Naming Standard: Web File & Folder Names

The University Naming Standard applies to all files and folders used on CSUDH web servers.  Some common file types are:

  • Web pages: .html, .shtml, .htm, .asp, .php, etc.
  • Images: .png, .jpg, .jpeg, .gif, etc.
  • PDF: .pdf
  • MS Word: .doc, .docx
  • MS Excel: .xls, .xlxs
  • MS Powerpoint: .ppt, .pptx
  • Text: .txt, .text, .rtf, etc.
  • Archive/Compressed: .zip, .rar, .tar, etc.

Web files and folders should use the following rules to ensure they are easy to read, sort correctly, and display friendly URLs:

  1. Avoid spaces. Use dashes instead.
    Browsers will convert space characters to %20 in the URL string.
    • Example:
      Use "2011-11-21-undergraduate-application.pdf"
      Avoid "2011 11 21 undergraduate application.pdf"
  2. Avoid underscores or special characters. (\ / : * ? " < > | [ ] & $ , .)
    The characters listed above are frequently used for specific tasks in an electronic environment. Underscores may be difficult to see when a hyperlinked filename is underlined. It may also create issues when using the Google search engine.
    • Example:
      Use "2011-11-21-application.pdf"
      Avoid "2011_11_21_application.pdf", "2011/11/21_application.pdf"
  3. Use all lowercase.
    This is mostly a precautionary measure as filenames on some servers may be case-sensitive. ("Class-List.html" may differ from "class-list.html")
  4. Use the format "YYYY-MM-DD" when including dates.
    This format will sort files chronologically in the web folder.
    • Example:
      Use "2011-11-21-event.pdf"
      Avoid "11-21-2011-event.pdf", "Nov-21-2011-event.pdf"
  5. Use the format "YYYY-semester" when including a semester year.
    This format will better sort files chronologically in the web folder.
    • Example:
      Use "schedule-2011-fall.pdf"
      Avoid "schedule-fall-2011.pdf", "Nov-21-2011-event.pdf"
  6. Be consistent.
    Use the same naming convention for similar files. This will keep similar files grouped together when sorted.
    • Example:
      Use "memo-001.pdf" and "memo-002.pdf"
      Avoid "memo-001.pdf" and "memorandum-002.pdf"
  7. Be brief yet descriptive. Avoid confusing abbreviations.
    Generally about 25 characters is a sufficient length to capture enough descriptive information for naming. Omit articles (a, an, the), coordinating conjunctions, and prepositions when sensible.
    • Example:
      Use "president-message.pdf" instead of "message-from-the-president.pdf"
      Use "student-application-2011-fall.pdf" instead of "stu-app-for-fa-2011.pdf"
  8. Avoid including the file type in the filename description.
    This is redundant and generally unnecessary.
    • Example:
      Use "2011-events.pdf" instead of "2011-pdf-of-events.pdf"
      Use "2011-grads.jpg" instead of "photo-of-2011-grads.jpg"