File Naming Conventions

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

Stever Robbins
4-minute read
Episode #41

Use YYYY-MM-DD for dates

Sometimes, you want to put a date inside a filename. If you're the scribe for your weekly status report meetings (Meetings! I just love meetings. No, I don't. I hate meetings.), you create an endless stream of files called "Status report May 1, 2010," "Status report May 10, 2010," and so on. For the date part of the file use a four-digit year, followed by a two-digit month, followed by a two-digit day. "Status report 2010-05-01" for your May 1st status report. Why? Because then when you look at your folder and sort it by file name, all the files will sort in the order of the dates. It's a super-easy way of organizing your files by date.

These three tips have saved me oodles of time! And that's a lot. Remember: give files specific names that include enough details so you can search for it later. Name successive versions V1, V2, V3 ... up to V20. And when you include dates in file names, use the four-digit year, two-digit month and two-digit day in that order.


[Phone ringing]
Now if you'll excuse me, Xander's on the line. Something about a weekend in Paris. Au revoire!

Work Less, Do More, and have a Great Life!

(Oh, and if you need help keeping track of different drafts of printed documents, I have a Quick Tip that can help you with that.)


Episode on an unexpected detox.

Meeting Madness Two, about roles in meetings

Image courtesy of Shutterstock


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.