Once upon a time, the easiest way to transfer files from one computer to another was with a floppy disc. If you wanted to utilize the magic of the internet to transfer files you had to be crafty with FTP clients. FTP has remained the standard, but File Transfer Protocol has become much easier to work with. In addition, other options for file transfer have become available. No matter what method of file transfer you choose, here’s a few tips that can help you be more efficient across the board.
Before you assemble anything to send, you must know the capabilities of the recipient. Are you sending them files that they can work with? Graphics, text, and video file formats are relatively standard across all platforms today, however, it is wise to save in file formats that are common. For instance, save images as JPEGs. Another thing to keep an eye on at this stage is the size of your files. If you aren’t sending graphics for print, you don’t need to save them at 72ppi, which is the standard for web graphics. Select the lowest quality compression rate that suits your purposes when saving. The same goes for audio. Unless you are in the audio business, you can convert that WAV or AIFF to an MP3, and again choose the compression rate that suits your purposes.
Before you start, put everything you want to transfer into a single folder. Name this folder “File_Transfer” followed by the date (For example: “File_Transfer_9_28_12”). Within this folder make a secondary folder called “Support_Files.” In this folder, you should place any documents that the primary documents rely on for proper function. For instance, if you are sending a page layout, the “Support_Files” folder should contain the graphic elements and text sources. Naming related files similarly (starting with the same character or word) helps the receiving end associate the appropriate files together if something gets messed up later. Last, in the main “File_Transfer” folder, create a simple .txt file that lists the contents of the folder and any special instructions for the recipient.
Get Zippy With It
Now it’s time to SQUASH the little bugger. I’m talking about file compression. If your operating system is “tricked out” as it should be, usually you can just RIGHT-CLICK on your “File_Transfer” folder to open a dialog box with an archival option. This should suffice, but again check with the recipient. See if they prefer ZIP or RAR or any other format. Today, this is less often a problem than it used to be, but you never know who has an office computer made in 1996! I like to work with ISO. It functions like a virtual DVD!
Whether you’re using FTP, computing in the cloud, or even just emailing files, these tips should come in handy. By keeping the files small you save transfer time. By organizing the files you look professional and slick. By archiving the whole thing you save even more transfer time. Not everyone does it like this, but if everyone did life would be a piece of cake!
Sisily West writes for tech blogs where you can learn more about sharing large files with clients.