File naming

Why is the naming of files important? If you place yourself in the centre of an expanding sphere, the value and impact of an orderly system of naming files, is as follows:

  1. You will be able to keep track of various project files.
  2. You will be able to keep track of versions of files.
  3. You will have a safety net in case of corruption of a file or disk.
  4. You will be able to identify your file amongst others in a group.
  5. Other people will be able to identify files they receive from you.
  6. You will be able to identify files received from others (if they also follow a logical system).

More on the above points:

Keep track of projects

During the year, you will be involved in many different courses, each with its own lecturer and projects, assignments, assessments and presentations. There will be Prof Slabbert, Dr Du Toit, Dr Coetzee, Dr Wagner and more. Courses are KRO, GBL, PFO, LMD, OWT and so on. And as mentioned, you will do projects, assignments, assessments and presentations.

You want to be sure you are sending the correct file to the correct person, upload to the correct course, and take the correct file along when you have to facilitate a session. Without having to laboriously open each file.


Keep track of versions

When editing a document, you can make minor changes, involving things like grammar, or major changes. Sometimes you replace a big block of material, remove parts or rearrange the existing order. It could happen that you want to go back to a previous version, where your sentence was just short of Shakespearean brilliance.

Sourced from LightStock

Safety net

Hard drives die. Flash disks has a limited number of write cycles. Sh-Things happen. If you have older versions, you may only loose a small portion of time.


Identify ownership

When collaborating with others in any environment, sooner or later you will have to exchange electronic information. This is true in a closed environment, with you present; but also when you send and receive files from colleagues. Having to open each file becomes an additional chore, eating time that could be spend being productive.

Collaboration in a group. Image from StockSnap


By selecting a sensible naming scheme, and sticking to. Rename incoming files that are not properly named according to your scheme. And keep to it. What is a sensible naming scheme?

Name your stuff. Image sourced from PixaBay


This is  a system that you can adopt to fit your own situation and preferred style of working.

Generic Scheme Project or Assignment number Course/Lecturer Document Owner Version
 Example 1  ASS03B  KRO410 LootsM 20150311
  Result  ass03b_KRO410_LootsM_20150311
 Example 2  AR_PROJ DuToit LootsM 20150501
  Result ARPROJ_DuToit_LootsM_20150501

The best way to assign a version to a file, is to use the date, and optionally the time as well. When you start working on a document, add the date at the end of the name. This then becomes the version. When you feel you have made major changes, you save with the new date. If you are slightly paranoid, you can add the date in 24-hour format as well to the date. That would allow for multiple version on the same day. To make the name easier to read, the underscore character can be used. Spaces will also work, but there is a possibility that this can cause problems on some systems.

You are unique. Help your file names to stand out as well.


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