Electronic Document Naming Conventions: Best Practices

Document Naming Convention SamplesThere is some good written guidance on document and file naming conventions. Below are a few entities that have made available their best practices on document naming conventions and protocol.

This PC Magazine article, Getting Organized: Great Tips for Better File Names, provides some good context on why document naming conventions are so important and general aspects to consider when naming documents to make them easier to find.

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.