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Proper File Names are a Good Thing – Use Them!

We all upload images to add to our web pages or PDF documents that we’ll link to, and using a strong file naming convention is important!  Yes, we’re often in a rush to update our websites and just don’t bother renaming our files either before we upload them or even at the time we do upload, but this simple rule – using proper file names – really saves time and effort in the long run.

Standard Guidelines for Naming Files


  1. Be consistent!
  2. Make sure your image files are saved as .jpg files and your documents as .pdf prior to uploading.
  3. It is important to use all lower case letters with hyphens between words when naming files. Do not use spaces. Example: this-is-my-filename.jpg
  4. A unique filename describes what the content is about. DSCN73895. jpg tells us absolutely nothing about an image, but students-using-gps.jpg certainly does!
  5. With a good file name, you’ll find a file more quickly in the future when you need to delete it. It’s easier to search your Assets lists for a specific file that has been named 2017-03-cloverleaf-newsletter.pdf  rather than one called newdoc.pdf or a file named students-using-gps.jpg rather than DSCN73895.jpg.
  6. Use a date format of YYYY-MM-DD or YYYYMMDD as a prefix for files like monthly newsletters or meeting minutes that may need it.  This format helps to keep your files in chronological order.


  • Upload native files like Word documents (.docx) – convert to PDF first.
  • Use spaces in the file name.
  • Use special characters like:    ~ ! @ # $ % ^ & * ( ) + ` ; / \ :  ? “ < > |[ ] { } or ,
  • Use initials or abbreviations that may not be commonly understood.
  • Use redundant or repetitive words.  thrift-county2017-march-newsletter.pdf could be simply be named as 2017-03-newsletter.pdf.