Thursday, May 20, 2010

Supply Tracking – Part 1

Tracking digital scrapbooking supplies is almost equivalent to housekeeping. It isn’t something most people enjoy doing, but it is often necessary. In this series of tutorials, you will find some tips and tricks to make your digital housekeeping supply tracking a bit easier.

There are many benefits to keeping an inventory of the supplies you have purchased (or own) as well as keeping track of which supplies you use on a given layout or project. Here are a few that I can think of:

  • Prevent duplicate purchases
  • Give proper credit when posting to galleries or blogs
  • Give proper credit when submitting to magazines or other publications
  • Give proper credit when creating Digital Scrapbooking Supplies or working on a creative team
  • Easily determine what product was used on previous layout when you want to use the product again

The first thing I want to talk about is keeping track of supplies used on a layout. Even if you don’t post in online galleries or submit your layouts to magazines, there still may be times when you want to go back to a layout and figure out what products were used.

The first step in keeping track of layout supplies is creating ‘meaningful’ layer names. Instead of the generic ‘Layer 1, Layer 2’ names that Photoshop and PSE provide, use the layer names to note which product was used on that layer. There are many different ways to create meaningful layer names.

Manually rename the layer – In PSE or Photoshop, you can double click on a layer name and manually edit the name. In Photoshop, you can right click and select ‘Layer Properties’ then edit the name in the pop-up box. In PSE, you can right-click and select ‘Rename Layer’, then edit the layer name in the pop-up box.

This option is useful for tracking things like fonts, brushes, styles or actions.

File>Place – Both Photoshop and Photoshop Elements have the ‘Place’ option, found under the file menu. Using File>Place is an alternative to opening and moving items onto a layout. File>Place allows you to open one file at a time, places it on your layout and uses the file name as the layer name.

This option is handy if you are only adding one item to a layout, but can be slow and cumbersome if you are putting multiple items on a layout.

Rename Layer – To use this script, open a product then run the script. The file name is used to rename the top layer in the file. When the product is moved to a layout, the file name is moved with it.

This option works great for layered PSD files. When you run the script, it only gives the top layer a ‘meaningful’ name, which is adequate for supply tracking purposes. When the multiple layers of the PSD file are moved to the layout the new layer name moves with it.
(More detailed instructions available here)

Copy & Close – This script makes quick work of putting many items on a layout and gives them meaningful names. To use this script, you open multiple jpg or png files, run the script, and the files are all copied to your PSD layout and file names are used as layer names. The jpg or png files are also closed after being copied.

This option is my favorite, by far, for putting items on a layout. You can use any method to open the files – File>Open, Picasa, Bridge, etc. Then run the script and it does the work of putting the items on your layout, renaming the layers and closing the files. (More detailed instructions available here.)

Here is a short video of each of these methods:

(I am just starting to play with a program called Jing for making recordings. So, bear with me while I work through the ins and outs of using it and get better at making quality videos! :) If you want the MPG4 version, you can download it here. It is much clearer than the embedded version here.)

(Click to Play the video)

Hope this helps you on your way to neat and tidy supply tracking! Still to come…tips on using Supply Tracker to gather up all your new ‘meaningful’ layer names and how to easily convert the list into useful information.


  1. Thanks for showing the difference between copy and & Close and rename, very cool!

  2. This is FANTASTIC. With Sincere appreciation for this!