Naming Conventions

Naming conventions are rules that support the consistent filing of folders and files and enable efficient information retrieval. “File names” are the titles listed in the file directory that we assign to new files when we save them for the first time.

Recommended Naming Conventions

The following conventions assume that a logical directory structure or filing scheme is in place and that similar conventions are used for naming the levels and folders within the directory structure.

  1. File names and paths should be meaningful, relevant and brief—no more than 255 characters (e.g., /.../Procedures/Appeals.doc)
  2. Use approved abbreviations and acronyms (e.g., 2013-03-03 HR RPT.doc)
  3. DO NOT USE ALL CAPS, especially at the beginning of a file name 
  4. Eliminate Symbols/Characters (e.g., [ ] { } ( ) .,! ; : " ' * ? < >\/ |&$)
  5. Use standard date formats (e.g., four-digit year, two-digit month, two-digit day: YYYY-MM-DD or YYYY-MM or YYYY-YYYY
  6. Use numbers with zero filling to help sorting (e.g., 001, 010)
  7. Name files by order of retrieval need (e.g., 2013-03-15 RPT.doc)
  8. Do not include confidential information in folder or file names
  9. Folders/sub-directories should be named according to function or work service (e.g., N:/Deans Council Meetings/2016-09-27 MIN.docx)
  10. Do not repeat folder names in the hierarchy
  11. Apply version control using V01, V02, etc. at the end of the file name

Recommended abbreviations for record names

  • Agenda (AGD)
  • Agreement (AGR)
  • Contract (CON)
  • Discussion draft (DFT)
  • Form (FRM)
  • Grant (GRA)
  • Guidelines (GUI)
  • Index (IDX)
  • Letter (LTR)
  • List (LST)
  • Memo (MEM)
  • Minutes (MIN)
  • Meeting (MTG)
  • Notes (NTS)
  • Plan (PLN)
  • Policy (POL)
  • Presentation (PRS)
  • Procedure (PRC)
  • Schedule (SCH)
  • Speech (SPE)
  • Summary (SUM)

See Dalhousie’s Editorial Style Guide for additional formats.