©2015 by Donald R. Snow
Sections of the Class Notes This page was last updated 2015-10-06.
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  1. Instructors are Donald R. Snow ( ) of Provo and St. George, Utah and Linda Snow Westover ( ) of Orem, Utah.
  2. These notes are posted on .
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  4. The problem:  How to save and name files on your computer so you can find them easily and they form interactive timelines for people.

  6. Scans and screenshots are pictures you make of documents, text, images, or things on your computer screen, that you want to keep for any reason.
  7. FHC's have good machines to scan hard copy documents and photographs, so you don't have to own a scanner yourself
    1. Good freeware program for screenshots --  Note: versions AFTER 5.3 are not free 
    2. Download version 5.3 from several websites, e.g.
    3. Will also run from a flash drive, so you can use it at a FHC or library and bring the screenshots home on your flash drive
    4. Has several capture options, including capturing the entire scrolling window -- other screen capture programs don't do this
  9. Screenshots you make are not text-searchable, but you can save them as pdf and use the freeware  PDF-XCHANGE EDITOR (VIEWER)  to make it searchable by OCR (Optical Character Recognition) -- 

  11. Goal in naming files is so you can find items easily and they sort in chronological order -- takes time for labeling, but saves you time later
  12. First problem is finding all files on your computer about a person since you probably didn't use a systematic naming pattern before
    1. Use the freeware program EVERYTHING -- -- and search your computer with keywords and combinations that might be in the file names -- EVERYTHING finds them anywhere on your computer
    2. You can rename the files right in EVERYTHING or else highlight and drag them to a separate folder in Windows Explorer to rename them
    3. Sometimes helpful to eliminate duplicates before you start relabeling, but you may not know they are duplicates until renamed and they sort together 
    4. If they are in a separate folder you can run a duplicate file finder program on it, e.g. Duplicate Cleaner Free -- -- but it is sometimes simpler to rename and see them sorted together before deciding which to delete
  13. Renaming files 
    1. Can rename any file in EVERYTHING by highlighting it and right-clicking -- may need to open the file to see its contents to know what to rename it
    2. Windows Explorer has a panel to see the contents and rename files without opening them -- click on View Panel (upper right corner) and highlight any file to see its contents; can then rename it without opening it; saves lots of key strokes
    3. With files in a single folder you can use programs like BULK RENAME UTILITY -- -- to enter prefixes and replace parts of file names in whole groups of files at once


  14. Example of my file naming system for documents and portraits -- ManwaringDiane(Snow)(1934-2012)-2012-10-13-Obituary-SaltLakeDeseretNews-Ancestry-com--2014-04-10.pdf
  15. File name:  "SurnameGivenNames(Married name)(birth year-death year)-(Event date YYYY-MM-DD)-Event-Description-Source--DateScannedOrScreenshot.ext"
    1. SurnameGivenNames at start makes these sort together for each person 
    2. Maiden name of woman allows all files before and after marriage to sort together; married name in parentheses helps identify who she is at a glance
    3. Birth and death years makes time period clear and distinguishes people with same name -- no need for Jr., Sr., etc.
    4. Event date in International Date Format YYYY-MM-DD makes files sort chronologically in EVERYTHING (see below) and automatically gives you an interactive timeline -- putting the date anywhere else in the title would not make items alphabetize for the person chronologically
    5. Keywords for event shows what the file pertains to and helps when searching later -- some key words I use:  Birth, Marriage, Death, News, LDS, Doc, School, Census, Portrait, Letter, Medical, Directory, Military, Audio, Talk; can use as many keywords as you want
    6. If file pertains to entire life, I put the keywords like History, Pedigree, and Biography after the name, but before the date, so these all sort together after the timeline files
    7. I don't leave spaces in file names since some programs put other characters in empty spaces and make them harder to read
    8. Files renamed this way jump right to where they belong in the list in EVERYTHING without you having to move them
  16. Can keep these files in one folder or scattered in many folders and EVERYTHING still shows them in order -- see below
  17. For other types of files I use a code at the start, e.g. LTR- for a letter, PHT- for a photo, ORD- for an order, etc. -- could spell the words out completely with no abbreviations, but shorter code gives me more space for the rest of the title

  19. The above system could be used for photos, but having too many photos clutters up the timeline for a person
  20. Example of my naming system for photos (other than portraits) -- PHT-2004-01-20-10h23m16s--DianeManwaringSnow(1931-2012)&DonaldRaySnow(1960-)InBarbadosArchives--P1200004.JPG
  21. All photo originals are kept in a folder by year they were taken with the name the camera put on them, e.g. IMG2456.jpg, so I can find the original, if I ever need it
  22. Copies of the photos are put in folders by year they were taken and then renamed as follows:
    1. Freeware program NAMEXIF -- -- extracts from the file metadata the date and time the photo was taken and puts it in International Date Format in front of camera's name of photo:  YYYY-MM-DD-HHh-MMm-SSs--[camera name of file] for date and time
    2. Freeware program BULK RENAME UTILITY -- -- adds PHT- (for photo) at front of name
    3. I put description of people and event in the name after date and time, i.e.  YYYY-MM-DD-HHh-MMm-SSs--[DescriptiveWords]--[camera name of photo].ext
    4. For scanned photos and slides you have to enter the date yourself since their metadata has the scanned date, not the date the photo was taken
  23. Photos named this way jump to chronological order in EVERYTHING (see below) and put pictures of same event together regardless of the camera -- date and time must be set correctly on each camera or else you have to modify them yourself in the name 
  24. With this naming it is easy to find photos by date, names, or events; if I haven't entered the details in the photo name yet, I can still find them by looking in my appointment books to find the date I was at that location and then search for that date using EVERYTHING
  25. PICASA and other programs help in organizing photos since they do facial recognition, but results are stored in a separate file and don't transfer with the photos, though PICASA now has a way to enter some information in the metadata

  27. Freeware program EVERYTHING -- -- makes searching for files quick and easy no matter where they are on your computer, if they have appropriate names
  28. To search with EVERYTHING
    1. Click Open New Search Window -- can open as many copies as you want, e.g. you could have one for a person's timeline and another for the photos of that person
    2. Search syntax for EVERYTHING:  space = AND, | ("pipe") = OR, ! = NOT, < > = grouping, " " = exact phrase
    3. For a timeline enter person's name as above -- result will be a chronological timeline of the person's life since date in International Date Format makes them sort chronologically -- timeline of file names is interactive since you can click on any file to open it and show contents, e.g. a certificate or newspaper article 
    4. To see list of particular types of items for a person, such as School or News, add these terms as keywords in search terms; you get chronological list of just those items -- very helpful if writing a book about person and you need information about particular events, e.g. military service or education
    5. To get photos for the person enter person's name and PHT -- photos are listed in chronological order for the person
    6. Can do screenshots or text files of such directory lists to have timelines for that person
    7. If you notice misspellings, etc., you can rename files right in EVERYTHING and they jump to where they belong in the list
    8. Once you see what makes the system work you can modify parts of it the way you want
    9. To show political, geographical, religious, and other major events, you could include simple additional files from a timeline such as  named so they sort chronologically with your other files 
  29. Files named this way and placed in a separate folder will sort chronologically without using EVERYTHING -- easy to move files to a separate folder by highlighting them in EVERYTHING and moving them to a folder in Windows Explorer; they will still be listed in EVERYTHING, but their paths will all be changed; if you copy, rather than move them to another folder, they will show up duplicated in EVERYTHING 
  30. This process handles an unlimited number of files and they automatically jump to where they belong, as soon as you name them with the pattern
  31. Can copy the files to CDs or DVDs and these would be interactive timelines with all the documents, etc.

  33. The crucial parts of this system are  (1) the file naming, and  (2) using a program to find and sort them; renaming takes time, but is worth it and allows you to see the person's life in interactive chronological sequence 
  34. The freeware program EVERYTHING is extremely useful for this and many other things and I use it many times every day.

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