About File and Folder Names

About File and Folder Names

Ideas and Guidelines to naming Files & Folders in Creative Work Invironments

This blog is to share my knowledge of how to build good guidelines to name Files and Folders. Some of these ideas can also be used in e-mail correspondence . Hopefully it will help someone who do not yet have a set of guidelines to build their own solid structures or work practices. Shortly there is no "one way only" to do this - so take this blog as an inspiration ;).

The Basic Rules

The Basic RulesPosted by Sorenzen Fri, May 11, 2012 02:15:15

01. Use English as main file language whenever it´s possible.

- As already described in the intro, Start to think international/globally not local.

(If you work entirely and only in another language (region), Arabia, Asia etc. this might not be essential to you. But if your working across borders use English. If you are working in the Western hemisphere use English to name your files and folder)


02. Use_Underscore_Everywhere.

Do_not_leave_any” open “spaces_in_filenames.

Alternativly-the-dash-can-be-used-instead-of_underscore_or_in-combination.

Underscore: "_"

Dash: "-"

This rule serves several purposes:

A) File Search is much more precise.

B) Server migration is future and backwards secured.

- It might seem a bit old fashioned and it is - but it is still the most secure way.


03. Do not use exotic characters of any sort.

Meaning only use standard generic characters. No slashes, paragraphs, stars, exotic glyphs etc. etc. Just do not use it.

Example: If you need to write in let´s say Danish use this form:

“Ø” as “OE”, “Å” as “AA” and “Æ” as “AE”.

- Other languages have the same sort of conversation options - Else be creative and think how you would write that special letter without the language specific letter - you are a creative right?.

This rule serves several purposes:

A) Avoiding posibility of corrupt or unreadable files when distributing files to other systems. (Read; To other external users).

B) Avoiding possibility of server and system code interactions and malfunctions.

In a few but very unlucky cases people will unknowingly hit exotic character combinations that actually talks/activates the server. This can have catastrophic consequences to the files. So better safe than sorry.


04. Always include the filetype tag: .pdf, .psd, .jpg etc. etc.

Optimizes the readability/recognition by the software and systems.

Helping “One Click”* users in general.

*Many users that receive files from production professionnels just simply click on the file received. This often result in "no action experience" and a returning e-mail that states: "I cant read the file". Thou keeping the filetype tag does not solve this problem it at least make guessing and helping easier. What type of file is it? it says .psd. Well then you need this or that software to read it.


- This is basically the Absolute Basics - No more No less.

You can start implementing these guidelines* the next time you hit the "Save As" or "Save" command and already you are on a both more secure and a easier commonly shared road with your files.

(Actually this section is not Guidelines but Rules - im´ not a dictator thou)

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