Best File Naming Convention Practices for Your DMS

When using a document management system, it is essential to correctly name files to leverage technology’s search features. Naming conventions for document archiving are also important for keeping files organized and searchable. Using a consistent file naming scheme, you can make sure that the document is simple to find, and anyone can tell what’s in it just by looking at the file name.

A company’s file naming convention can eliminate many errors and time wasting. All too often, people spend hours searching for an important file, but they are unsure of its whereabouts. The next step would be to search by filename, but if file naming conventions are not defined, it will be like searching for a needle in a haystack. When employees have an artistic license with naming files, the organization can end up with hundreds of files named doc12, doc89, or myfile_today. These are typical examples of impractical and nonsensical file naming practices. Not only does that cause important files to disappear, but staff can spend hours looking for unlocatable files. And as a result, everyone is less productive overall.

How to establish a file naming system

An outline for naming your files in a way that conveys their contents and their relationships to other files is known as a file naming convention. So, what is the ideal file naming convention? It varies based on your industry and how you want to set up the company’s records management system. Generally, naming conventions include the following parameters to maximize access to the company’s documents.:

1. Prefix with creation date

Organizing your files by starting the file name with the file’s creation date is a good start, for example, 20230101. The date makes it easier to sort files by name in ascending or descending order, and it helps speed up the search. Starting with the year first rather than the month is usually recommended to simplify record management and streamline the searching process.

2. Add a concise task summary

A task or project description can be an additional identifier to be included in the file name. Or, it can be combined with a designated department such as for HR, sales, or marketing document. For example, the name could include 202310101_HRTargets.

3. Include a version number, if applicable

When documents go through a lot of editing and redrafting, version control is crucial. Adding the version number in the file name shows the most recent file. A document management system with version control is beneficial for storing all changes so users can revert to previous versions. The version number increments for multiple changes making it helpful to keep track of each version created on a specific day, such as 202310101_HRTargets_V2.

4. Identify the author

To make a file name specific and relevant, use the author’s surname or known user initials, but keep the file name brief. Find the right approach that will work best for your company. Users can search through the stored content created by a specific person to enhance the search capability. The user’s name or surname can be added as the file name suffix, for example 202310101_HRTargets_V2_Lee.

5. Compile all the parameters

Create the file name when all these parameters are defined and use an underscore to separate each component so that the file name would look like this, 202310101_HRTargets_V2_Lee.pdf. Avoid using spaces, period stop, slashes, and special characters in the file name, as many file and network systems cannot process these punctuation marks in a file name.

The parameters above are practical guidelines for creating a naming convention. Customize the naming scheme that fits with your organization and keep the following considerations in mind:

  • Reliability matters. Naming conventions must be consistent throughout the company, and they should be searchable. If you are continually altering them, the method is ineffective and creates more disorganization. By being consistent, your staff can sort the files quickly because they will know what format to follow for searching. Employees must utilize and accurately follow the naming convention standards for the organization to get the benefits.
  • Be explicit. Whatever naming scheme you choose, it needs to be descriptive. Knowing what is in a file without having to open it will save you and your team a lot of time. While file names should not be lengthy (recommended 25 characters), being descriptive is more important than adhering to a specific character limit.
  • A foresighted approach. When it comes to going paperless, be proactively smart rather than reactive. Set time aside to formulate your naming conventions for your document control system and train the employees to adhere to the rules to increase their productivity and efficiency.

File naming conventions make it simpler to recognize your files and help you stay organized. You can discover what you need quickly by constantly arranging your files. Additionally, it will make it simpler for others to navigate your work when distributing files in a shared or collaborative group context.

Optimizing Document Management

KRIS Document Management System (DMS) manages high volumes of digital files and multiple versions of every record. The system tracks and stores the document’s history throughout its lifecycle, revealing all changes made, by who, and when. It enables managers to keep track of changes and pinpoint what crucial decisions were made. This way, companies can ensure better protection over company data by getting an updated audit trail at the touch of a button. The KRIS DMS has a powerful search function that enables users to use several search criteria for instantaneous results. All these features and more are invaluable for carefully maintaining company files.






Find out how a Document Management System can simplify your everyday office processes.