University Library DePaul Library

File Management 101

One of the easiest and best things you can do to manage your data is to come up with a consistent file naming system for both folders and individual files.

Folder Structure

Creating folders to keep similar information together can expedite finding files at a later point. Give the folder names meaning. It may make sense to number the folders in order to keep the folders in a particular order, otherwise the folders will be organized in alphabetic order. 

File Naming Conventions

Consider selecting a name for a file that makes sense for the project as well as the date that the file was created. Using a standard such as <project or grant name>_<YYYYMMDD>_<version number (optional)>.<file extension> will help keep track of your files, particularly in situations where many files are being created for the same project.

Examples:

CHIviolence_20160101.xlsx

GDPreport_20151215_v2.docx

Note: Refrain from using any special characters in the file name, such as ,!@#$%^&*(), as well as a blank space. The only period that should be in the filename is the one that directly precedes the file extension (i.e., .pdf, .xlsx, .docx). 

For more best practices, see the Electronic File Organization Tips document from the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

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