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Best Practices for Naming Files and Folders

Shayna Padovano -

It's a good idea to keep the names of SharePoint folders and files short with no spaces and NO SPECIAL CHARACTERS (!@#$%^&*, etc.).


  • SharePoint won’t upload files that have special characters in the name. Stick with short, alpha-numeric file and folder names. If needed, it is safe to use both dashes (-) and underscores (_) in filenames in SharePoint.
    • If you try to upload a file with a special character in the name, you will likely get an error message.
  • Short site file names are much easier to remember, especially in long paths and URLs.
  • SharePoint has a URL character limit of 255 characters. Since a single blank space is actually represented by three characters (%20) in URLs (it's an HTML thing), using spaces artificially inflates the URL length. 

What can I do instead? 

  • Use versioning to keep track of changes in your files instead of renaming the files and uploading them to the same library or folder.
  • Instead of putting lots of information in the filename, why not add metadata to the file instead? For instance, instead of naming my file “Getting Started with SharePoint 2016 (Training-How Tos) 4.5.2011 version9.docx”, I can name it “SharePointGettingStarted.docx” and then add these Enterprise Keywords: SharePoint, How Tos, Training, 2016.
    • Enterprise Keywords are searchable in SharePoint allowing users to categorize, search, and filter documents and find what they are looking for without clicking through many layers of folders in a document library.


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