File Naming Convention (FNC) is a framework for naming your files in a way that describes what they contain and how they relate to other files. Developing an FNC is done by identifying the key elements of the project, the important differences, and commonalities between your files.

Files without employing a naming convention:

  • Test_data_2013
  • Project_Data
  • Design for project.doc
  • Lab_work_Eric
  • Second_test
  • Meeting Notes Oct 23

Files with a naming convention:

  • 20130503_DOEProject_DesignDocument_Smith_v2-01.docx
  • 20130709_DOEProject_MasterData_Jones_v1-00.xlsx
  • 20130825_DOEProject_Ex1Test1_Data_Gonzalez_v3-03.xlsx
  • 20130825_DOEProject_Ex1Test1_Documentation_Gonzalez_v3-03.xlsx
  • 20131002_DOEProject_Ex1Test2_Data_Gonzalez_v1-01.xlsx
  • 20141023_DOEProject_ProjectMeetingNotes_Kramer_v1-00.docx

The files with a naming convention provide a preview of the content, are organized in a logical way (by date yyyy-mm-dd) identify the responsible party and convey the work history, unlike the files without a naming convention.

1.  Use capital letters to delimit words, not spaces.

  Correct Incorrect
File name RiskManagement
RPODirectory
Risk_management
Risk management
 RPO_Directory
 Recruitment Process Outsourcing Directory
Explanation Underscores and Spaces may make it harder to find a file. Removing them reduces the length of the file name, but by using capital letters to differentiate between the words the file name is still readily recognisable. Where capitalised acronyms are used in file names, the acronym should appear in capitals and the first letter of the following word should also be capitalised.

2. Keep file names short, but meaningful.

  Correct Incorrect
File name 2015GlobalMarketShare The_2015_Staffing_and_Talent_Engagement_Global_market_ share_report
Explanation Long file names mean long file paths and long URLs which increase the likelihood of error, are more difficult to remember and recognise. Some words add length to a file name but do not contribute towards the meaning, for example words like “the”, “a”, and “and”. Where the remaining file name is still meaningful within the context of the file directory these elements can be removed.

3. If using a date in the file name always state the date ‘back to front’ and in this format: YYYY or YYYYMM or YYYYMMDD

  Correct Incorrect
File name 20150201Agenda
201502Agenda
2015Agenda
1Feb2015Agenda
2015Agenda
Feb2015Agenda
Explanation Giving the dates back to front means that the chronological order of the records is maintained when the file names are listed in the file directory. This helps when trying to retrieve the latest dated record.

4. Order the elements in a file name in the most appropriate way to retrieve the record. 

  Correct Incorrect
File name /…/Cttee/20140630Agenda
 
 Or
 
 /…/Events/Webinar20140630
 
/…/Cttee/Agenda30March2014 
 
 Or
 
 /Events/30062014Webinar
Explanation The elements to be included in a file name should be ordered according to the way in which the record will be retrieved during the course of every day business. For example, if the records are retrieved according to their date, the date element should appear first. If the records are retrieved according to their description, the description element should appear first.

5. When including a number in a file name always give it as a two-digit number rather than one.  

  Correct Incorrect
File name OfficeProceduresV01
 OfficeProceduresV02
 OfficeProceduresV03
 OfficeProceduresV04
 OfficeProceduresV05
 OfficeProceduresV06
 OfficeProceduresV07
 OfficeProceduresV08
 OfficeProceduresV09
 OfficeProceduresV10
 OfficeProceduresV11
 
(Ordered alphanumerically as the files would be in the directory list)
OfficeProceduresV1
 OfficeProceduresV10
 OfficeProceduresV11
 OfficeProceduresV2
 OfficeProceduresV3
 OfficeProceduresV4
 OfficeProceduresV5
 OfficeProceduresV6
 OfficeProceduresV7
 OfficeProceduresV8
 OfficeProceduresV9
 
(Ordered alphanumerically as the files would be in the directory list)
Explanation To maintain the numeric order when file names include numbers it is important to include the zero for numbers 0-9. This helps to retrieve the latest record number. i.e. 01, 02 … 99, unless it is a year or another number with more than two digits.

6. Where a version number is applicable, it should always appear in the file name of the record so that the most recent version can be easily identified and retrieved.

  Correct Incorrect
File name 2014RPOInsightV3draft 
 2014RPOInsightFinal 
 OrgHier2014V02.xls
 OrgHier2014V03.xls
 OrgHier2014Final.xls
RPO_Insight_2 March_2014
 RPO_ Insight _15_March_2014
 Org_Hier_2014_v2.xls
 Org_Hier_2014_v3.xls
 Org_Hier_2014_v4.xls
Explanation Some records go through a number of versions, which may then be reviewed and updated at a later date. It is important to be able to differentiate between these various drafts and the final version by giving them each their own number and designation. 

7. Use meaningful folder names

  Correct Incorrect
File name Europe/Hungary/
 Companes/Adecco/Accounts
Noel/
 Misc/
Explanation Folder names should indicate the folder’s contents and reflect the functions, activities and transactions that you carry out.

 

8. When including a personal name in a file name give the family name first followed by the initials.

When it is appropriate to include a personal name it should be given as family name first followed by initials as it is most likely that the record will be retrieved according to the family name of the individual.

 

 

  Correct Incorrect
File name BrownSR20041201.rtf

 

SamRBrown20041201.rtf
Explanation This is a letter to Mr Samuel R Brown. By putting the family name first, the file directory will display this file next to the b’s, which is where you would expect to find a letter to Mr Brown.

9.  Avoid using non-alphanumeric characters in file names.


Avoid: * : \ / < > | ” ? [ ] ; = + & £ $ , .    

However, hyphens (-) may be used.

 

  Correct Incorrect
File name SmithJohn20070507.txt

DavidLaingCollection.rtf

GuidelinesAndRegulations.pdf

Budget2006-2007

 

Smith,John20070507.txt

“DavidLaingCollection”.rtf

Guidelines&Regulations.pdf

Budget2006/07

Explanation Most non alphanumeric characters can be omitted without much loss of meaning, e.g. commas and quotation marks. Others can be replaced with alphanumeric characters, e.g. “&” and “+” can be replaced with “And” and “Plus”. Hyphens can be used in place of forward slashes and brackets.

 

10. The version number of a record should be indicated in its file name by the inclusion of ‘V’ followed the version number and, where applicable, ‘Draft’ or ‘Final’.

Some records go through a number of versions. For example they start out as working drafts, become consultation drafts and finish with a final draft, which may then be reviewed and updated at a later date. It is important to be able to differentiate between these various drafts by giving them each their own number.

Where a version number is applicable, it should always appear in the file name of the record so that the most recent version can be easily identified and retrieved.

 

  Correct Incorrect
File name IEAM2003-2004V03Draft.htm

IEAM2003-2004V04Final.htm

OrgHier2002V02.xls

OrgHier2002V03.xls

OrgHier2002V04.xls

 

Iemodel0304_draftv3.htm

Iemodle0304_finalv4htm

Org_Hier_2002_v2.xls

Org_Hier_2002_v3.xls

Org_Hier_2002_v4.xls

Explanation The first 2 (two) examples shows two versions of the income and expenditure attribution model for 2003-2004. Version 3 is a draft version and version 4 is the final version. The common abbreviation for the model is used. The covering years are given in four-digit format. The version number is given with two digits so that the versions will appear in numeric order.

The last 3 examples shows a number of versions of the organisational hierarchy for 2002. None of the versions are marked as draft or final because the nature of the record means that ‘these labels are not applicable

Thanks,

Atlas Corps Representative,

Marilo Meta 

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