Working with files

Aims and objectives

This module will:

  • provide guidance and information on managing data and how this can impact and support your studies
  • explore the importance of metadata in the digital world
  • examine tools to improve productivity

After completing this module, you will be able to:

  • identify various file types and distinguish their usage
  • apply file management conventions, such as folder structure and version control
  • create storage and backup plans

5. Naming conventions

Naming files on your computer in a logical and understandable way is a good practice to get into. How you name and organise your files is completely personal, but you can save yourself a lot of time by getting into the habit of file naming using descriptive names that give context.

Project structure by Danielle Navarro (YouTube, 8m30s) - Part 1 of a playlist on project structure gives a good overview of what to consider when naming your files:

There is also a slide version of Project structure.

Key points to consider:

  • You may be required to name files in a specific format for assignments, work or groups. For instance, in a group, you might need to add your initials so that it is easy to determine who created or edited that file.
  • Use an underscore character (_) instead of a space. Spaces can cause issues, including when uploading files.
  • Use letters, numbers, hyphens and underscores only. Avoid special characters.
  • Use a hyphen to separate different words that are part of the same "chunk".
  • Use an underscore to separate different "chunks".
  • Add the date at the start of the filename in the format of YYYY-MM-DD. For example, 2018-09-14_LAWS1700_ reading-1.pdf. This file was saved or created on the 14th of September 2018.
  • Be consistent!

If you are making edits on a document and wish to keep a record of the drafts, you should name the different drafts as 'versions' by appending the filename with "v1, v2, etc". This ensures that if a file corrupts or need to a previous version you can access this easily.

An example of bad filing naming: Example of good file naming:
  • Essay1.docx
  • essay2.docx
  • Doc1 - Copy (1).docx
  • Doc2 - Copy.docx
  • Doc1.docx
  • presso.ppt
  • reading.pdf
  • pic for assignment.jpg
  • 2018-09-14_LAWS1700_reading-1.pdf
  • LAWS1700_assignment-1_v1.docx
  • Essay1_picture_BB.jpg
  • EDUC1130_assignment_2.xlsx
  • EDUC1130_group-charter_LG.docx

File names can get long if you are constantly noting which course they are associated with. You can use folders to organise files by courses.

Screenshot of Announcement screen
Screenshot example of folder structure.

Open your files and see if you can easily identify what each file is without opening it. If you can't, consider renaming those files. Additionally, try showing your files to a friend and see if they can guess what the file may contain.

Duration:   Approximately 20 minutes


Graduate attributes

Knowledge and skills you can gain to contribute to your Graduate attributes:

 Independence and creativity

 Critical judgement


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