File Naming Conventions

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

Stever Robbins
4-minute read
Episode #41

Put the version number in the filename

When you're writing draft after draft, put the revision number in the filename. "Xander proposal v1," "Xander proposal v2," and so on. That way, you always know exactly what order they go in. Be super-careful of comparison words like "Newer proposal" or "Today's to do list" or "Wednesday staff meeting minutes." Three weeks from now, you won't know if Wednesday is next Wednesday, this Wednesday, or the Wednesday before last. Use numbers. As scary as math is, there's no long division, just counting. One, two, three, and so on. You can count all the way to ten using your fingers, and up to twenty if you include your toes. Most documents have few-enough revisions that you don't run out of body parts, even after that accident with the rice picking machine.

When you and your friend are writing a document together, you might trade it back and forth. If you were so unwise as to choose a friend who doesn't listen to this podcast, they can screw up the name. You call your file V1. They make their changes but send back the same V1 filename. Fine. Just copy the file to the name "V2." Then copy it again to be V3, where you put your 2nd round of changes. For example: "Proposed detox diet V1." They send back changes which you rename "Proposed detox diet V2." Your next revision is "Proposed detox diet V3." You're keeping yourself so organized that it makes total sense to celebrate by going out for a delicious Oreo ice cream cake, because listen people, life is too short. Oreos taste better than celery juice. That's all there is to it.


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.