January/February 2011

Tips from CS: Assets

By Raederle Clay, Michelle Heil

One common request that we in Customer Support respond to are questions or problems relating to assets used on a site: images, PDFs, videos, Flash files, etc.  In most cases, the requests center around a permissions problem or an unintentional removal or replacement of the asset, but we also encounter requests centered around the asset type.

Naming Your Assets

The most fundamental rule to remember when uploading assets to a web site is using a unique file name, unless the intent is to overwrite an existing asset.  This can be as simple or as complex as desired, the easiest method being to add the upload date to the end of the file name, before the extension (example: myjpeg_02-16-2011.jpg).

We also recommend always trying to upload the file without the "overwrite" checkbox checked; not only will this warn if a file already exists with that name, but if the intent is to overwrite the asset and it uploads successfully without "overwrite" checked, this may indicate that the upload was directed to the wrong target location.  If the intent is to overwrite the asset, the pop-up window can be closed, the "overwrite" checkbox checked, and the asset uploaded.

Know Your Web-Safe Assets

Not all assets are web-safe.  Some, such as TIFF (.tiff, .tif) images, are not compatible with all browsers.  Often, these assets are items that are safe to use in print but not on the web.  However, configurations within a file, such as a CMYK JPG (.jpg) image, can also cause problems on the web.

The easiest way to tell if a JPG image is CMYK or RGB is to open the file in a photo editor such as Adobe Photoshop; Photoshop will display the color type (RGB or CMYK) in the image's title bar, right after the filename. Another way to tell if an image is CMYK is to open it in Internet Explorer. IE, unlike Firefox, cannot display CMYK images.

If you don't know how to change the colors, and you don't have an option to Save Image for Web, you can simply copy the image and paste it into a brand new image file. This can be done in any graphics editor, including Paint, which is included with all versions of Windows.