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Information Systems Department

Information Management Division - Web Standards

File & Folder Naming Conventions

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It's important to be consistent and descriptive in naming files. The descriptive file name will assist visitors and users when saving a file.

Best Practices

  • The file name should be descriptive of the file.  Visitors may be saving it.
  • Do not use spaces. Instead use:
    • dashes: file-name.doc (preferred for search engines)
    • or underscores: file_name.doc
    • or camel case: FileName.doc
  • Special characters should be avoided: ~ ! @ # $ % ^ & * ( ) ` ; < > ? , [ ] { } ‘ “
  • Only 1 dot per filename and it belongs just prior to the file extension
  • If a date is included, always use a numeric 8-digit date in the yyyymmdd format.
    • If only month and year are available: yyyymm
    • If only year is available: yyyy
  • Add the year in front of the file name if it's important to sort by year.
  • Add the date into to the end of the file name if it's important to sort by name
  • Don’t make file names too long; longer names do not work well with all types of software.
  • For sequential numbering, use leading zeros to ensure files sort properly.  “001, 002” instead of “1, 2, etc.”

Consider the following when naming your files

  • Project name
  • Locations info
  • Researchers name or initials
  • Date or date range
  • Type of data
  • Readability

Helpful Tool

Bulk Rename Utility