What's your system for file naming?

I’m always interested in other people’s workflow so I was wondering how others name and sort their files and folders?

I tend to start my filename with the date I started working on it or continued working on it. The order of the number is YYMMDD so I can sort files quickly to show the latest file I worked on. For instance for today it would be 170523. After that I just add the name of the project and put it in the Rhino folder of the project.
That projects’ folder goes into the clients’ folder which each has its own number.
So practically it would be like this:

170523 projectnameA

To some this might be overdoing it but, in contrast to my desk space, I like to keep my digital folders clean. I do end up sometimes with multiple files edited on different days but I like to be able to go back into previous files in case I did something wrong or lost something. The problem with this is that I sometimes get a folder full of different versions and in case of heavy files take up quite some unnecessary space.
How do you guys deal with this?

I thought the OS file system already does this with the file creation and last modified dates, visible in Windows explorer or OS X finder when set to “list” display style.

Usually something like:
[assetNumber]_AssetName_YYMMDD_FreeSpace(notes, status, etc.)_[artistInitials].3dm


Lets not forget about often seen standard:




True, but for some reason I like to quickly see when the file was created without having to turn the list display style on. Also when I look back into e-mails I’ve sent I can in a quicker way see from which date the file was for instance.

i use Client_AbbreviatedMonth_Year for the folder name then the names of specific files within that folder will vary.

i also use macOS tagging for projects… which makes it real easy to find all related files regardless of where they may be stored on the system… or at the end of a project, gather up all the related files and move them to a single place for archiving… they’re easy to use since the tagging mechanism is in all the save dialogs so you just tag the files upon initially saving them without needing to go outside the application or do any other steps.

macOS is (to me) really sweet for managing files these days.

i only have single working files and all the various versions/snapshots are stored in that one file… you can revert to any point which was previously saved or even do something like → go back in time in the .3dm, copy an object that was once there, paste it into the current version…etc.

it’s basically only storing new info added to the file in the versions… so, if i have a 20MB file, draw a line, save a version… the file doesn’t now become 40MB… it’s still just 20MB plus a few kb for the new line…

the sweetest though (again, for me at least) is Sierra’s addition of desktop/document syncing… basically, for all my current/active projects and files, i just keep them on the desktop… and when i open the laptop, the desktop is the same as my imac… all my files are there too… and on my phone… without me even having to do anything :wink:
backups work the same way… i don’t do anything and my files are automatically backing up to the cloud as well as a physical wifi drive.

i guess my point is this:
there’s a huge advantage to using macOS if you’re not naturally organized when it comes to file management and whatnot. it’s like having a secretary that takes care of all the boring paperwork for you :wink:

if you’re an organized person by nature and don’t mind keeping strict rules in place to manage your files then maybe not so much of an advantage.

1 Like


This is the proper way to name files:

Product Name Version Date Designer


Product Name is the description of the part - all project managers use descriptions.
Note that Version is not the same as Revision.
Version is a conceptual - large scale - change.
Revision level is what the date is for.
And the Designer notation is so we know who to blame.

1 Like