If you ever need to send someone a document or files on a CD, a few easy steps can make all the difference to getting your point across. First impressions count!
- 1Gather the files you need to distribute and place them in a folder on your PC. If you are including a lot of files, group them into sub folders.
- 2Go over your files and make sure that the file names make sense. Don't have the file name be the first paragraph from the document! Very long file names should also be avoided.
- 3Some files, such as PDF documents, or video clips, require viewer software to be installed to view them, such as Adobe Reader or a video codec. Depending on you audience, you may want to download the setup application for the viewer and include it on the CD. This way, you recipient can view your document even if they are not connected to the internet and cannot download a viewer themselves.
- 4Consider creating a custom icon for your CD. Using the autorun technology, you CD can display a custom icon in My Computer. Use an icon editor to create an icon, or download one from the internet. Save the icon somewhere on your computer: you'll need to access it later.
- 5Create an "autorun" for your CD. An autorun is a file that tells a computer what to do when a CD is inserted, such as open a document or show a menu. Virtually every commercial CD uses an autorun, and yours should too. There are several applications that create autoruns. Follow the instructions included with the application to create the autorun for your CD.
- 6Burn the CD using your CD-RW drive. If you are distributing a lot of CDs, consider using a professional CD duplication service: there are a lot and the prices can be cheaper than burning a lot of discs yourself. If you want to use a CD duplication service, first create a master disc yourself and test it thoroughly. You don't want 500 mistakes!
- 7If you are burning the discs yourself, you should create a label. Some CD-RW drives are able to burn a design on the disc itself using special blank media. Unfortunately, this results in poor image quality. It's better to use a colour label or print directly on the CD with a CD printer. Every office supply store sells CD labels and it is almost as easy as printing a photograph, and makes a BIG difference in the final product.
- 8Package your disc. If you will be mailing, use special disc mailers. These are shaped disc-sized envelopes that normally have padding to protect the disc. They also reduce shipping cost. If you are not mailing the disc, you should use some case. The best ones are either slim jewel cases or DVD cases. Other types of cases, including the traditional jewel case, are often fragile.
- Don't use novelty CD cases, or buy rainbow colour packs. Stick to either clear, transparent white or black.
- It's generally best not to use "designer" discs or shaped discs. They are more expensive, and can be incompatible with some drives (most notably the "slot-loading" drives that are most commonly found on Apple computers).
- Traditional jewel cases are very fragile. While the disc itself probably won't get damaged, it is pretty likely for the case to get cracked in the middle in the mail or during handling. Slim cases and DVD-style cases don't have this problem