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How to Name Your Files

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Your website visitors are likely using a wide variety of devices and operating systems (PC, Mac, and Linux, to name a few); following best practices for how to name your files can help prevent any potential issues.

Naming conventions are important for image files as well as downloadable files such as PDFs, documents, and spreadsheets.

Tip: Using default camera filenames like “DSC_0227.jpg” does not provide any info for search engines (nor humans, for that matter) to identify the image. Using short but descriptive file names will make files easier to organize and help with SEO.

Characters/Symbols to Avoid in Filenames

& ampersand

* asterisk

@ at sign

{ left bracket

} right bracket

/ forward slash

\ back slash

% percent

+ plus sign

# pound

$ dollar sign 

= equal sign

< left angle bracket

> right angle bracket

? question mark 

! exclamation point

` backtick

‘ single quotes

“ double quotes

| pipe

: colon

Filename Recommendations

  • Avoid using spaces as they have to be converted to the encoded space character. Use hyphens instead.

You see: My Website Document.pdf
Web Browsers see: /My%20Website%20Document.pdf/

  • Don’t start or end your filename with a period, hyphen, or underscore.
  • Keep your filenames to a reasonable length: ideally under 31 characters.
  • Use lowercase characters; most operating systems are case-sensitive.

Last updated: May 2019