Archives – File Naming Guidelines

Here are some tips on how to name your paper files. These guidelines should be used when organizing your files. They can also be applied to your electronic documents. See Organizing Your Electronic Records for extra details.

Rule #1

The most important rule is to name the file in a way that is meaningful to you.

When looking for a file or document, you should be able to determine a folder’s relevance without have to thumb through its contents.

Elements of a File Name

1. Subject, Personal, or Corporate Name:

Does the file relate to a specific topic or activity? A committee or organization? A person? Include this element in the file title.

If the file relates to a subject, be sure to include the key words. e.g. Records Management

If the file is about a person, consider whether file arrangement will be alphabetical by surname; if so, enter the surname first. e.g. Galston, Blair

2. Document Type

Often, documents within a file will be of a specific type. As far as possible, identify the predominant document type within the file. e.g. Policy & Procedures

3. Date

For files that are regularly replaced each calendar or fiscal year, include the date in the file name. e.g. Budget 2007

Sample Folder Label

Sample File Label

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