How I organize my digital layouts

I do almost all of my scrapbooking digitally these days with the exception of SMASH Books , a creative planner, and a few little hybrid paper projects. That means that I store digital copies of each page in my files so it's important that I keep them organized.

One of my favorite things about digital scrapbooking is that I can keep a copy of each page I create stored so I can print or share it any time. I also keep the original layered files (TIFF or PSD) so I can easily edit a layout if I find a typo or need to add something. I almost never go back and do that - but it's so nice to have the peace of mind! 

Creating files to keep

  • Every time I finish a digital layout on my computer, I save it as a layered file in Photoshop Elements. I prefer to use TIFF format because the layers are saved, but it takes us less room than a PSD. It's also viewable as an image in Windows folders. For more information on this, check out this post with video tutorials. 
  • After my layered file is saved, I also save the page as a full resolution JPEG image (maximum quality of 12). This is the format you use to send pages to a printer (home or professional) and to share online.
  • If I'm going to share layouts online, I will also save them at a reduced resolution (typically 500 px for galleries). I do have a way to cheat to get my lower resolution layouts - once I upload the full size layout to Flickr (which I keep marked private), I just open up my page in Flickr and click on the bottom right side arrow and it pops up a screen to choose download sizes. There are a variety to choose from. So easy!
  • I don't permanently store the low resolution layouts on my computer. I usually just keep them in my download file until I've posted them. I know I can get a copy anytime from Flickr or by opening the high resolution file in Photoshop Elements. I only worry about storing the original layered fill and the full size resolution JPEG.
  • For layouts created in the Project Life app, I just store the JPEG on my computer. I try to keep the originals on my phone until I have printed them out and made sure there are not errors. 


Storing layouts in my files:

I handle this process the same way as I store my photos. I have subfolders within each year of photos just for my layouts. Here are some screen shots using the year 2012 as an example because I have finished all my pages for that year and had them printed in a photobook. 

I have a separate file for my travel layouts since I put them into a different photobook. I also have a separate folder for my TIFF file layouts. I don't worry about organizing those since I rarely use them. I can just open up the folder and find what I'm looking for if I need it. As far as my JPEG layout images go, I get pretty OCD about how I name them so I can see where the "holes" are and keep things in order. This is also very helpful when planning a photobook or album that has a limited number of pages because you can keep track of how many layouts you need to fill the book.

Basically, I name the pages by month and then how I want them ordered within that month. I'm generally a chronological scrapbooker and that's what works for me.

It's easy to use a numbered format for layouts that are not organized by month and I do that with my mixed media art journaling pages. Whatever naming system works best for you is the right one. I just encourage you to stay with a consistent pattern so you can find your layouts when you go looking for them.

Planning what still needs to be scrapped:

Within my yearly photobook file, I have a subfolder called "to be scrapped" and that contains more subfolders organized by month (or category). I put the finished layouts in those folders until I'm sure how I want to organize the full year. Then I can see what has been done and what has not been done.

Ideally, at the end of the month I sort the photos I want to scrap and copy them to the related folder. Truthfully, I just finally did this for all of 2015 when I was on a recent vacation. Most of my years are not this organized so don't think I'm too on top of it. lol!

Not that into folders?

I know the folder thing isn't for everyone and that's ok. Sometimes it takes me awhile to get everything filed that way and for many years I didn't use this system. I found it really difficult to figure out what layouts went where once I was ready to print. The problem is that I wasn't naming them in any consistent way. They would often have the name of the template in the file name or just something I used to keep track of what I was working on at the time like "layout for Daily Digi article". Not very helpful to me or anyone who might want to access my layouts someday (like my children). As you can see, this isn't a very useful system!

Now I always make it a point to name the file with at least the year relating to the photos or something that will help me identify where it will go in my albums. Remember, if you try to sort digital layouts by date, it will sort by the date created - not by the date of the photos.Even if you don't like organizing, it's worth spending a little extra thought and time when it comes to naming your layouts!