Data Filing 101: Digitizing, Organizing and Storing Data


Many of us have filing cabinets full of receipts, business cards and other paper documents that we’d like to trash, but we’re concerned that we may need them again at a later date. Similarly, our computers and other devices are often full of image, music and data files that have been stored randomly, without much thought given to their organization. If you’re inundated with clutter of both the physical and virtual kind, implementing a digital filing and storage system can help you reign in the chaos and restore order to your life.

Digitize Your Paper Documents
Paperless filing is gaining popularity as a way to save important information and reduce clutter. A variety of desktop scanners are available to help you transform paper documents into high-quality digital images that can be stored and accessed electronically. These tools are often bundled with software that provides added functionality. Capabilities may include scanning multipage documents of different sizes to a specific file format, printer or application (i.e., email). Some scanners can even send documents directly to a USB drive or Android™ smartphone or tablet.

One paperless filing solution on the cutting edge is the NeatDesk® scanner, which can be used to capture, identify, extract and organize key information from scanned documents. For example, this technology can extract data from your receipts to help you complete expense reports and compile contact information from scanned business cards to create searchable databases.

Organize Your Digital Data
Going paperless can save time and resources, but in order to reap the full rewards, you’ll need a system for organizing your digital data. Simply saving files to your computer’s desktop is not ideal because it can be difficult to find specific items quickly as your desktop becomes cluttered with more and more icons. Electronic files should be categorized and filed in appropriately labeled folders for maximum efficiency.

It’s also wise to develop a consistent naming convention for your files and folders. This makes it easier to sort and organize documents alphabetically, numerically or chronologically. Below are a few tips for naming your files effectively:

  • Be specific. Rather than naming a PowerPoint® file “Presentation,” choose something more descriptive such as “East Coast Sales Meeting Presentation.”
  • Add dates at the beginning of your folder and file names for chronological sorts, e.g., “2013 East Coast Sales Meeting Presentation.”
  • If you want a file or folder to appear first in an alphabetical list, add an exclamation point (!), a zero (0) or the letters “AA” to the beginning of its name, e.g., “!2013 East Coast Sales Meeting Presentation.”
  • Include the initials of the last person to edit the file if multiple versions are circulated, e.g., “2013 East Coast Sales Meeting Presentation-DG.”

Backup and Store Your Digital Information
It is recommended that you back up your digital data to another storage medium at least once a week to ensure that important information remains accessible and safe in a separate location. There are many data backup and digital storage solutions from which to choose:

  • USB Flash Drives

    While USB flash drives are small in size, they typically contain from 8GB to 32GB of storage space, making them a highly portable option for storing photos, documents and other files.

  • External Hard Drives

    External hard drives are typically about the size of a small book and offer up to 1TB (1 terabyte = 1,000 gigabytes) or more of storage space. This makes them ideal for storing and transporting large music and image collections, HD videos and more. In addition, many include software that can back up your data automatically. 

  • Network Storage

    Network storage provides a central location where computers on a local area network can store, access and share data. Networks are most common in business settings, however if your home computers are networked, this type of storage is a natural choice.

  • Cloud Storage

    Cloud storage services offer an even more robust option for data storage and retrieval. Data located “in the cloud” is stored on a network of public servers accessible via the Internet. Services are available from a host of providers — typically for a monthly fee — and usually include the ability to back up data from all of your devices automatically.

  • Personal Cloud Storage
    For a powerful storage solution without the monthly charges, Western Digital’s My Book® Live™ enables you to build your own cloud storage on a personal network, as opposed to a public server. This device connects to your wireless router to provide shared personal cloud storage and wireless backup for all the computers on your home network. In addition, you can access your files remotely via the Internet or specialized mobile apps.

Start Your Digital Organization Project at Office Depot
As you can see, filing and storing data electronically can help you tame information overload and ensure that all your information is safe, accessible and easy to find whenever you need it. To get started with your digital organization project, check out Office Depot’s paperless filing and data storage solutions today!

All content provided herein is for educational purposes only. It is provided “as is” and neither the author, publisher nor Triad Digital Media, LLC d/b/a Triad Retail Media warrant the accuracy of the information provided, nor do they assume any responsibility for errors, omissions or contrary interpretation of the subject matter herein.

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