file naming convention

Posted on 2014-10-17
Last Modified: 2014-10-20
Can someone point me to best practice for file naming convention on files.     I want something I can put under someone's NOSE

They are naming files like this:

John Doe LLC Writeup-----------------------------------------.doc

Their make it easier to find in the list.         DUH
Question by:bankwest
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LVL 76

Expert Comment

ID: 40387605
Can you explain your difficulty more explicitly, please?

Obviously you need to put the most important words first and so on, but you seem to be looking for something more profound.

Perhaps your should consider a file structure, e.g. subject name, major subject, secondary subject, and so on.

Author Comment

ID: 40387626
They are putting the long line of dashes in the file name.    Trying to make it Stand out from the rest.    It is that long line of dashes I am not crazy about
LVL 23

Accepted Solution

Eirman earned 250 total points
ID: 40388665
There is no agreed convention for the naming word of Word files. Its down to personal taste and requirements.
Do as you are doing .... develop a naming scheme, document it and stick to it throughout the organisation.
Some suggestions ....

Use special characters to divide up the filename into logical chunks. My favourites are:   - , =  + & ;
These characters are NOT allowed:   \ / : * ? " < > |

Consider starting all files with the date in ISO 8601 format YYYY-MM-DD
This will mean that all files will be sorted by date.

Consider using the Surmame, First name convention.
It's better to have a list of documents sorted like this ....
Doe, Ann
Doe, Ann
Doe, John
Doe, John
Doe, John
Jones, Ann

This is not as good ...
Ann Doe
Ann Doe
Ann Jones
John Doe
John Doe
John Doe
Or combine the above two methods ...
They are sorted by name and sub sorted by date automatically

Doe, Ann 2011-11-16
Doe, Ann 2011-12-26
Doe, John 2010-01-13
Doe, John 2013-02-04
Doe, John 2013-12-19
Jones, Ann 2009-08-13
Consider using a document type description (e.g. Letter .... Quotation  ....... Writeup  ...... Acknowledgement .... etc.). This type of data as well as others such as AUTHOR, DEPARTMENT can be stored in the properties of the document.
You can do searches based these stored keywords (e.g. find all quotes)

Consider using version numbers if there are many version of the same document (v1 , v2 etc   or (2013 Oct ver)
Use plenty of folders .......
You could use one per person/organisation if you send a lot of documents to them.
Use a new subfolder every year if necessary.
The more folders you have, the shorter the filenames will be.
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LVL 21

Assisted Solution

EricFletcher earned 250 total points
ID: 40390693
Eirman's suggestions are all excellent. I would add that much will depend on how your users use the file structure tools of the OS they use. My personal preference is to show files using the Details view in Windows Explorer so I can sort the list by whatever column I need. However, a different user may prefer to see files in their folders as large icons, so any logic that aids in ordering the files may be irrelevant.

Be aware that many of the built-in Properties attributes for a Word document can be displayed in a Windows Explorer view (and presumably in a Finder view in the Mac OS as well). If you use File > Info, and click the "Show All Properties" button, you can add content to a number of property fields that will be saved with the document—and can be displayed within a Windows Explore list view.

Within Windows Explorer, choose the Details view, then right-click within the column header bar to choose which file attributes to include in the view. Screen shot of a more useful Windows Explorer viewThe above example shows how the Title, Tags and Subject property fields I entered in two Word documents will be displayed in a modified view of one of my folders. (Note that the same named attributes in an image file are also displayed.)

These properties fields can augment whatever naming convention you use, and provide your users with much more useful information to help them find a given document. If they use the built-in OS search to find documents, terms within these fields will be indexed, and an enhanced search result view will reduce ambiguity.

Oh, and one more thing... you can also access such properties within your Word document: in my example, one of the files includes a SUBJECT field code within the page footer, so every page automatically includes, in this case, v2.1 December 2012. When I make a substantive update, a single change to the document's Subject field will cause all pages to reflect the new version information.
LVL 33

Expert Comment

by:Rob Henson
ID: 40391776
The earlier comment from Eirman says to use lots of folders. However, I have also read not to use folders at all.

By using folders you can end up with duplicates of files and no way of knowing which has the most up to date or correct information, latest modification date does always mean it has the latest info. By not using folders the file names do have to be unique so a good naming convention is required.

Rob H
LVL 23

Expert Comment

ID: 40391844
Hi Rob, Using many folders is just another option.

If you have many hundreds (or even a few thousand) document files, it can make sense.
It is really down to personal preference, the size of the organisation, the number of users and how tech-savvy the are when it come to searching.

Author Closing Comment

ID: 40391941
Thanks all for the excellent input.

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