Electronic Document Naming Conventions: General Guidance

Standard document naming conventions are important to facilitate better searching, access and retrieval of files and documents. It also allows for sorting of files in a logical sequence either alphabetically or numerically.

Because files are arranged alphabetically or numerically it is important to name documents with the classifier that most users will think of first to access that particular document. Ideally document naming conventions should include at the minimum the following information:

• Title or Topic

• Type of Document (i.e. Agenda, Briefing, Form, Template, Minutes, Report, etc.)

• Date

• Version Number, if applicable

Avoid using words such as “general or miscellaneous” in file name conventions. Be sure to make naming conventions clear, complete and avoid abbreviations when possible.  The document name should include all necessary descriptive information independent of the file name where it is stored or located. This is essential for users to search for documents by topics and or key words. At the end of specified document naming conventions users can add additional adjectives or words that further describe that document.

To learn more how to organize computer documents, download the free report How to Organize Your Computer Documents.