A goal for file naming is to give enough information so that either the creator or a new user can figure out where the information in the file fits into the project.

File names should be:

  •     Unique
  •     Consistent
  •     Easy to skim or scan
  •     Designed to help groupings of files fall into a useful order

Folders and directory structure are important to consider, too

  • They can be simple - just a list - or a complex, multi-level hierarchy, or in between
  • Be sure they complement your file naming scheme
  • Consider copying a scheme from another realm of your life
  • There is software that may assist you

Elements may be included in your file names

  •     Date
  •     Project name
  •     Type of data
  •     Conditions
  •     Location/spatial coordinates
  •     Researcher info
  •     Version

File naming tips

  •     Use this date format - YYYYMMDD
  •     Be brief
  •     Abbreviate when it makes sense
  •     Use leading zeros - 001, 002
  •     No spaces, use underscores or remove the spaces
    •         Zea_mays
    •         Zea-mays
    •         Zeamays
    •         ZeaMays
  •     Avoid special characters
  •     Consider how the files will sort
  •     Think about others who will be using the files

Renaming existing files

If you are renaming older files, you have options:

  •     Do it manually
  •     Use software to assist

Article on Best Free File Renamer Utilities http://www.techsupportalert.com/best-free-rename-utility.htm

Need help?

Contact us with your questions and we will consult with you or point you to the right person, resource, or service on campus.