File Naming Conventions

Name your files so you can find them again without resorting to private detectives.

Stever Robbins
4-minute read
Episode #41

File foldersToday we'll discuss a few conventions for naming files that will avoid confusion, mixups, and embarrassment. We join Stever in his office as he writes a personal letter:

"Dear Schmoopy-woopie,

"Our phone conversation got my blood boiling! I propose a weekend in the Rockies, scented bubble baths, and lots of snuggling in front of the fire. This may sound sudden, but I know what we have is magical.

"XXX (that means kiss, kiss, kiss), your very own Get-it-Done guy."

Let's see. "Save as..." Nagivate to my "letters" folder. "Letter XXX" (that means kiss, kiss, kiss).

[sound of phone ringing]

Oh! A call. "Hello? You want me to send you a letter of agreement for coaching? Sure. Your name? Zander's Excellent Xylophones. Oh! Xander-with-an-X, short for Alexan... Got it. And Excellent-with-an-X. That's clever. XXX, Inc."

Let's type that letter. "Save As..." "Proposals" folder. "Letter XXX." Start email. Email Xander. Attach file. Recent files. Er, where is it. There: Letter XXX. "Send."

[sound of phone ringing]

"Xander? That was fast. You'll meet me in Aspen, and you'll bring the champagne? Uh, oh..."

Does this happen to you? Well, the problem is file names. LETTER XXX? Yeah, that one worked for me. Don't use just the folder name to distinguish your files. You'll be sorry, someday. Instead, ask yourself how you might want to find the file someday. What will you search for? Maybe a name--Chris or Xander--maybe the type of document, proposal or letter, maybe something else entirely.


About the Author

Stever Robbins

Stever Robbins was the host of the podcast Get-it-Done Guy from 2007 to 2019. He is a graduate of W. Edward Deming’s Total Quality Management training program and a Certified Master Trainer Elite of NLP. He holds an MBA from the Harvard Business School and a BS in Computer Sciences from MIT.