Naming files

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Naming files

Ideally you should agree on a logical and consistent way of naming files within your team or department, so that everyone can find and share information easily. Naming files consistently also helps to prevent version control problems if you need to work on files with other people.

Computer operating systems vary in their behaviour in relation to file names (e.g. some enforce case dependency, or name length limits), so to ensure that your files can be seamlessly shared with others, or simply so you can better locate your own files at a later date, there are a number of good practice 'rules' for file naming you can follow:

  • Keep file names short but meaningful
  • Avoid the use of spaces in your file names - use underscores or capital letters to delimit words (this is known as CamelCase)
  • When including numbers, use leading zero(s) so that files are listed in their natural sort order
  • If using a date in the file name always use the international form i.e. YYYYMMDD
  • Include the version in the filename and/or folder name
  • Do not rely on folder names to give your filename context (think if they would still make sense if the file is moved elsewhere)

1

You are placing a group of files together in a folder which are identically named apart from the date. Which is the best way to represent the date?

a)
b)
c)
Please select an answerNo - the date will be sorted in order of month name, which is unhelpful.Yes - this will sort correctly by date.No - this will sort by day of the month, so the files will not be in date order.
Check your answer

Further reading

Choosing a file name (JISC Digital Media)