MediaBeacon Blog

File Naming Best Practices for Asset Management

Any company, no matter how big or small, will likely have a large amount of assets that are saved to various drives throughout every computer in every office. For employees, especially those in separate departments from one another, locating a specific file can be a real headache. Sorting through file after file on a never-ending search for the right document or asset is not only frustrating, it is also incredibly time consuming.

When you give up and ask someone from the department where you think the file originated, it can take a while for them to respond if they are away from their email, in a meeting, or simply don’t know where they ended up storing the file. There are few things more aggravating than wanting to get something done, but not having the resources to do so. Lost files can understandably create irritable employees and can be detrimental to the success, as well as the overall timeline, of expensive projects.

If you don’t believe us, take a look at a Tyson Foods, Inc. employee’s struggle to find the infamous waffle breaded chicken tenders digital image.

While there are many different ways you can name files for organization and storage, the key for any business is to maintain consistency. Keep your workspace productive with the following best file naming practices for asset management.

Simple, Yet Descriptive

While this may sound like a bit of an oxymoron, it’s not impossible to achieve a file naming system that is both simple and descriptive enough so that anyone can find the exact file they are looking for. A common way to name a file is to set up a clear directory structure that features the project title, date, and a unique identifier.

For example, asset managers from Pepsi may have a file set-up in this manner:


By using this format consistently with all their files, Pepsi employees can easily find all the assets they need for their Super Bowl ad campaign because they will be able to differentiate between each file easily based on the descriptive identifiers.

Consistency is Key

As mentioned, consistency is essential when it comes to organizing files. When new employees are onboarded, a consistent file naming structure will allow them to find what they need without having to reach out to various departments to acquire the location of the file.

Consistent file naming practices will allow you to dispose of obsolete records easier, which will free up space in your drives and keep files more organized. Organized files means your teams are empowered to get assets to your clients and prospects as soon as they are needed. Your business will run more efficiently when files are made readily available for whoever needs them, which will help with faster sales and quicker communication that builds trust and credibility throughout your organization.

Avoid Special Characters and Spaces

Avoid using spaces in your file names. Some software will not recognize file names with spaces and can harm office efficiency as you waste hours trying to find a file that you know exists, yet it eludes you like a thief in the night.

Instead, use one of the following in place of a space:

  • Underscores, e.g.
  • Dashes, e.g.
  • No separation, e.g.
  • Capitalize the first letter of each section of the text, e.g.

Special Characters such as: ~ ! @ # $ % ^ & * ( ) ` ; < > ? , [ ] { } ‘ ” should be avoided, as they have been known to cause trouble with parsing a command line (path), making them difficult to organize and locate.

Use Leading Zeros for Numbers

To ensure your files are sorted in sequential order, use leading zeros for any files where numerical order is important. For example, “001, 002, 003… 010, 011… 100, 101” will lead to more organized files than “1, 2, 3, etc.” This ensures that files will in fact be sorted in sequential order because each number will be equal in length.

Consider Abbreviations That Are Universal to Your Organization

Sometimes your file names will include more information than project name, date, and a unique identifier. In these cases, you can still keep your file names short and simple by using abbreviations. These abbreviations should be communicated across the company so that they are recognizable for everyone in your organization.

Be Mindful of Different Versions

With most digital assets, there will likely be revisions or different versions for specific mediums (i.e. an asset will be altered as it makes its way through each department that is working on it, or an image that is shared on Instagram may differ from one that is posted on Twitter). For this reason, it is important to include the version in the file name.

For example:

V001, V002, V003 (where the larger the number, the more recent the asset), or FB, IG, TW (Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter).

You can also use software that assists in keeping track of versions and allows assets to be downloaded in different file types, which are features that MediaBeacon can provide.

MediaBeacon – Digital Asset Management Systems To Keep Your Marketing Efficient

Rely less on file naming with the advanced search and store capabilities of a DAM solution. MediaBeacon digital asset management (DAM) is a digital library that stores images, videos, artwork, and other digital assets for your company. It’s a solution that allows you to attach metadata, set up folder structures, and tag your assets to make them accessible to your teams when they need them most. With DAM, creatives and marketers can search for assets just like they would search in Google, but you have total control of who can access and use the content.

Reach out today to start implementing a DAM that will not only help control and manage your media assets, but will empower them for use in the media supply chain.