Here are some suggestions to select file names that won’t create problems when you are dealing with technical documents:
(1) Watch out for the length of your file names.
The length limit for Path + File Name is 255 characters for Windows XP, 260 characters for Windows Vista and Windows 7.
So you have to be careful when moving your files from one directory to another. If the path of the new directory (folder) is much longer than the first one, you may get an error message. That’s why shorter the file name the better it is.
Mac systems in general have a Path Name + File Name limit of 255 characters, depending on the specific OS you may be using.
UNIX Path Name + File Name should not be longer than 256 characters.
(2) Do not use the following characters in your file name just to be in the safe side:
\ / ? : * ” > < |
Also stay away from such special characters like © or @. On a Mac, do not use any character for which you need to press the Option key to generate.
(3) Do not use different cases to differentiate identically-names files.
For example, here is a bad practice:
myfile.doc versus MyFILE.doc
I guarantee you this will lead to some sort of problem if not immediately then eventually.
Instead, differentiate these two files by adding an UNDERSCORE and a (version) number, like:
myfile_1.doc versus myfile_2.doc
(4) Think twice before changing the names of your existing files and directories (folders) since that may lead to broken paths.
For example, if you change the names of files included in a FrameMaker book, then FM will display file icons with a QUESTION MARK since it will not be able to locate those files.
Same thing happens when you work with embedded images. If you change the name of an embedded image file, you need to re-assign the embedded path to the image (by re-importing the image) in order to display it without any problems.
Every time you change the name of your files remember that they won’t be available anymore through the “Recently Opened” or “Recent Documents” list links that almost every word- or image-processing application offer these days.