Uncategorized Writing tips

Using Longer File Names

As I continue to add files to Dropbox (internal link), I realize their total may be in the thousands. While I should neatly organize all my documents into appropriate folders, I know that’s not going to happen. Instead, I increasingly rely on the Dropbox search mechanism.  Longer file names help.

Instead of naming a file: Background_on_Humboldt, I now try to be more specific and add key words that will help me later. My new file name may be:


Perhaps unique to Dropbox and the Mac is that words don’t need to be separated by underline marks. If I write HumboldtCounty as one word, Dropbox will seize on just the Humboldt part if I search for that name.

How long can a file name be? There’s disagreement here. But it’s probably over 200. (external link) And Windows and Mac operating systems may differ. For Windows machines, path length is important. If you have folders within folders then the path to a file gets longer and longer. That takes away from file name length.

In the case of a file named Jensen, see how the path name increases in character as folder names increase?


It’s no longer a six character file name but 34. This path consideration may not be a problem with Dropbox hosted files. You would, however, run into a problem if a particular program could not handle that file name length.

I’m also starting to date files whenever I can. This will help me organize automatically. So this file should actually be (instead of what I wrote above):





By thomasfarley01

Business writer and graphic arts gadfly.

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