Writing better file names

We first talked about writing filenames back in a post about Organizing your data: Research Data Management (RDM)

To further improve your filenaming game, check out a naming convention worksheet from Caltech that helps researchers create a great filenaming system that works with their workflows.

Example: My file naming convention is “SA-MPL-EID_YYYYMMDD_###_status.tif” Examples are “P1-MUS-023_20200229_051_raw.tif” and “P2-DRS-285_20191031_062_composite.tif”.


Why standardize file names?

Standardizing file naming conventions helps researchers better organize their own work and collaborate with others. Here are some key benefits of adopting standardized file naming conventions:



Standardized file naming ensures a consistent structure across files, making it easier for researchers to locate and identify documents. This consistency reduces confusion and streamlines file management.


Improved Searchability:

A standardized naming convention makes searching easier. Users can quickly locate files based on keywords, project names, or other relevant information embedded in the file names, reducing the time spent searching for specific documents.


Ease of Sorting:

Uniform file names make it easier to sort and arrange files in alphabetical or chronological order. This aids in maintaining an organized file structure, especially when dealing with a large volume of documents.


Enhanced Collaboration:

In collaborative environments (such as sharing data with your supervisor), standardized file naming promotes a shared understanding of how files are named and organized.


Version Control:

Including version numbers or dates in file names helps manage version control effectively. This is particularly important in situations where multiple iterations of a document are created, ensuring that users can identify the most recent or relevant version.

By adopting a consistent approach to file naming, researchers can improve their overall file management processes, prevent mistakes, and enhance productivity.


File organization:

Keep reading our blog for an upcoming post on file organization using the TIER protocol.


Written by Carly Huitema