This one is a really quick tip. File this one under the "No Crap, Who Doesn't Know that.." file if you already know this but I was surprised that I got a few emails asking what I was talking about when I mentioned creating custom file naming conventions and how that can be used to save time when using custom images sequences that I discussed in the last Aperture Quick Tip. So here it is… When exporting image versions from Aperture if you take a look at the dialog that pops up you will see a drop down menu tiled "Name Format" as one of the dialog options. There are a couple of predefined things to choose from. If you have never tried it try the last option "Edit..". As with the format drop down, the "Edit…" option allows you to modify existing or create new presets, these are just for the naming conventions. This is pretty cool because if you need a bunch of different formats and sizes and just one naming scheme you can use that custom naming scheme for as many different formats and sizes as you want.
The options when specifying or modifying a naming format are pretty much self explanatory. The only ones that are not obvious at first glance are the numbering related fields. In fact if I don't use them for a while I forget which one does what. For those of you adverse to experimentation the numbering fields to the following in plain english:
The "Sequence#" field just counts for a specific export batch but outputs the the image number within that export as well as the total number of items that are being exported - example being XXXXXXX 1 of 1312. The "Index #" field does the same thing but does not include the "of 1312" part, it just is a count that starts with one with the first image in the export batch and increments. The last and really cool number field that I use a whole lot is the unassuming "Counter" field. The "Counter" field can be used in a bunch of different ways the useful things about it are that it keeps track of the value across export batches. Using the "Counter" field and exporting 1312 images starting at 1 in one batch and then using it again in another batch of exports will result in names containint 1313, 1314, etc. You can also start the the counter any where you wish but wait there's more… You can also specify a fixed zero filled field width that the counter operates within - like 001312. Oh, and one more thing (a la SJ) you can have as many different counter fields as you want, one independently tracked counter for each "Name Format" preset. Like many things in Aperture - not explicitly documented or talked about, just cool and useful if you know it's there.