Naming files correctly by Chris Menard

Posted on:  11/12/2016

A file naming convention (FNC) can help you stay organized by making it easy to identify the file(s) that contain the information that you are looking for just from its title and by grouping files that contain similar information close together.  

A good FNC can also help others better understand and navigate through your work.

Menard's rules for naming files:

  1. Always start off the name with a four-digit year, two digit month, and two digit day. Example: May 8, 2017, would be 20170508
  2. No spaces in your file names. This is bad: 20170508 CPR Training with Chris Menard and Carol Matthews
  3. Use underscores and dashes.
  4. After the date, use the project name and other important information.  This is a good file name: 20170508_CPR_Training_Menard-C_Matthews-C

Other recommendations:

If your company has a File Naming Convention policy, follow it. If your company doesn't have an FNC, your department should have one if you share files. Lastly, even if your department and company don't have one, you should have your own FNC. It will make your life easier when searching for files.

Example from FNC Table below

Take the information in the table below. The left column contains bad file names and the right column contains good file names. 

Bad Good
myrtle beach aug 2014 20140706_Myrtle_Beach_SC_vacation
cbisa linda master FY16 november 20161118_CBISA_Master_Linda-Jones_GMC
CPR procedures at Duluth training - Nov 17 20160805_CPR_Duluth_training_roster
PCB Bill and Tammi 20150724_PCB_Panama_City_Beach_FL_vacation_Bill-and-Tammi
CPR procedures at Lawrenceville training in Nov 2016 20160805_CPR_Lawrenceville_training_roster
CPR Training at Lawrenceville training in Nov 2015 20150914_CPR_Lawrenceville_training_roster
2014 South Carolina MB Conference in May 20140523_Myrtle_Beach_SC_conference-nursing-education
11-03-2016 CBISA linda and chris 20161103_CBISA_Wilson-L_Menard-C
2016 CBISA linda and chris on 11-5-2016 20161105_CBISA_Wilson-L_Menard-C
Q1 MSO 2016 schedule 20160101_MSO_q1_schedule
2016 MSO q2 schedule 20160401_MSO_q2_schedule

YouTube video on naming files by Chris Menard

The video below shows you how to:

  1. batch rename files
  2. use tags in your file names.

Video is only 3:20. At 1:20 is when I use tags in the file names.

Chris Menard

Chris Menard is a Microsoft Certified Trainer (MCT) and is employed full-time as a Trainer for BakerHostetler, one of the nation’s largest law firms. Menard has a YouTube channel with over 800 technology videos covering Excel, Word, Zoom, Teams, Outlook, Gmail, Google Calendar, and other resources that over 12 million viewers have appreciated. Menard also does public speaking at conferences for CPAs and Administrative Professionals. Connect with Chris on LinkedIn at or on YouTube at