Records Management Section
The University of Edinburgh Records Management Section

Standard Naming Conventions for Electronic Records

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Audience and purpose

  1. This document has been prepared as part of the Policy and Planning (PP) Records Management Project and is aimed primarily at all colleagues working within Policy and Planning (PP). However, it is hoped that the conventions will also be applicable to colleagues working in other University units, whether they are administrative or academic units.
  1. This document is intended to provide a common set of rules to apply to the naming of electronic records. The conventions are primarily intended for use with Windows based software and documents such as word-processed documents, spreadsheets, presentations, emails and project plans. 'File names' are the names that are listed in the file directory and that users give to new files when they save them for the first time.
  1. The conventions assume that a logical directory structure or filing scheme is in place and that similar conventions are used for naming the levels and folders within the directory structure.

Why use naming conventions?

  1. Naming records consistently, logically and in a predictable way will distinguish similar records from one another at a glance, and by doing so will facilitate the storage and retrieval of records, which will enable users to browse file names more effectively and efficiently. Naming records according to agreed conventions should also make file naming easier for colleagues because they will not have to ‘re-think’ the process each time.

What should I do?

  1. Use the file naming rules to name your electronic documents.

Version 10, July 2007


  1. Based on office standards produced by an MIS development unit, July 2002, and published by JISC infoNet at:, and on Good practice in managing electronic documents using Office 97 on a local area network published by The National Archives at:

Author: Anne Thompson

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Page last updated: Thursday July 05 2012