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File Naming and Version Control Guidance | Wolfson College Intranet

File Naming and Version Control Guidance

Wolfson College Information and Records Management Guidance: Folder and File Naming Conventions and Version Control

The information saved in the shared drives is a record of the work of the College. Structuring folders consistently and standardising file and folder names makes it easier to locate and manage our information.

This guidance sets out common conventions for use across the College. It applies to the K:\ Drive (department folders) and P:\ Drive (media drive). For further guidance on the appropriate use of these drives, refer to the Data Protection and Storage Use Policy.

1. Structure of the Departmental Folders

Each department has a dedicated folder within the DEPARTMENTS folder on the K:\ Drive, under your department name (e.g. Accommodation, Catering, Housekeeping). Each department folder will have further sub-folders such as:


DepartmentOnly (restricted to members of that department)


Inter-department (access can be given to other users as required)


Purpose-based folders (e.g. Payroll and Groups – accessible to those involved in the process)

These higher-level folders are created by the IT Team, and can only be altered by request.

Below this level, users may create and name their own folders relating to specific activities.

Documents should only be stored in the folders at the bottom of the tree; there should be no documents ‘floating’ at higher levels of the tree.

2. Principles for creating and naming lower-level folders

Folder structure

Think about the practicalities of browsing – try not to create more than three levels of folders, and try to limit the number of subfolders within each folder.

If the number of documents within a folder is becoming unwieldy, create another folder to divide them by date or subject.

Make sure the access permissions for the folder are appropriate for the documents you are filing within it.

Think about the practicalities of deleting documents once they are no longer required, and group them in a way that facilitates this.

Naming folders

Keep folder names succinct and meaningful – they should describe the contents of the folder in an intuitive way.

Avoid acronyms unless they are well known.

The file path of the folder gives it context, so there is no need to repeat information from higher levels (eg Committees>Catering Committee>Minutes>2017).

Avoid terms like ‘General’ and ‘Miscellaneous’ – folders should relate to a particular activity, and it should be possible to describe this in more specific terms.

3. Principles for naming files

K:\Groups\Information And Records Working Group\Policies And Guidance\Filenamingversioncontrol-V1-0.Docx

Good file-naming practice makes it easier to find documents by browsing and searching, to know what the origin and status of a document is, and to manage documents over time.


Keep file names succinct and meaningful. Remember that documents will probably be circulated outside the system in which they are filed, so their filename should summarise what they are and their status.


Avoid acronyms unless they are well known and commonly used (eg the standard abbreviations for committee names used in minutes, such as ‘CATmin2016-10-03’)


Use capital letters to mark the beginning of words (Camel case) rather than spaces or non alphanumeric characters as some systems have difficulty recognising these (e.g. the website). Hyphens can also be used as separators without causing problems.


Try to keep file names shorter than 100 characters, and certainly no longer than 256, as systems often have a limit in place.

When you construct a file name, think about the way that a computer will order the files and the way that you will find them.


Order the elements of a file name according to the way you are most likely to look for it – eg for correspondence, ‘SURNAME firstname/initial Letter (subject?) yyyy-mm-dd’, and for minutes ‘Committee initials yyyy-mm-dd min’


Where documents are numbered, use the two or three digit form of numbers (eg 01, 02, 03…10, 11, 12) so that they will sort in strict numerical order.


Construct dates in the form yyyy-mm-dd so that they will sort in chronological order.

It can be useful to include the filepath in the footer of a document. To do this in Word, select the Insert tab. Within the Text group, go to the Explore Quick Parts dropdown, and select Field. Select the Field ‘Filename’, choose a format, check the ‘Add path to filename’ box, and click OK.

K:\Groups\Information And Records Working Group\Policies And Guidance\Filenamingversioncontrol-V1-0.Docx

4. Version control

In order to manage multiple revisions to a document and ensure that you can locate the right version of a document as needed, you should include a version number in the file name and within the document itself (as a header or on a title page).

If we all adopt the same version numbering convention, it will be easy to determine what version of a document we are looking at. The following scheme allows us to distinguish between draft and final versions, and subsequent re-drafts and new final versions. In file names, the decimal point should be replaced with a hyphen (eg v0-1).


v0-1 First draft

v0-2, v0-3… minor revisions to the draft


v1-0 Final version

v1-1, v1-2… etc. further minor revisions


v2-0 New final version

K:\Groups\Information And Records Working Group\Policies And Guidance\Filenamingversioncontrol-V1-0.Docx

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