|Create folders to make a logical filing system
|Here's that Save As dialog box from the page
about file hierarchy, which we said asked 14 questions. In
the speech-bubbles are just a few of the questions that are being
|When you first save a file, Windows and the program
you are using will come up with a default name, file extension
and location for your file. Never assume that it knows
as well as you do what you want to do.
So, before pressing "OK" or "Save", ask three questions:
Location, filename, format - the Mirror, Signal, Manoevre
of file saving.
- Is it being saved in the correct location?
- Is the filename correct? (probably not)
- Is it being saved in the correct format? (probably)
Look at the top of the dialog box: this tells you
about the location of the file you are about to save.
When you go to save a file, the location which
automatically appears in the top window (in this case "web_it_skills")
will be either the last place that you saved something
in this particular program, or the program's default location.
That default location can often be set by you, but more of that
in setting options and preferences.
Web_it_skills may be an appropriate place
to put the document I am typing now, but what if you had borrowed
my computer in the lunch-hour and written a letter to your
share dealer ? I wouldn't want it in my web folder thank you very
much, nor would you think of looking there if you had lost it.
To select a different location, we need a quick
glance at where web_it_skills fits into the computer's folder
hierarchy. To do this, we can take a wide-angled look at the computer,
or go step-by-step up and down the hierarchical levels.
The wide-angle view
Throughout Windows, a downward-pointing arrow at
the right hand side of a box denotes a pull down menu. Click on
the arrow at the right-hand end of the white box where the folder
"web_it_skills" is displayed, and you get this:
|Now you can see where in the hierarchy web_it_skills
is. Each level of hierarchy is indicated by a step inwards from
the left. In otherwords, things on the same vertical alignment are
at the same hierarchical level. Unlike Explorer (of which
more later) the pull-down menu shows doesn't indicate whether "RAD",
for example, contains more than just "Bphil". It only shows the
path to the file - like a family tree that only shows parental
relationships, not siblings.
If I now press select "RAD" with the mouse, I get
the view below. The folders you can see in the lower window
are all members, children, subfolders or subdirectories -
whatever you want to call them - of the current directory (folder)
|Open one of these by double clicking, and you will
go "down a generation" in the file hierarchy. Sometimes you
will get no subfolders, sometimes you will get many, depending on
the nature of the parent folder. Occasionally you will see
"loose" files floating around in amongst the other folders.
These are files which belong in the general category of the parent
folder, but have no specific subfolder to go into.
You may need to go up and down the hierarchy a
bit to find the folder that you want. This is where the
"go up one level" icon is useful.
when you know you are not too far away (in levels) from where you
want to be, the "up one level" option is usually preferable
to the "wide angled" view. You can concentrate on scanning
the lower window for the folder you want while the computer does
the job of moving one level at a time up the hierarchy as you click.
|To go down a level, you simply double click
on the folder that contains the child folders you need. If you get
it wrong, you simply go back up one level and try another folder.
Creating a new folder
|What if there isn't a folder that suits your particular
document? Then make one.
Find the piece of toast with a snowflake on it that
Bill Gates calls "create new folder"
And... no don't click on it yet. Remember,
the folder will be created WITHIN the folder that is displayed
in the "Save in" field. If you don't want it there, go up or down
in the hierarchy until you find the place that your folder really
Now that you're sure that your new folder will
be in the right place in the hierarchy, you can click on the "Create
New Folder" icon.
Highlighted in blue are the words "New Folder".
Give the new folder an appropriate name (otherwise you'll have
"New Folder" and "New Folder " "New Folder" all over the
still have a chance to rename it, by selecting it and pressing
the function key (top row of the keyboard above the numbers) F2
or bizarrely, by clicking it once, and then clicking it again
- not double clicking, but two single clicks at a leisurely pace.
I have left it as "New Folder" for no good reason at all, and
having anything on your computer called "New Folder" is bad practice.
The process is not over yet. Now, you must double-click
on the folder to open it in order to place your file in that folder.
Now you are ready to give your file a decent name,
and save it.
|Creating directory structure like this as you
work saves much cleaning and tidying later. It is especially
important when many people share the same computer. Firstly,
it means that files that need to be accessed by various users can
be found easily; secondly it means that you can put your files
where you can find them again, without having to sort through
Finding (or creating) a location for your file can
be a bit complicated. Choosing a filename isn't. Just
don't let Windows do it for you, otherwise you will get folders
full of things called doc1.doc, doc2.doc, doc3.doc and so on.
Most programs will fill in the file extension for
you. In other words, call a file "rabbit" and Word will
automatically put the .doc on the end for you. Annoyingly,
if you are a well-meaning soul and decide to fill in the
file extension, it will then call the document "rabbit.doc.doc".
Format is a big subject. For just about everything
you will do, the default setting of the particular program will
be right for you, so a discussion of this doesn't belong here,
it belongs in the section on FILE FORMATS.