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Document File Names

Document file names covers how to name document files and best practices for uploading and linking to documents from your webpage.

What is a document file name? 

A document file name is the name you give the electronic file copy of a document. 

The document file name does not need to be the same as the actual document. In fact, you can use the shortest version of the name that's possible. Try to keep the file name between 5 and 15 words. Your objective should be to make sure the document url is short, easy to read and consistent.

Best practice

  • Keep it simple – Leave the version number off of the file name. Complex naming and multiple versions might be needed on your shared drive, but not on the web. This also decreases the chance that links will break when you replace documents.
  • Be descriptive  Use key words in the filename that would allow you to search for and find the file later. Use keywords and other text that is meaningful to the website visitor, for example: if the document is about cleaning a j-tube use that text, not some formal text that maybe has language the visitor won't understand.
  • Don't use spaces – web browsers turn spaces between words into "%20" in the URL, which makes it long and messy. Use all lowercase letters separated by a hyphen.  For example, recycling-waste-segregation-guide.pdf.
  • Don't use symbols or special characters.  For example, don't use ampersands (&), exclamation points, question marks etc.
  • Use YYYYMMDD format for dates. For example, jtube-guide-20140921.pdf. Only use dates in file names if you need to display the date, otherwise put the date in the footer of the document itself and keep the file name generic. Ex. jtube-guide.pdf. This keeps links to that file from breaking.


  • Actual document name: Tube Feeding at Home: A Guide for Parents and Caregivers
  • Document file name: tube-feeding-at-home.pdf​

SOURCE: Document File Names ( )
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