I am doing all my inventory & grading helps in Excel.
I personally prefer to have the pictures in a spreadsheet rather than links. The way to handle any file size issues is to create folders for each country you are collecting, folders for each denomination under each country, and various spreadsheets as needed within those denominations.
Thus....I am in the process of creating a master grading spreadsheet for each denomination, separate from my inventory for my collection. Within the spreadsheet I will have a set of Photos-only worksheets, one for each unique coin type (e.g. Lincoln shield, Lincoln Memorial, Lincoln Wheat, Indian Head, and on back for all of the small cents). Separate picture worksheets for Large cents, two cents, Three Cents
, nickel, and so forth.
In addition, within those same spreadsheets, I will have a companion worksheet for each picture set that has descriptions for each grade, high points of wear on each coin type, and other details.
With the information in these spreadsheets, I will be able to create a quick reference for being able to grade my coins.
Note: each of my coin pictures (that I have gathered from numerous sources on the Internet which give pictures, descriptions, & grades) is 3.15" square. This limits me to six coins per page, but it also allows me to see all of the details of those pictures. And given that we are talking about a limited number of pictures per grade for an entire class of coins, it is a reasonable way to put this together.
When it comes to my own collection, it has been more difficult, because I am having a hard time finding a good way to take the pictures in way that clearly shows the features of the coins with the right lighting and focus. I have a USB microscope which I can use for small coins to get the whole coin in the picture (but still working to get pictures that look like online grading pictured). My Cybershot camera has not proven to be helpful. My phone pics still leave something to be desired. All of these can probably pass for me on my own collection, but I will from time to time be selling online, and they are unacceptable (by my personal standards) for posting on ETSY, Ebay, etc.
I am quickly building worksheets for each coin type having all "normal" coins and many error coins. I do not only rely on Red Book
, but I am using my Kindle copy of the Cherrypickers Guide, plus going through all of CopperCoins and other such sites. I am creating a master cross-reference list for error coins, trying to link everything in Coppercoins to CONECA, Fivaz-Stanton (old & new), Wexler, Crawford, & Ken Potter. From the comprehensive list, I am picking out which varieties I feel are worth my time to look for in roll hunting, and I am making sure that they are in my master list. Here again, I am hoping to have a complete set of pictures for all varieties (on my list, NOT all existing varieties), and descriptions that will aid me in finding those varieties.
Eventually, I hope that I can have this available electronically to take with me when I go to antique stores and other places.