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Files & Directories

What...archivedata_filingcabinet.png

File naming along with directory naming and structure provide quick descriptions of the files you are creating or managing. This page provides some advice on these elements.

Why...

Good file names can help to provide a quick description of a file's contents. This description may reference a classification such as an event or subject, the date it was created, file status information, the version number of the file or a mixture of these elements.

Similarly, well thought out directory names can help to facilitate quick and easy access to your files.

How...

File names

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  • Create meaningful but brief names.
  • classify files by using descriptions to identify the content/purpose of them - this may include providing an identifier to represent a particular activity of work.
  • Employ consistent conventions for file status and versioning.
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  • Do not use special characters such as > < " / \ | ? * : ^ $ (these characters are reserved expressions in certain operating systems).
  • Do not use spaces (some operating systems and web browsers have trouble handling spaces in file names). Use underscores between words or capitalise the first letter of each new word instead.
  • Do not use personal names within the file name.

Directory names & Structure

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  • Consider the best hierarchy for files. When working in collaboration the need for a consistent, orderly structure is even greater.
  • Use folder names to describe major functions or activities.
  • Use sub-folders to structure by year and data types.
  • Create consistent, meaningful but brief names.
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  • Try not to duplicate folder names where possible.
  • Do not use personal names within the folder name.