Simon Griffee · Time, light, movement & distance.

Naming Files

22 January 2014 · 1 minute read

Here’s a possible file naming system focused on helping you find files using search and making them easily sortable by date.

|             | |         | |     | |           | | |
--------------- ----------- |     | ------------- | |
  Date & Time      Code     |     |     Title     | |
                            |     |               | |
                            Language           Extension

Date & Time: ISO 8601 (YYYYMMDDhhmmss) This lets you filter by date automatically in any computer file system.

Code: Anything you want for the particular set of documents. Best to keep it consistent. Here’s a post with more ideas.

Language: ISO 639-1 (langu_en). The underscore means you can search for lang_en to find all files in English.

Title: The title of the file with hyphens (minus signs) instead of spaces, which makes it harder to read but%20avoids%20ugly%20URLs when spaces are encoded in most systems and software, and also makes the file easier to find. Try to keep file names as short and simple as possible.

Extension: File extensions - txt, pdf, doc, xls, ppt, etc.

It is very helpful to have an auto text-expanding application installed in your computer, which lets you type datetime followed by the TAB key and automatically insert the current date and time in a defined format.