Hi, I'm Shawnna

I create graphics and design resources for bloggers, crafters and biz owners; providing a fun girly style for your brand or products, with a design-it-yourself approach for easy access and affordability.

When I'm not designing I'll be out walking the dogs, binging on Netflix or curled up with a good book.

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Digital Downloads

Troubleshooting guide for digital downloads by Lovelytocu

I'm often contacted for technical support on my digital downloads. Not for use of the files themselves, but for issues on accessing the folder contents, download errors or software compatibility. Usually, this comes from newbie users who simply aren't too familiar with the whole process of downloading files, but even the more seasoned user can run into niggly little tech problems.

So I've put together this helpful guide on the top most common issues that crop up for my own customers. This guide is also included with all downloads in my Terrific Templates shop because due to the types of files offered here the problems tend to crop up more often.

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What's Included Here:

1. Correctly unzipping file folders
2. Where and how to save downloaded files
3. File types and software compatibility
4. Corruption on download

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WHY UNZIP FOLDERS

Zipped folders are a digital standard for file delivery as zipping the folder allows multiple files to be transmitted together inside a single folder and at a smaller byte size.

The process of ‘zipping’ compresses the folder to make the overall folder size smaller, and in doing so the composition of the folder and its contents are changed. In this changed state, files may not work as expected or at all.

The action of ‘unzipping’ (or extracting as Windows refers to it) reverts the contents back to their original form. And so, it is absolutely necessary to fully and correctly unzip any folder before attempting to use the contents inside.

In recent versions of Microsoft operating systems, you are able to view the contents of a zipped folder, which can cause some confusion for unsuspecting users. Don’t be fooled by a zipped folder!

Here is what you should be looking for:

zip folder example

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HOW TO UNZIP FOLDERS

Regardless of what operating system or computer type you are using, the process of unzipping (extracting) should create a duplicate unzipped folder on your computer. (this may work differently on mobile devices depending on your app program)

The actual process differs a little bit depending on your device type and system but the end result is always the same. Once you have ‘unzipped’ your folder and you have that duplicate ‘unzipped version available… just delete the zipped version as you really don’t need it anymore (and it saves hard drive space to do so).

Not sure how to unzip a folder? This tutorial gives you the basics for each device type but if you need more detailed information or if your device or system isn’t listed, a quick google search for “how to unzip on a (fill in the blank)” will likely give you all the info you need and probably a YouTube video as well.

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SAVING FOLDERS

By default, most downloads will automatically be saved in a special “Downloads” folder on your PC. This works great, however, it’s not the best place to permanently store files that you wish to use.

Once you’ve unzipped your download it is best practice to save that folder elsewhere on your computer, such as your documents folder or even your desktop.

The reason for this is similar to the previous section on accessing zipped folders. For some reason, accessing files that are located in the downloads file can cause unexpected errors sometimes. The downloads folder seems to work a bit different from other folders and the issue crops up sporadically; and honestly, I have no idea why, but if my tech guy says “just save the files on your PC elsewhere, not in the downloads folder”, then that’s what I do. From experience, this does work out better.

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FILE TYPES

Knowing which file types work in what software is key to successfully working with any files you might download. My own products at Terrific Templates are offered in a variety of file types in order to provide all users with the tools they need for their projects. Depending on your skills and available software it’s likely that you will not need every file type offered.

This article explains the difference between a variety of file types and their purpose.

In order to use the files you’ve downloaded for editing or designing, you are going to need to open them in an appropriate software program for the relevant file type. (refer to my article link above to learn what each of the file types are in your download)

You may already have software on your computer that is up to the task for the project you have in mind but there are many free or inexpensive options to choose from if you don’t.

Here are a few choices depending on your skill level: MS Publisher, Powerpoint, Paint.net, Pixlr, PicMonkey, Photopea, Gimp, Inkscape, Photoshop Elements.

Each of these programs does require at least some editing knowledge to use them, and some are easier to learn than others. In all cases there are many tutorials available online.

When searching for a ‘how to’ tutorial I recommend doing a general search rather than focusing on the exact project you are working on.

For example; if you are trying to change the color of a shape in a planner sticker template, just search for “change shape color in Pixlr” instead of “edit planner sticker templates”.

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CORRUPTION ON DOWNLOAD

While this doesn’t happen very often, it certainly can happen. Files being transmitted over the internet do not always arrive at their destination in one piece. There’s no blame to place for this, it’s just the nature of how things work. Occasionally glitches happen.

If you suspect there is something seriously wrong with your download, or if the folder is empty, it’s likely that the transmission was interrupted or incomplete.

The best option, in this case, is to delete your first attempt and simply try again ensuring that you have a good strong internet connection while doing so.

While this may be frustrating, there’s not a whole lot anyone can do to prevent such a circumstance from happening. We are limited by the technology we have.

If an actual file corruption persists you can usually contact the site or seller of the file to get an emailed copy. I provide this as an option in my own shops, but only for actual file corruption situations.

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WHAT NEXT?

If you are still experiencing technical issues with my own files after going through all of the above, don’t hesitate to get in touch. I’m happy to assist.

Regardless of whose file you are having issues with, consider the following list of points before getting in touch. In order for anyone to provide you with technical support they are going to need a few basic pieces of info to get started.

1. Know your device type, operating system and the software you are trying to use if applicable, it really helps out with troubleshooting more specifically to your computer. If you don’t know this you can find the info on your PC by pressing the Windows logo key + R, type winver, then select OK.

2. Be prepared to send a screenshot of your entire screen showing the issue you are having. This way, they can see what you see, and there are no misunderstandings with terminology.

3. Be polite and patient. Yes, tech issues are frustrating. Sure, you have better things to do with your time, but these little technical issues are rarely anyone’s fault. Work together to find the solution.


Happy Crafting
Shawnna
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