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Data management for students: Filenames


Besides having a clear folder structure, it is important to give your files clear and consistent names. A good filename provides information about the content, status and version of the file, making it easy to identify and retrieve. To get a good and workable filename structure, you could use a 'File naming convention worksheet', see this worksheet (Briney, Kristin A., 2020).


  • Ensure you are consistent in naming files and that everyone, when working together on a project, uses the same structure. 
  • The file name must be independent of the file's location on your computer so that when you move the file to another folder, it does not conflict with another file. 
  • Use clear but short filenames (preferably max. 32 characters).
  • Useful elements in a filename can be an (abbreviated or encoded) indication of the content, date (in the format YYYYY-MM-DD to organize files chronologically), name of the creator and version number. 
  • Avoid spaces, dots and special characters (e.g. &, !, ?, *, #). Use hyphens (-) or a dash (_) to separate the different elements in your filename.
  • If you have multiple versions of a file, specify the version in the filename.