File and Folder Naming Presets

by Micah Walter

Aperture comes packaged with a handful of very useful file and folder naming presets. These presets come in handy anytime you are exporting images, but they can also be helpful during import or if you are in the process of organizing a large archive of images.

To create your own custom file and folder naming presets simply go to the Aperture menu and select Presets and then select either File or Folder Naming. You will see a dialog box like the one in the image below.


Simply click the Plus sign to create a new preset and use the available variables to customize your naming convention. You can add additional text to the string, or a custom name field that will allow you to add the text on the fly just before you export your images.

The File Naming presets come in handy for me any time I want to send images to a client. My clients tend to each have their own standardized naming conventions, so having a set of custom presets for file naming can really save me time and help make sure I always get it right.

For instance, I created a custom file naming preset called "Client A" using the following string:


The first three letters are simply text that I added to the string to indicate my initials for my client. I use the Custom Name variable so that when I am about to export a set of images I can easily type in the shoot's title. Finally, I use the counter to number each shot. The resulting exported file name would look something like this:


With a custom preset I can easily save naming conventions for just about all of my individual client's needs.

I also like to use Folder Naming presets to help manage my library of over 80,000 master images. With Aperture's ability to store my files as referenced masters, I now have a responsibility to keep my master images neatly stored in folders outside the Aperture Library. To do this, my typical workflow is as follows:

I usually import the images from my camera's memory card into Aperture's managed library. Later, when I am at my desk, I use the Relocate Masters function to move my files from the managed Aperture library on my laptop to an external disk. When I do this, I select a preset to make sure that the files get organized into a meaningful folder structure on my disk.

Up until now I have been using the Year/Month/Day preset that came with Aperture. If I always use this preset, I can simply select the top level folder on my external drive and I can continue to add images as time goes on. Aperture simply creates new folders for each new month and day as needed.

However, on occasion I get asked to shoot more than one assignment in a day, and so I decided to create a new preset to give me the following folder structure:

Year/Month/Day/Project Name

By adding the Project Name variable I can differentiate between the two assignments and make sure that their master files get stored in separate subfolders.

For more information about renaming files check out Ben Long's blog post here. Ben points out a neat trick that will save you time if you are trying to rename a large batch of files that already exist in your Aperture library.

The fact is, with Aperture you really don't need to worry too much about how your referenced masters get organized on your disk. Aperture will certainly keep tabs on where each file physically exists. However, if you are using additional software to make backups of your referenced masters, or if you want to burn your files to DVD with a separate program like Toast, having them neatly organized can come in really handy. Especially if you are handing these files off to a client or friend who hasn't yet realized the power of Aperture!


2007-04-17 15:32:52
Very interesting article, Micah. I'd like to export images with an all lowercase version of the Master filename. Any suggestions how I can force lowercase directly from Aperture?