• IT@UC Knowledge Base

 SharePoint - Naming Conventions Guide

 Guide for the best practices in SharePoint naming conventions for URL's, files, directories and sites.

It's a good idea to keep the names of SharePoint sites, subsites, libraries, lists, folders, and files short with no spaces and NO SPECIAL CHARACTERS.


1.   Short site collection, site, library, list and file names are much easier to remember, especially in long paths and URLs.

2.   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 in your site, collection, and library URL/names artificially inflates the URL length.  For instance, a URL like this one:

https://share.uc.edu/SPServices/Lists/Questions Comments  Suggestions/overview.aspx

appears to be 83 characters, when it is actually 87 characters because of the blank spaces in the URL:


3.   When naming documents, special characters (such as plus signs, braces, brackets, parentheses, etc.) can prevent SharePoint from indexing a file correctly. Or, it may fail to be indexed at all. In some cases, special characters in filenames can cause an HTTP 404 File Not Found or HTTP 400 Bad Request error (see the IETF RFC 2396).

4.   It's always a good idea to use simple, short, alpha-numeric list, library, file, and folder names and avoid special characters, such as ` ~ ! @ # $ % ^ & * ( ) = + { } [ ] | \ : ; " ' < , > . ? / ), when saving files to a web-based environment.  It is safe to use both dashes (-) and underscores (_) in filenames in SharePoint.


What can I do instead?

SharePoint allows you to use other tools, such as versioning, metadata, and search, to add important information to your documents in order to help users find what they are looking for.  Instead of putting lots of information in the filename, why not add metadata to the file (e.g., subject, title, keywords, etc.) instead? For instance, instead of naming my file

Getting Started with SharePoint 2013 (Training-How Tos) 4.5.2011 version9.docx

I named it


then added meta data to the document’s properties:

            Title:                Getting Started with SharePoint

            Tags:                SharePoint, How Tos, Training, 2013, SHS,

            Category:        How To

            Subject:          SharePoint Hosting Service Information

            Comments:     Effective 2011/04/05


All metadata added to a file is searchable, which allows the file to be found readily when searching. Metadata and tagging can also be use to categorize, sort and filter documents in a SharePoint list or library.


How to add metadata to an Office Document (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc.)

Adding metadata to Office documents makes them easier to categorize, search for, and find in SharePoint. Adding metadata to an Office document is easy. For this example, we’ll look at metadata added to a test Microsoft Word document used in our SharePoint Demo site:

1.      Open the document in the client software (Microsoft Word)

2.      Click the File tab on the ribbon

3.      On the right side of the Info pane, you’ll see a list of properties. Click the Show All Properties link at bottom right.

4.   You’ll now see a list of properties (metadata) that include Title, Tags, Comments, Status, Categories, Subject, Company, and any other custom metadata you may have added. In this case, we added Semester, Sport, SortOrder, Likes, and Ratings to our document library, so all documents added to that library will carry that custom metadata.

5.      To edit the metadata in your document, just click in the field where it says “Add text” or “Add Comments” and enter the pertinent information.

6.      Remember to save your document to embed the metadata in the document, then upload it to your SharePoint document library.


When you upload that document, all of the metadata that you added will be indexed and available for searching. For instance, use the search center and enter “12SS Golf 1.3” in the search box. Even though that text only exists in the metadata and not in the body of the document, it is still indexed and found through SharePoint Search.


Rate this article - 1 to 5 Stars
Note: you must be signed in to use this feature