We’ve all had the problem of creating several versions of a document and then digging through them to find the one we’re looking for, right?

The best way to solve this is through the use of naming conventions. You need to assign categories, dates, and other specific identifying data to files to easily keep track of them.  Using naming conventions also allows you to keep several versions of a document by using multiple dates with the same filename.

Here are some examples:

Template Example Notes
Date – Client – Document 2012-07-17 – J. Smith – Contract
Date – Category – Filename 2012-07-17 – Accounting – Income statement
Date – Filename 20120717 – Workshop slides Use this if you have a folder structure that categorizes the documents
Filename – Date Invoice – 20120717 Use this if you have a folder structure that categorizes the documents and you don’t prefer date order


Hint: Most software doesn’t allow the use of a forward slash (/) in filenames.  It’ll be easiest for you to get in the habit of using a dash (-) instead, or no punctuation at all.

Several of our clients have saved tons of time and frustration by implementing their naming conventions. One client even uses this idea for both Evernote and his computer files. Choose a naming convention that makes sense to you, and use it consistently to see a steady improvement in the ease of finding your documents.

For more information on using naming conventions, including lots more ideas and examples, click the link below for a tip sheet created by York University.

Naming Conventions Tip Sheet