Save Early, Save Often, and Don’t Forget This Last Designer Tip

designer tip

You’re sitting at your desk.  You just opened a new file, jumped into the thick of it, and feel really good about all the progress you just made.  You go to click your next tool and… nothing.  You frantically start clicking the button and try to hit save.  Your computer’s frozen, your last hour of work is burning through the screen in front of you, and you forgot to save…  We all know the pain.  I absolutely hate losing (any) work and that’s why I’ve developed these 3 habits.

designer tip

Designer Tip

Save Early.

It takes about 15 seconds to set your file name and save it in the right location.  I know you’re going a mile a minute, but this is one designer tip that you’ll be super thankful for if your computer ever freezes.  The first thing you should do after you open up a new document is save it.

Save Often.

I’ve developed the habit of pressing ctrl+s (command+s for you appleheads ;) ) compulsively.  Whenever I get up from my desk, I hit it.  Whenever I put a check next to a task, I hit it.  And whenever the phone rings, I hit it.  Seeing that save icon gives me huge relief because I know I just set a check-point and I’m safe.


This is last designer tip is certainly underutilized but I’m a huge proponent of it.  Every two weeks or so, I’ll make a copy of my files and throw them into a folder with the days date.  That way if my file ever gets corrupt or I realize I need something from an older version, I can go grab it.  I’ve learned archiving is also great if there’s ever a major change in a project.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been given the direction to change something only to go back to the original a month later.  Make sure you have that handy in event that happens.

Throwing your file into a folder is great practice, but I don’t like to rely solely on one place to house all my information (maybe I’m a little paranoid).  At project milestones I’ll throw some files up on dropbox, or google drive.  I also made sure to invest in a solid state drive (SSD) so my files will be around for as long as I will be.  I have the Corsair SSD in my computer and I love it. It makes everything load super quick, and I sleep easy at night knowing my stuffs on a SSD and not a hard drive.  I’ll leave that technical stuff for the experts though.

Do you have your own designer tip or hack that you’d like to share?  Great!  Let everyone know in the comment section below!




  1. allstarcarpetandtiles June 24, 2019 at 10:31 am #

    Great tips. I’m bookmarking this page. Its a great resource to keep. Thanks for sharing.

  2. hamzakhan17826 May 19, 2019 at 7:16 am #

    Ok sure, I will follow your steps before going to do exams. I hope your article will help me more.

  3. karlmistos May 14, 2019 at 10:41 pm #

    Thanks for sharing this. I’ll definitely share this with my classmates at de la salle zobel.

  4. classboat01 October 17, 2018 at 7:37 am #

    Hello there and thanks for your information, I have certainly picked up allot new info from right your post. You are also provided information about best tips for exam,Which is very helpful to me and other people also.

  5. mikemoreno September 5, 2018 at 3:48 am #

    thank you very much, verry helpfull…

  6. jogesh12345 August 14, 2018 at 1:55 am #

    Very effective and informative article.Thanks for sharing such an important tutorial.

  7. FLMIMA August 11, 2018 at 9:20 pm #

    Really helpful website

  8. Rumi July 15, 2018 at 7:16 am #

    I feel very grateful that I read this. It is very helpful and very informative and I really learned a lot from it.

  9. RJennings April 28, 2018 at 6:12 pm #

    Thank you for this website. The practice questions are helpful.

  10. Scott March 22, 2018 at 1:50 pm #

    Taking this test on Saturday. Last 4.0 exam to complete for the trio, then on to 5.0. This site is my go-to place when organizing what materials I’ll be studying

  11. shozab January 30, 2018 at 2:22 pm #

    Hi , very good article.

    thanks for sharing, keep up the good work

  12. dyba January 27, 2018 at 1:08 am #

    Good advice. Best of luck to all!

  13. KendraShirley January 16, 2018 at 4:04 pm #

    This is my favorite site for practicing for my tests! Great advise and super helpful.

  14. reximagetrim January 16, 2018 at 10:37 am #

    Nice post to read. A complete guide that can help all of us.

  15. tylerstockholm December 17, 2017 at 9:37 pm #

    Nice one… very helpful! Thanks!!!

  16. Aartiwalvekar November 21, 2017 at 8:56 am #

    Nice post

  17. Aartiwalvekar October 9, 2017 at 9:45 pm #

    Great post!

  18. Tony August 30, 2017 at 7:07 am #

    In the NCARB ARE 5.0 handbook they reference Fundamentals of Building Construction: Materials and Methods in both of their example questions for cost estimating. Unfortunately there isn’t a specific chapter on cost estimating, it’s woven throughout the content.

  19. Spencer August 30, 2017 at 1:15 am #

    What is the best reference for cost estimating for PDD.

  20. Amy July 26, 2017 at 3:24 pm #

    Thanks! Great advice

  21. Tony June 29, 2017 at 7:23 am #

    Deciduous trees should only be used for shade (especially in temperate climates). Deciduous trees lose their leaves in the fall and will have little protection against wind in the winter when it is most needed. Likewise, the leafless trees allow solar heat gain in the winter when it is desired, and shade in the summer.

    Coniferous trees are only to be used to block wind and views. Since they don’t lose their needles, they work great for these two items year-round.

  22. Shahid Logan June 28, 2017 at 4:50 pm #

    Hello. My name is Shahid. This comment is for anyone who would like to reply. On the Siteplanning test. To block the wind, can you use a Deciduous tree or must you use a Coniferous tree?

  23. Mike January 4, 2017 at 11:04 am #

    Hi Tony,

    I need to take 5.0 PPD & PDD. Do you plan on posting notes such as “Caroline’s Notes” that you had posted for the various 4.0 exams for either of those sections? I found those notes to be some of the best resources in studying for the 4.0 sections. If so any idea when? Thanks

  24. Stephen October 17, 2016 at 9:30 pm #

    Hi Tony,
    Any updates on the SS exam ? If there’s an expected release date ? Thanks

  25. DesignerHacks October 4, 2016 at 12:11 pm #


    We are releasing practice exams for the SS exam later this fall.


  26. Paige October 4, 2016 at 11:34 am #

    Will you have SS questions on here at some point?

  27. Daniel September 9, 2016 at 8:47 am #

    Great post, very helpful with the lists of suggested materials, I just passed CDs in July and am taking PPP in November so I definitely needed the list.

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