text-only cheat sheet

How you create, store and save files
depends on how they will be used.

Native Document types are editable documents containing layers and links. Natives can only be edited in the application in which they were created. Because it preserves all of the layers, a native document can be thought of as the ‘original.’ Here are some examples of native document extensions for Adobe software applications:

  • .PSD – Photoshop. Photo manipulation Application, also great for illustration (BITMAP)
  • .INDD – InDesign. Layout Application
  • .AI – Illustrator. For creating logos and graphics that need to be scalable (VECTOR)


Transfer files Can be opened by a much wider range of software applications. In most cases, files are not editable. If the native is the ‘original, then transfer files are ‘copies.’

  • TIFF Tagged Image File Format. Ideal for images that are meant to be edited and for scanning documents. If a tiff is not flattened, it can preserve layers.
  • JPEGJoint Photographic Expert Group. Lossy compressed file type, accommodates a large range of colors. Good for Photographs and because of its small file size it’s good for emailing images and web publishing. 
  • PDF – Portable Document Format. Supports embedded interactive buttons, videos, form fields, layers, hyperlinks and more interactive features as well as being Postscript compatible. Can contain more than one page image which makes it the go-to for multipage documents such as reports, forms and portfolios. PDFs can be locked using password protection. Uncompressed PDFs preserve layers, remain editable. 
  • PNGPortable Network Graphic. Supports lossless compression and transparency, RGB file type only – cannot save a CMYK image as a PNG.
  • EPSEncapsulated Postscript. Postscript compatible vector file, that does not support transparency. It preserves its layers and can be edited using Adobe Illustrator and other vector software applications
  • GIFGraphics Interchange Format. sometimes animated, second most popular file type to use on the web after the JPEG  (Supports fewer colors than JPEG) the smallest file type because it only supports 256 colors. Best suited for simple graphics, supports some transparency.


Compressed file types: lossy file vs. lossless

  • Lossless: preserves all image information but is a larger file size
  • Lossy: file size is significantly reduced by discarding image data. The compressed file is of lower quality than the original.


File naming tips: While most employers often have a naming structure in place that needs to be followed, it’s good to have your own structure for freelance and personal projects.

Include things like:

  • Name of Project
  • Size (letter, tabloid, 5x7)
  • Month and Year created
  • Version
  • Use dashes, underscores or camelCase as word separators

Do not include things like:

  • Special Characters
  • Random project names
  • Spaces


File Sizes:

  • Kilobyte
  • Megabyte
  • Gigabyte
  • Terabyte

1024 bytes = 1KB

1024 KB = 1 MB

1024 MB = 1 GB

1024 GB = 1 TB