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I'm a UX developer and have 1000s of icons, ui designs and ui parts and the like and would like to better organize them. Currently I have them in well marked folders such as:

  • icons-currency
  • icons-globes
  • ui-forms
  • ui-navigation-tabs
  • ui-scrollbars

I'm not happy with this method and am leaning more towards tagging individual graphics as opposed to putting into different directories. I think tagging will allow me to more easily "cross-pollinate" different ideas (meaning that I things won't be so rigidly separated).

In case it matters I work with Windows (as I suppose you got from my use of directories instead of folders).

I've looked at Adobe Bridge and it seems close to what I'm thinking about. Ideally I would like to be able to work on an icon or idea and keep it in the project working directory and tag it so I can find it easily later.

How do you keep your 1000s of icons, completed projects and ideas organized?

EDIT:

I have no problem finding things when I'm looking for something I know. Example: looking for scrollbars I go to UX-Scrollbars. (no problem)

But there are many times I'm looking for something less clear than a specific UX attribute, something that (1) I can barely picture in my mind; or (2)something that was part of a screenshot and saved elsewhere.

I will look more at Windows tagging. When I tried it a while back the "tag" wasn't automatically part of the search box.

EDIT 2:

WOW - I played with tags a while ago and didn't find as useful as I wanted. This seems to work well in addition to folders. It's not as user friendly as I would want ... but too bad. It works. The one last thing I will have to check is to see if the tags stay with the file as I move them to another computer.

The tags do stay with the file. It works! Ugly, but works.

EDIT 3:

As a follow-up tagging does not work on .gifs or .pngs.

You cannot store tags to .GIF files because metadata was not included in the standard for the CompuServe Graphics Interchange Format. You could theoretically store tags to .PNG files because a lot of versatility was written into the Portable Network Graphics format, but to date no single standard for storing metadata to PNGs has arisen. http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/forum/windows_7-pictures/tagging-png-and-gif-files/67f74612-3ea0-4d59-a0b8-dfbc648805fd

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What I do:

Use lots and lots of subfolders.

It's a little cumbersome to navigate to, but instead of just using one folder for about 5 sub-categories, place folders within folders like this:

UI> Forms UI> Navigation> Tabs UI> Scrollbars>scrollbar.png

Also, it is dramatically easier to find files if you use tags. I assume you didn't notice this, neither did I until I looked it up. Here's a little tutorial:

http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/windows-and-office/tag-your-files-for-easier-searches-in-windows-7/

If you are using Windows 8, tags are a lot better because the built in search is way faster than 7. If you use lots of tags, this process is really great.

If you really want to use a 3rd party file manager, you can go with Bridge, but I find it hard to recommend unless you need something really powerful.

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