A dear reader had been struggling for some time with a very confusing problem. You see, when she opened a layered digital template, it appeared to have all the layers merged and locked. This problem boggled my mind as well as that of a few other industry educators.

Then, at last night’s chat on templates, this reader joined us and we finally figured it out. We jumped on the teleconference service DimDim and we were able to see exactly how this reader’s computer was handling the file.

A Lightbulb Moment

Since the template was working for others, we figured the problem had something to do with the process of downloading and unzipping. We were correct, but the issue was harder to detect for one small reason: the computer was displaying zip files as folders. In some operating systems, compressed files like zips are displayed as a folder. The folder is still compressed by the contents can be viewed. However, in files like a layered PSD, they do not open fully because the contents are still compressed.

While this reader was using OS X, we know this can happen on Windows as well. The solution is to know the behavior of your machine and make sure to extract the files (even though they appear to already be extracted). In this case, the most simple instruction was to drag the files to the desktop and then file them away from there. The important thing was to get them out of that original folder without opening the files first.

Lessons Learned

I’m so glad this reader can finally use templates and get her stories scrapped. If you ever have a strange problem or error, these tips could help you get it resolved:

1. Have someone watch what you are doing. With computers, it could be an easily-overlooked subtlety.

2. File type management, particularly compressed files, can vary between operating system versions and software installed.

3. Never be afraid to ask for help, or even ask multiple people, to figure out the problem. It could make all the difference.

Have you ever had a ‘weird thing’ happen to you on a computer? How did you fix it?

Did you find this post helpful?

We believe simple is not how your page looks, but how your scrapbooking hobby works. We have a free workshop called SPARKED and it is the best way to learn more about Simple Scrapper and start creating consistently.


  1. Holly P

    Hi, this isn’t so much about a weird thing I have had happen, but I have found that I am so obsessed with collecting digital scrapbooking goodies that I was spending all of my time unzipping, organizing, and importing my photos into iPhoto rather than actual scrapbooking. I haven’t completely solved this yet, but I did find some software that has helped. I think it is only for Macs, it is called Hazel by a company called Noodlesoft. You can get a free 30 day trial. It is very easy to set up and works from your systems preferences icon. You basically set up rules for all your folders. So I set mine up to unarchive my .rar and zip folders from my download folder into a scrap download folder. Then in that folder I have rules to get rid of files that I don’t use like urls, blinkies and anti-piracy files (trust me I don’t pirate, but I don’t need all the files telling me not to). I also have it do things like move my brush files to the brush folder and actions and so on. I am still working on more sophisticated concepts, but it has been a huge help and is super easy. This would be useful for the reader you described here because she could just set it up to unzip the files and move them to her desired destination. Hope this helps someone, it is worth giving the free trial a try!

    • Jennifer

      What a useful program! Thanks for sharing with us. Seems like a great time-saver.

      • SWJenn

        yes, that seems cool! I’m leaning more and more toward a Mac for my next computer… if it didn’t mean re-buying the CS5 suite! Maybe when I need a computer AND new software all at the same time, I’ll bite the bullet 🙂

  2. Cynthia Miller

    OK… I am the “dear reader” Jennifer mentions above. I don’t know how “dear” I was when I was losin’ it while trying to figure out these darling templates we’ve been seeing ’round the net.

    Anyway, do consider joining the CHATS. What a wonderful bunch of people willing to help me with this exasperating problem.

    Today I installed my new external hard drive that Jennifer recommended, and have begun moving over pages I’ve already created and printed. Then sent to TRASH. It was exhilarating (ok.. too dramatic), to PURGE and hopefully make my MAC move along a little faster.

    This software sounds interesting and will consider.

    Happy Templating!!!


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.


The Simple Scrapper community will encourage and support your unique creative journey.