Naming Files

The following file naming techniques are from many years of experience dealing with art files. You might not be able to use this exactly, but it might help you in figuring out a system that works best for you.


Client Code: use the first 4 letters of the client’s company name followed by the first 4 digits of their Customer Number (determined by your invoicing system).
Example: ACME PUBLISHING CO. would be “ACME1234”.

Customer Number: Determined by your invoicing system, a sequential numbering of each client, never the same number used twice, always the same for each client (doesn’t change from job to job).

File Code: Use an abbreviated 4 letters for type of printed piece followed by a sequence of 4 numbers.
Example: Acme Publishing Co.’s letterhead for John Smith would be “LTRH0001”, Jane Doe’s letterhead would be “LTRH0002”, John Smith with a revision from the last print would be “LTRH0003”, but file name wouldn’t change if it is a direct repeat. Address labels would be “LABE0001”.


Sales would need to assign the Client Code, Customer Number and File Code for each NEW job. Each REPEAT JOB would get the same codes as before.
How The Art Department Would Name Files: The Acme Publishing Co. Letterhead would be named: “ACME1234-LTRH0001” in the proper “ACME1234” folder.

Proofs: Any proofs (usually PDF) created get its own folder called “PROOFS” located under the ACME1234 folder.
Example: Proofs would be saved as ACME1234-LTRH0001-P01.PDF, “P01” is for how many times each proof is sent.

Supplied Artwork: Any artwork supplied by the customer would get its own folder called “Supplied Artwork” located under the ACME1234 folder, each folder should be marked with the date in which it was received. Don’t touch these files once you have created your new file, they are only for reference.


Other Idea: Organize each Client Code by the finished file size.
Example: Instead of the Acme Publishing Co. Letterhead located in the “ACME1234” folder, it would be in a “8.5×11” folder. Then within that folder it would be named: “ACME1234-LTRH0001”

Additional Info:

  • If the pressman had a question regarding the Acme Publishing Co. Letterhead plate, he could look on the plate/printed sample for the file name, “BOOK0002”, which should also appear on the order sheet.
  • No two file names would have the same name.
  • If the Client Code was lost, we could still find the file by searching the File Code.
  • Do not use employee initials in file naming.
  • Do not use “new” in file name.
  • Do not use spaces in file name.
  • If an overflow of codes occur (ie. LTRH9999) then start adding a letter of the alphabet to the preceding 4 letters and start the remaining digits back to zero, “LTRH9999” becomes “LTRHA0001”.