How to archive documents

Knowing how to archive documents is essential to an efficient workflow. Think about it; you work hard to create the documents your organization needs to be effective. Why risk losing that hard work? Archives ensure that you can recover any lost documents, and make it easier to track the specific details of your project the next time you work on it.

Here are a few tips for creating an effective archive for your documents.

  • Create a readme file and store it with your project files. The readme should also be archived along with the rest of the project. Readme files should contain essential details, such as the working path, a list of files in the project, notes from the last person who worked on the project, when the document was last delivered and archived, and so on. This readme file will be essential if another writer picks up the project, or if you return to the project at a later date. Detailed notes will save you a lot of time and grief.
  • Schedule your backup process, and automate it. That way your backups will be reliable even if everyone working on the documents isn't familiar with how to archive documents according to your conventions. Use the scheduled tasks features in your operating system to launch scripts that will automatically backup your files on a regular basis.
  • Zip your files. Compacting the project archive will reduce the amount of space your backups require, and make it faster to copy or move the files, if necessary. Use tools such as WinZip or 7zip, or the built-in compression tools in recent versions of Windows and other operating systems.
  • Put your document archives on both a network drive (to take advantage of scheduled server backups), and on physical media, such as a CD or DVD. It's better to me cautious than to lose important project files and regret it.
  • Whether or not you compact (zip) your files when you archive them, be sure to maintain the folder structure. That way everything is in the correct place when you pull down the document files for the next update.

By following careful archiving procedures, you can decrease the risk of losing your files and make your workflow more efficient.

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