cleaner and not fill it up. I use an external hard drive so I don’t have to rely on having internet to access my files and when I travel, I have what I need with me.
Keep in mind that nothing is 100% safe, so having multiple options for a back up is always a good idea. And the best backup options are the ones that you are going to use!
I have a daily use external hard drive and a “back up” external hard drive that I back up my daily one to several times a year.
What is the best external hard drive?
Most name brand external hard drives are good. I have owned Seagate, Hitachi, Toshiba, and Western. Why so many? Because as I grow with the blog and classes, I need more space and more backups.
The most recent one I’ve purchased is a
Toshiba Canvio Advance 4 TB Portable External Hard Drive found HERE.
Do you need that much space? You probably don’t, but it would last you many years. Or there are other options for 1 TB or 2 TB that you can choose from.
For me, I do need more space, so it works great and it’s not too expensive.
Keep in mind that it is something you will use all the time and for a long while.
You can also find them in most places that sell computers. I’ve purchased at Sam’s Club or Best Buy in the past as well.
I also purchased a carry case for mine since I travel (at least before Covid). If you travel or even just to protect your external hard drive when you aren’t using it, I would recommend it.
I purchased the Amazon Basics External Hard Drive case HERE.
When you buy an external hard drive, there are 2 types – portable and desktop. I had no idea what I was buying when I first started using one in 2007 and bought a desktop one. This style really is not meant to travel with, so keep that in mind.
MAC users, you will also want to make sure the external hard drive is MAC compatible or the external hard drive can be formatted for use with a MAC computer.
This information should be found in the description of the external hard drive.
As an example, this is the chart from the Toshiba External Hard Drive I linked above on Amazon. It lists that the MAC requires reformatting for 3 of the models before it can be used.
What is the best method?
The one that is going to work for you and you will use! You can have the best system available and if you do not use it, it doesn’t really work.
As I mentioned above, I own several. Some I have outgrown, while others are specific for certain file types. For instance, I keep my photos on one external hard drive versus one for my Silhouette digital supplies.
While I use an external hard drive, that may not be what works for you. There are many cloud options and I’d recommend researching each one to decide what method works for you. I will mention again, nothing is 100% safe and I have seen where even cloud options lose servers before and cannot recover that data.
The safest place is in multiple locations!
Now that we have a few basics covered, let’s get started!
Backing Up Your Photos
While not directly related to Silhouette, I would bet most Silhouette users take photos in some form or fashion. You may be taking photos to use in your Silhouette projects or of your projects.
This is going to vary by person in how you back up.
Do you take photos with your phone or a camera?
Each process can be a bit different.
Check into what the process is for your equipment.
Can you plug the device into your computer and transfer images?
Or do you have to download them from a cloud?
Personally, I use my phone a lot for photos from everyday photos to ones for the blog and classes. I have an Android phone through Google Fi and that means that my photos are all backed up automatically to Google. But, this also means that if I want to download them, I have to do so through Google Photo.
But I have become lazy backing up my photos and have misplaced some over the last couple years.
Let’s change that in 2022.
If we do this monthly, it won’t seem like such a large task. However, that may vary depending on how many photos you take a month.
Silhouette Studio backups
There are few areas I would highly recommend backing up from Silhouette Studio.
Silhouette Studio Library Export
Note: the software version you are currently on may affect whether you see the same options I show. I will list other resources for older software below.
Tutorial written in v4.4.552
Click on the Library tab in the top right corner.
Then click on your name in the top left corner.
Choose Library Export from the menu.
Choose a safe location to save your Library backup to.
I created a new folder on my external hard drive specifically for backup files and I add the date the file name when I save it, so I know the date it was done easily.
How long will it take to export?
This will depend on how many files you have in your Silhouette library. The more files, the longer it takes.
While we are discussing number of files, I want to briefly mention that the Silhouette library was not designed as an all inclusive storage area, but as a syncing device. This is so you can access files on multiple computers.
The only files that Silhouette can guarantee to recover are those files from the Silhouette Design Store. Personally, I do not store many files to my Silhouette library.
Since it is not designed as an all inclusive storage area, the storage space is limited. If you get close or exceed the storage space limit, it can cause issues within your software. Each user is given 1 GB of storage space. If you are a Silhouette Club member or a have a Silhouette Design Store subscription, you get 5 GB.
We will discuss the Silhouette library in more detail later in the Let’s Explore v4 – Organization series.
Since it is not designed as an all inclusive storage area, I would highly recommend making regular backups of the library if you do store files in it.
What is this Library Export?
This is a backup of your Silhouette library only.
It is not a file that can be opened outside the Silhouette Studio software.
It is only a backup that can be imported back into the software should something happen.
It does not contain individual files.
Silhouette Studio Export User Designs
This is a brand new feature that is available in Silhouette Studio v4.4.552 or higher.
This is a different type of export and it will export all of your User Designs (personal designs) as individual files. As a note, when exporting these User Designs, it will export the entire library folder structure. However, any designs from the Silhouette Design Store, the folders will be empty. Only the user created designs will be exported.
This is due to the proprietary nature of the .studio files and to protect the designers of those files from theft.
For more details on this new features, check out this post
New Feature – Export Individual Files HERE
If you are using an older version of Silhouette Studio prior to v4, check out the Silhouette Library Tips post published on January 3, 2019 found HERE, for further details on creating backups of the library.
Another great option to set up and have available as a backup source is the
Silhouette Studio Snapshot.
In the Library tab, click the gear icon in the bottom right corner and choose Library Snapshot.
Next, choose how you want the Snapshot to be captured. I have mine set to Daily, however, something to note is that it will only take a snapshot when you open the software. If you are a user that keeps the software open for days on end, it doesn’t do it until the software is closed and reopened.
For more details on how the Silhouette Snapshot works, check out this post
Let’s Explore v4 – Library Snapshot HERE.
While this method might be rarely needed, why not set it up just in case. I’ve had to instruct a few users over the years to restore a Snapshot and it has saved them when something went wrong in the library.
Again, you are probably tired of reading it, but the safest place is multiple locations. So this is a great option available to you for those “just in case” moments.
All the details are in the post I linked above on the Snapshot if you’d like to learn more, but I do want to mention that the Snapshot is computer specific. So if you are accessing Silhouette Studio on multiple locations, it will create new snapshots on each computer.
User Defined Settings
If you create your own custom cut settings in the Silhouette Studio software, it is a great idea to back those up. In fact, I would highly recommend you do it right now! You never know what can affect this area such as a corrupt file or preference.
On the Send tab, click on the More button.
Scroll down on the materials list to the end where the User Defined Settings are located.
Right click on the Material name and choose Export ‘name’
It will ask you where to save the file. I saved to my Silhouette backups folder and added the date as well. This saves as a CSV file which can be imported back into the software if needed.
To select multiple settings to export at once – click on one, hold the Shift key down, and then click on the last one to select. Then right click and choose Export
For more details, check out the video on Let’s Explore v4 – Custom Cut Settings found HERE.
Back Up Your Files & Fonts
This one kind of goes along the same lines as backing up your photos.
Where ever you store your files, back them up to another source.
For instance, I use my external hard drive for all my designs, fonts, and files. But, I have another external hard drive that I use as my backup hard drive and back up to it several times a year. I need to do this more often.
I use a program called SyncBackFree and have for many years in order to Sync from my “working” external hard drive to my “back up” external hard drive.
As you can see, it has been awhile since I last did my backup. I completed it right before we did our move last year. So guess what I am now doing as I type the rest of this.
As a note, the computer does need to be active while it performs the backup or sync that you set up. If it goes to sleep, then the sync/backup will pause. So depending on how many files you have to backup, the time needed may vary.
As I was working on the details, the sync finished – whew! 1 step done to creating backups for this month!
If I’m working on a class and have a lot a time invested into it, I will also upload those videos or content to my Google drive as a “just in case”. It can be very frustrating when something happens and hours of work is lost.
That is a lot of information on making backups. While it may seem like a big task, the easiest way to get it done is to get started. Tackle one backup at a time!
Now that my external hard drive is synced up, photos are the next things on my to-do list. Since it’s been awhile, it will take me some time to get that done. But, if I start to do it at the same time each month, it will take less time.
I hope those have given you a few ideas of what you should be backing up and some ideas of how you can.
Silhouette Backups is just the start of the Let’s Explore v4 – Organization Series.
I hope you will join me for the rest of the series.
Part 2 – Let’s Explore v4 – Silhouette Library Organization
Part 3 – Let’s Explore v4 – File Organization
I would love to see what you are creating with your Silhouette software or machines!
Or if you have any questions, feel free to post photos or questions on my Facebook group at
Silhouette Secrets with EllyMae.
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