Organizing and naming your files effectively will make a significant impact on your ability to locate them and understand what they contain.
When it comes to file naming: be descriptive and consistent.
When it comes to file organization: develop conventions, record the conventions, and stick to those conventions.
When constructing a file name, consider using one or more of the following:
Version control is the process of managing changes to files.
Manual version control can be as simple as adding a version number or a date (using YYYYMMDD format) to the end of the file name.
Examples: ASIST_abstract_v3.docx or ASIST_abstract_20180522.docx.
You can also use version control software or tools such as Github.
For more depth, see:
Version Control Brief, a short guide which goes over both manual and tool-based options.
Version Control & Authenticity, which focuses on manual options, produced by the UK Data Archive.
File Renaming Tools
Say you have a folder-based organization structure, and you have a file which you want to appear in multiple folders. What's the best way to approach this?
Simply copying the file will open you up to issues of version control (did I update both files?), as well as taking up valuable space.
Instead, you should create a file shortcut (in Windows) or a file alias (in Mac) in the additional folder(s) where you would like the file to be located. When you click on the file shortcut/alias, it will pull the file from its true location and open it.