How to Name Files

Get tips on naming files so that you'll be able to use your computer to easily find exactly what you need, when you need it.

Stever Robbins
5-minute read
Episode #134

How to Use Keywords in File Names

Start file names with an all-upper-case keyword that tells you what kind of file it is. All files with lyrics now start with the word LYRICS:

  • LYRICS Cabin in the Woods,

  • LYRICS S-Mart Employee, and

  • LYRICS All The Men in my Life Keep Getting Killed by Candarian Demons.

When I sort my folder alphabetically, lyrics files are grouped together. Finding them is a snap. I also scanned in receipts when I bought something. Those files started with the keyword RECEIPT. RECEIPT Fake Blood Ingredients or RECEIPT Bobby pins (don’t ask; we dancing trees have our special needs). Use any keyword that you need. My most common ones are RECEIPT, RECIPE, LYRICS, PROPOSAL, INVOICE, and CONTRACT.

How to Use Numbers in File Names

Sometimes you’ll want to use numbers in file names. But if you have files called Scene 1, Scene 2, all the way to Scene 10, alphabetizing screws up. Scene 10 comes between Scene 1 and Scene 2, since computers alphabetize the characters in the number, not the number itself. So when you use numbers in file names, use leading zeros. By naming files Scene 01, Scene 02, all the way to Scene 10, alphabetizing keeps them in proper order. I number my Get-it-Done Guy episode scripts 00001, 00002, ond so on. I won’t run into problems until episode 100,000, when I am five hundred and sixty nine years old. I am very optimistic.


About the Author

Stever Robbins

Stever Robbins 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. 

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