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September 04, 2019

Tips for Tidying Your Cloud Storage Tool

Across the Formstack platform, we’re always looking for new ways to keep our customers productive. In case you missed it, we launched a cloud-storage tool, Stash by Formstack, earlier this year aimed at helping users organize and store their merged files. 

Since how you manage your files is intrinsically linked to your productivity, we’d like to share a few tips on keeping your files organized. Here’s how you can create an instantly searchable resource for teams working on concurrent projects with Stash by Formstack. 
 

Develop naming conventions for files and folders

With Stash, you have access to unlimited users! This is great for ensuring your team has access to the files they need to get their work done. You never have to worry about sending documents over email where they can be easily lost, misplaced, or overlooked. However, with multiple users creating folders and uploading files, things can get a little chaotic. Stay on top of account organization by outlining naming conventions users should follow when storing and sorting files. Not only will this keep things organized, but standardized naming conventions makes your files a lot easier to search.
Get started by breaking this process down into two parts: initial folder setup and file naming. 
 
Create a folder hierarchy
Imagine you were adding folders to a filing cabinet. You wouldn’t just start tossing files in carelessly. You’d never be able to find things when you need them. Similarly, you wouldn’t want everyone locking files in their own personal filing cabinet so other team members can’t access them when needed. These same principles apply to your cloud-storage folder structure. 

While there’s no perfect folder structure that fits every business, there are a few best practices you can use to ensure your system reflects how your business and employees work. First, you want to encourage your staff to use your system by outlining structure guidelines clearly and making them easy to follow. Your hierarchy needs to give every file a logical home so nothing gets lost and things are easy to find. 

We suggest starting off with 5 - 10 primary folders that are categorized in a way that makes sense to your business. These categories could include: 
Department
Product
Project
Date

Under these folders, you’ll need to create subfolders. If you decided to organize your folder by date, for example, your folder structure might look something like this: 

 

Document naming 

Now that you’ve established your folder hierarchy, you need to title the documents being added to those folders. There’s a lot of advice on the internet about how your should name your documents, especially when you have multiple users editing and reuploading multiple versions of the same file. With Stash, you have access to features like in app editing and commenting, document activity tracking, and version history. This means you’ll never need to include version tracking in your file name. How you name files will ultimately be unique to your organization, but here’s a general outline to get you started: 

yymmdd_Project-Name_Last-Name.filetype

In practice, this might look like:
 
20190830_Q4Budget-Overview_Jackson.xlsx

There are a few things to keep in mind when you’re outlining your naming conventions. If you’re using abbreviations, make sure they are meaningful and easy to understand. Find the balance between length and clarity. Too few components in your naming convention can create ambiguity. Document your convention clearly so everyone knows what it is and how to follow it. Naming conventions easily fall apart if not followed consistently.  

Create permissions 

Not only does Stash by Formstack give you access to unlimited users, but unlimited storage space as well! But with great power comes great responsibility. That’s why we let users create permissions. With permissions, you can give your staff the ability to view files, but not create them. Limiting the number of people with the ability to add files can keep your space simple and organized. 

Stash lets you customize access settings for each of your users. Simply navigate to the “Users” tab, and select the user who’s permissions you’d like to update. 



Following these steps will set you on the path to an organized cloud storage space. It doesn’t take much to get started. The real challenge is maintaining your space. If you’re looking for a way to automatically sort and store your files, look no further! Stash by Formstack has the features you need to keep every member of your team in the loop. Find out for yourself by starting a free trial today
 
 

5 min read

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