File-naming best practices to organize your assets

Organization is key to a successful asset management program. Beginning with clearly named, and easy to identify, files and assets is key to maintaining an organized space where everyone can find what they are looking for.

Every system and platform will be more efficient and productive if the assets that make up the core of the system are thoughtfully and clearly named. File-naming conventions, or best practices, boost the power and efficiency of a digital asset management (DAM) platform.

What are file-naming conventions? #

File-naming conventions is quite simply a framework, or pattern, for how you name a digital file. The idea is to name every file, or asset, something that is identifiable and descriptive. The file names provide information about what the file contains, and how it relates to other files in your system, so that a user will not have to open each and every file to understand what it is for. Clearly identifiable and consistent file names will better support an organized platform where users are able to easily find what they are looking for.

File-naming best practices #

When it comes to file names, every organization will approach the process differently, and that’s okay. In fact, it’s necessary! Define your file-naming conventions around the terminology and needs of your organization. It is almost always easier to adopt a file-naming convention that is adapted to your needs than the other way around.

There are three key elements that every file name should include:

  1. A unique identifier
    This can be a project name, product ID, department, etc. but is something that has clear, identifiable, and unique meaning.
  2. Date
    While Inkbench will track when an asset was uploaded and updated, it is always helpful to include a date notation in the filename itself. This can be as simple as the year the file was created.
  3. Description
    Clearly identifying what a file contains is key, so including a reference to the contents or purpose of a file right in the file name is important.

Depending on your organization, or the file itself, there are additional items you can include in the file name that are helpful: location, version, or creator, and others.

From here, there are so many ways to build a file-naming convention that works for your organization. We have compiled a few tips to keep things organized:

  • Follow a standardized date format, such as YYYMMDD or YYMMDD, to allow file names to be read quickly and sorted chronologically.
  • Keep it simple, and exclude small words like “a,” “the,” “of,” and “to” whenever possible.
  • Avoid using special characters such as ! ? @ # ~ ^ # & % *.
  • Use title case and capitalize the first letter of each principal word.
  • Be descriptive but clear and choose terms that are broadly understood in your organization.
  • Avoid temporary descriptions such as “Amy Working File” that won’t be identifiable to other users or later on down the road.

Guide Your Users #

Finally, file-naming conventions are only effective if all users subscribe to the same rules. To make it easier for your users, develop a brief file-naming guide that explains your rules and best practices. Remember to give examples of effective file names!

Examples of Effective File Names #

The following are a few examples of useful file names:

20210101_NortheastSalesSpringFlyer_v2.pdf

CLIN-200504-PatientIntake.docx

SKU67890_FILTOIL_MAP_2020_FINAL.jpg

COMPANY_ProjectName_Tactic_ProjectType_HeightxWidth.pdf

Building Blocks of an Organized DAM #

Maintaining an organized, productive, and user-friendly asset library is always going to be a work in process. Each new file added obviously increases the size of your library, and along with it your search results. With everyone on the same page as they name and upload files, the overall organization of your library will be so much easier to keep up with.

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