We are continuing the Let’s Explore v4 – Silhouette Organization series today with some tips to organizing additional files that you may be using for Silhouette.
As I mentioned in my previous posts in the series, there is no magic answer to organizing your files. I can share how I organize my personal files, but each user will need to determine what is going to work best for you and your work flow.
And, your organization path may change over time and that is completely OK.
I’ll share some tips and thinking points to help get you started with determining what might work for you.
My goals by writing this Organization series is to help you think about ways to organize your files and find a method that works for YOU!
And for me personally too – I am right there with you in trying to get things organized better!
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Note: the screen shots below are from a Windows computer, but all of the same concepts, tips, and techniques will work for MAC users as well.
First, let’s discuss design files.
Where to store design files?
The Silhouette Studio library is not designed as an all inclusive storage area, but as a syncing device. So I would highly recommend that you store your personal files outside of the Silhouette library. I use an external hard drive to store all my designs and fonts.
The most recent one I’ve purchased is a
Toshiba Canvio Advance 4 TB Portable External Hard Drive found HERE.
I know I mentioned this several times in the first 2 parts of the series, but I think it is a very important part of you Silhouette journey.
What is going to work best for you to store your files?
Only you can decide that.
I use an external hard drive for several reasons. I travel to teach at conferences (when life returns to “normal”). I can take my external hard drive and plug it into different computers and access my files. And I like to keep my computer cleaner by not storing files on it. But, I also have a backup to my external hard drive as well because nothing is 100% safe. More details on that in the Let’s Explore v4 – Backups tutorial.
Once you decide on the storage location, next you can start thinking of how you want to store your files.
How to organize design files
The basics of organizing are pretty simple. Create folders and move your files into those folders in the best way that will work for YOUR personal work flow.
I do not have the magic answer here.
As I mentioned in the previous post, I started as a digital scrapbooker before getting my Silhouette. This meant I collected lots of digital supplies. I was on several Design Teams for digital designers, which meant that I collected a LOT of files.
Personally, I’ve always organized it by the store or the designer where I got the files. That may or may not work for you. I have not changed my method of organizing in the 9+ years since I started with Silhouette. So this organization series is just as much for me as it is for you.
When I started getting into Silhouette, I created a folder called “Silhouette cut files” under my Digital files folder. And this is how I have continued to use it from the beginning. As you can see in the photo above, I have a lot of different folders with the store names or the designer names. Most of those are from my digital scrapbooking days and my cut files are thrown in there under the Silhouette cut files folder.
The reason I am explaining this is to show that there isn’t any magic way of doing it. There is no “right” answer. The only one is what works for YOU!
It is not really something that someone can tell you exactly how to do because we all work differently. And what they do might not work best for you.
Here are some things to think about when deciding what will work for you:
– do you want to organize by store, designer, or by categories?
– seasons, holiday, colors, etc.?
– how to do you work?
– do you always buy from the same stores?
– do you always buy from the same designers?
Each user is going to have their favorite stores or designers. This may be where you want to start. And it may change and evolve over your Silhouette journey.
What files types do I need to keep?
This is a question asked often, so I thought I’d share what I do.
I keep ALL the files.
Especially if it’s a file I’ve purchased, I keep them ALL.
Because I never know when I may want to use those other file types in another program or for another project.
They really do not take up that much space and I’d rather have access to the best file type for my project in the future.
What is the best file type?
This is going to depend on what kind of project you are doing. As an example, if I were to be doing a print and cut, a png or jpeg of the file might be just fine to use since I do not need all the cut data. That is not saying the png or jpeg is better than the svg, but it may just be better for the specific project I’m working on.
For more about the different file types, check out this post
File Formats for Silhouette
But what I do, may not be the best method for you. Do you need to keep them all? That is something you will need to decide. For me, I know I’d rather have quick access than to hunt down where I got the file and see if I could still download the other formats that were offered when I’m doing a project.
Another big question that is asked a lot is, can I organize fonts in Silhouette?
Well, yes and no.
In the Let’s Explore v4 – Library Organization we cover how you can organize fonts in Silhouette that are from the Silhouette Design Store. These are the only fonts that can be “organized” within the Silhouette Studio software.
Fonts from outside locations are pulled from your C: drive on your computer fonts folder. Messing with the file organization of this folder can mess with other programs on your computer as other software pulls from the same folder. I do not recommend messing with this organization of the C: Fonts Folder.
However, I do keep the original font files on my external hard drive in a folder so I always have the original copies. This way when I get a new computer, I can easily plug in my external hard drive and install the fonts on a new computer.
I do keep my own sort of organization to keep track of what fonts I have for personal use versus commercial use and how I know which ones I’ve installed on my computer. So I’ll share those methods that work for me.
Commercial Use vs Personal Use
For more information on the difference, I’d recommend checking out this post by Cutting for Business on Understanding Licenses on Cutting File, Designs, and Font.
For my organization only, I have 2 main folders for Fonts – CU (commercial use) and PU (personal use). This way I can easily search the folder for a font name to determine if I have the rights to use it for what I want.
Then I will organize it by store or designer within that folder. But, I know that I can easily open that folder, use the search feature in the folder, and type in a font name to verify that I do have the CU license if needed.
However, over the years of collecting fonts, I’ve decided that for my own use, I only download Commercial Use fonts now. (Unless I really, really like a font that is personal use only.) But for my work flow, I know if I need a font, I will generally need it to have a Commercial Use option. You can go “font crazy” and as you work with projects more and more, you will find you don’t always need to grab every single font. Keep in mind that the more fonts installed on your computer fonts folder, it takes up more space and takes longer for software programs to load all those fonts.
I only recommend downloading and installing the fonts that you know you will use.
Again, these are just tips I’ve picked up over the years that work for me. I know that having too many fonts installed not only slows my computer/software down, but it also slows me down in the design process as I’m weeding through font choices to pick just the right one. Over the years of my Silhouette journey, I’ve started being selective and only downloading a font I know I will use for future projects.
How do I know which fonts I’ve installed?
When I get new fonts, I may not install them right away unless I am using them immediately. Sometimes I get a big bundle and I am grabbing it while it’s on sale, but I don’t necessarily need it right away.
I do not unzip the font until I am ready to install it. This way I can easily see which fonts I have already installed on my system and which ones I haven’t.
Once I have unzipped the font, I install it and then delete the zipped folder.
This system works for me and my work flow. Personally I like to have the original copies of my font files. I have had several new computers over the years and having all my fonts in one location makes it easy for transferring those over. I have tried the copy and paste of the C: drive fonts folder from one computer to another and it doesn’t always work.
For more information on installing fonts, check out this tutorial
Let’s Explore v4 – Installing Fonts
However, you decide to organize your digital Silhouette supplies, do what works best for YOU!
Hopefully, sharing my methods, while they aren’t anything special, may have given you some ideas how you can organize in a way that works best for you!
If you decide to move things around in your organization, I would highly recommend making a backup of the storage device before and again after you organize. Just in case, you don’t want any time spent organizing to be lost.
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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