Electronic Document Naming Conventions: Versioning

It is important to track various versions of documents when there have been significant and substantial changes in the context, format, or edit of a document. Usually version numbers are used to denote various versions of documents. A small “v” should be used with a sequential number following. Example: Document Naming Guidelines_v1. When creating multiple versions, make sure to use the same document name and title for all versions. A significant date can be added to the document name before the version number and/or if relevant to the new version.

It can also be helpful if there are multiple reviewers to add the initials or team name after the version number of the person who conducted those revisions. For a person’s name, use the first name initial and last name.

When multiple versions of a particular document have been finalized the word “FINAL” in capital letters is recommended to be used at the end of the document name. This is helpful to quickly identify the final version of all the prior versions. If there is another version after the “final” has been released, then the previous final should be renamed to the next version number and the new final version should be renamed “FINAL.”

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

Electronic Document Naming Conventions: Date Standards

It is highly recommended for all electronic documents to include a date as an element in the document name. Dates can be standardized in the international date standard numerical format with underscores(_) between year_month_day, YYYY_MM_DD. This format allows ease of sorting and comparing files by date and prevents confusion with other date formats.

The date should be defined by business needs and what is most useful for retrieval purposes. The date used could be the creation date of the file, the date the file was modified or finalized, or a date of central importance to the file.  For example, a date on a presentation would be the date the presentation was given, or a date on an audit report would be the day the audit was conducted.  When files and documents are moved from one computer to a server or other cloud-based systems the system assigns a new ‘creation date’. This new date will change to the date that data was moved to the new local hardware or system and not keep the original ‘created date’ of the document. Thus the creation date can be lost if not recorded in the document naming convention. Further, when emailing documents, it is helpful for a user to see a date associated with a document within the name, especially if there are multiple versions associated with a document.

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