The ideal file and directory naming convention

Ideal practises and methods to have an organized folder and file structure whether it be on a local system or over a network.

Firstly some seriously basic principles to follow, I have left out ones that are a personal choice and up to the individual:


  • Have spaces in folder or file names.
  • Put month and day as string (April, Monday etc).
  • Set long file names, use the directory to tell the full story.
  • Have directories with thousands of items (files).
  • Change naming structure, stick to one.
  • Create unnecessary file conversions if not using (ARW to jpg).


  • Use YYYY-MM-DD (Year-month-day) format: 2020-04-22.
  • Two-digit months and days: 01 not just 1.
  • Underscore, dash or camel case instead of a space.
  • Include version to be sortable: _2 or V2 instead of _two.
  • Avoid using abbreviations.
  • Start folder tree small and branch out.
  • Separate file types (eg images and videos).
  • Be specific. ‘videos’ folder could be: movies, tv-series, youtube, sport etc.

file folder naming methods


An example of my drone and photography directory structure looks like this:







The raw (straight from device) files are kept in the root of the location for that date, whilst if I edit images and rename them for “SEO” they will go into a subfolder called blog.

Each device gets its own directory in videos and images, this means that a location for a date gets split up depending on devices. Obviously this method causes more directory hopping i.e all that days recordings and photos aren’t in the same spot. However, it is more organised and refined.

I know where to go if I want to get drone pictures for a location on x date rather than sorting through camera pictures as well or even videos.

My media folder could also contain these folders: recordings, movies, tv-shows, youtube, sport, web-images, music and podcasts.

This is subjective, sorting the media directory into 3 main subdirectories as video, audio and images may be more appealing.

The main points are no spaces in filenames, consistency, YYYY-MM-DD and not using filenames as the full describer, let the folder structure help that where applicable.