Lesson 19: Saving Your Files

I find that I have neglected giving a full explanation of how to save your files, and what file types you should be using. This will be a short lesson, and some of it may seem very elementary to you. But I wanted to cover my bases on this one. Sometimes I assume people understand something, but it's just a piece that's missing in their knowledge base.

First of all, you need to understand different file types. When you save a file in a certain program, that program has it's DEFAULT setting--what it will automatically save it as if you don't change it. For instance, if you save a file in Microsoft Word, it will be saved as a .doc file. (or .docx if you have Office 2007.) If you save an Excel file, it's a .xls file. In Photoshop, it will save as a .psd file. Usually, these files can ONLY be opened in the program that you created it in. You can't open a .psd Photoshop in Word, for example.

This fact is very important when digital scrapbooking. When you choose to save, you can pull down a menu where you can change what type of file you are saving it as.

PSD - In Photoshop, as long as the file is a .psd file, you can go back and change it. Your layers will stay there. When you open the file, you can see all your layers and you can delete and add to your heart's content. BUT--.psd files are HUGE. They take up a lot of space. Plus, if you are uploading it to a website for printing, they don't accept .psd files.

JPG - A JPEG is another file type. You can see it on the pull down menu shown above. When you save your file as a JPEG, you are basically flattening the image. When you open it again in Photoshop, you will not be able to see your layers. It's now one flat picture and you can't make changes. It's also a smaller file. You want to save your files as JPG's so you can upload them.

DON'T DELETE YOUR PSD FILES!!! When I finish creating a page, I save it as a .psd file. Then I save it AGAIN, usually in another folder, as a .jpg. I keep both copies. Often I'll upload my .jpg for printing, and then notice a spelling error or maybe my margins are too narrow and my text is going to fall off the page. I might need to go back to my original .psd file, make some changes, then resave as a .psd and a .jpg and reload. That's why I don't delete my .psd's.

After I print a book and I'm sure its fine and there's no going back--only THEN do I delete my .psd files. But I keep my .jpgs forever. You never know when you might need it.

PNG - This is another file type you might want to become familiar with. You'll notice that when you download a kit, the files are all .png's and not the other two. The reason for this is TRANSPARENCY. JPG's don't support transparency, and PNG's do. Whenever you see a checkerboard background like this, that means the background is transparent. When you pull the flower into your document, you won't get a white background with it. So, if you ever create your own elements (like I created this one), make sure to save it as a .png file. If you save it as a .jpg, you will get an ugly white background that you have to delete out.

PDF - Another cool thing about Photoshop is the ability to save your files as a .PDF. You are probably famliar with this format. PDF files can be opened by pretty much anyone, so long as they have Adobe--which is standard for most computers. Its a good way to give out a file that you want to be unchangeable, and can be opened by anyone. So, for example, when I create a freebie template--like the box freebies I have here on my blog, I save it as a .pdf. Then even if you don't have Photoshop, you can still open it and print it. But you don't have access to the individual elements of the kit that I used. I've also used it when I created the program for our school play. Knowing that Kinko's would open the file with Photoshop, I knew that the fonts I had used they probably wouldn't have. So I flatten the image and then save them all as .pdf's. This way there's no way the fonts or anything else can be messed up when opened on another computer by someone else. One year I didn't do that, and the program didn't turn out right at all! I was so upset!

ZIP & RAR - The last types of file I want to point out is ZIP files and RAR files. I would hope by now you've figured out what ZIPS are--it's pretty necessary for digital scrapbooking! Because the files in a kit are so large, when you buy a new kit, it's usually in zip form. You have to UNZIP the file. You do this by downloading a free coy of Winzip. You might also come across a program called Winrar. I can't really tell you the difference--it does pretty much the same thing. I have both winzip and winrar on my computer. .RAR files are also zipped, and also have a free program download.I find I prefer winrar because it doesn't ask you do register as often. (Both programs are shareware--you can only download them for a while before they will start asking for a registration code. I just download it again.)
When you want to unzip a .zip or .rar file, just right click on the file. Then click on Extract to Here. It will then extract the whole contents of the .zip file into the current folder. It's that easy. You can even highlight several zipped files and unzip them all at the same time.

As a side note, I keep all my zip files. I usuall create another folder within the kit that is called "zips." I do this so that if I need to transfer the kit to another comptuer (I use my kits on three different computers--home, work, and laptop) I can easily just transfer the small zip files and then unzip them again.

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