Custom file naming for document naming standardization

A descriptive, properly named file allows users to learn more about the content of a document without having to open it. Metadata fields can be further leveraged by setting up standardized naming conventions for a document schema. All files will be renamed according to the configured naming pattern once the file is added to the library.

For example, it is possible to have all documents that are added to the system associated with the purchase order schema have a naming convention that starts with a PO then will be followed a dash and then Purchase Order number such as PO-82749204.pdf. As documents are added to the library and associated with the purchase order schema they will be automatically renamed according to this naming convention using the metadata that is associated with the document.

Custom naming patterns can be added to all schema types: electronic records, electronic documents, and offline documents. Only the current version of the document will be renamed if custom file naming is enabled after documents have already been added to the schema.

If a metadata field does not have a value and it is used in the naming pattern, that portion of the naming pattern will be ignored. If the information must be included in the name you can make the metadata field a required field.

The maximum number of characters in a document name is 100. Custom naming will not create a name longer than 100 characters regardless of the contents of the fields that are used to make the custom name. This limit is in place to reduce the risk of conflicts with filename and path length limits in Microsoft Windows. The maximum size of the filename and path in Windows is 260 characters. To avoid conflict with Window's limit when making a local copy of a document from the document management system, make sure the local folder path is 160 characters or less. The user will see an error message if the limit is exceeded.

The following reserved characters cannot be used in file names:

  • < (less than)
  • > (greater than)
  • : (colon)
  • " (double quote)
  • / (forward slash)
  • \ (backslash)
  • | (vertical bar or pipe)
  • ? (question mark)
  • * (asterisk)

To set custom file naming

  1. In the Web Client, go to Administration Panel > Library Configuration > Document Schemas > Schema Name > Step 5 Custom Naming.
  • Alternatively, in FDA go to Administration > Manage Schemas > Schema Name > Custom Naming tab.
  1. Select the Automatically rename files using the custom file naming pattern settings option.
  • If you do not want custom naming, select the Do not rename files option.
  1. In the Custom File Naming Pattern Setting area, select one of the following options on how to manage blank spaces:
  • Leave blank spaces
  • Replace blank spaces with an underscore (_)

Use caution when using the underscore between fields in the custom name. User commonly search on the contents of the document name using full text search. The underscore character works like any letter in a word when it comes to being indexed by the full text search engine. A document named "Engineering policy" would be have the name indexed as two words. However, a document with the name "Engineering_policy" would have the name indexed as one word. A user searching for "engineering" would only find the first document. Instead, the would need to know that they would have to search for "engineering*". A second issue may exist with using underscore characters: the maximum word size for the full text index. By default, this maximum size is 32 characters. A document name like "Engineering_policy_for_remote_teams" would not be indexed and could not be found even with the wildcard method.

  • Replace blank spaces with a hyphen (-)

Hypens have similar considerations to underscores, but they can be more useful in document names. The actual behavior in a search is defined in the search engine configuration. By default, hyphens will be treated as spaces in the full text index.

  1. In the File Name Prefix field, enter a prefix (up to 15 characters) for the filename. For example, if you are setting up a purchase order, you can set this to P.O.
  2. In the Constant column, provide 0, 1, or 2 characters to divide this field from the prior field. The default is underscore (_).
  3. In the Profile Field column, select a metadata field, a system value such as document version, owner, document id, created on date and so on, or a custom text string. All metadata fields for that schema will appear in the list. System values include:
Profile Field Description Default format
Document version The version number of the document. <version number>.00
Owner The user who added the document into the system. Firstname Lastname
Document id The internal document id number. The number to the left of the decimal in the FileHold id. FileHold ID
Created on The document create date. yyyy-mm-dd
Last modified date The date that the newest document version was added to FileHold. yyyy-mm-dd
Size The size of the file in bytes.
  • B (bytes) if file size is less than 1000 bytes
  • KB (kilobytes) if file size is greater than 1000 bytes and less than 1000000 bytes
  • MB (megabytes) if file size is greater than or equal to 1000000 bytes


Original filename The name of the manually entered file name. If this name is changed manually in the metadata pane, the original filename also changes.  

Profile fields that have no value will not be included in the document name. The constant prefix will also not be included for these fields. If there are no profile fields that have values, the document name will not be changed even when there is a prefix or suffix value.

  1. In the Field Mask field, enter how the Profile Field will be formatted. See the tables in Field masks for rules.
Custom file naming standardization example
  1. In the File Suffix Name field, enter a suffix up to 30 characters in length.
  2. Click Refresh to see the sample naming pattern.
Custom file naming sample naming pattern
  1. Click Next in the Document Schema Wizard to configure Auto-Filing.

Field masks

The field masks column provides an opportunity to format the profile field value before including it in the document name.

The rules for setting field mask values based on the type of profile field being used can be found in the table below.

Text values

R<nn> Extracts the rightmost characters in a string. Replace <nn> with the number of characters to extract from the right of the value. For example, if you have the value "MyFieldValue", a field mask of R3 would extract "lue" for the custom name.
L<nn> Specifies leftmost characters in a string. Replace <nn> with the number of characters to extract from the left of the value. For example, if you have the value "MyFieldValue", a field mask of L4 would extract "MyFi" for the custom name.

Dropdown and drilldown menu metadata fields are considered to have text values in this context. When a dropdown menu has multiple values each value is joined with the others using a space between each. Drilldown values are combined into a single value according to the full path setting and separator in the field configuration.

Numeric values

9 Optional digit placeholder.
. Specifies the location of a mandatory decimal point.
0 Located left or right of a mandatory decimal point, forces padding with zeros.
() Places parentheses around the mask if the number is less than 0
+ Places + in front of positive values and a minus sign in front of negative values.
- Places a space character in front of positive values and a minus sign in front of negative values.

Date values

d Day of the month as digits; no leading zero for single-digit days
dd Day of the month as digits; leading zero for single-digit days.
ddd Day of the week as a three-letter abbreviation.
dddd Day of the week as its full name.
m Month as digits; no leading zero for single-digit months.
mm Month as digits; leading zero for single-digit months.
mmm Month as a three-letter abbreviation.
mmmm Month as its full name.
yy Year as last two digits; leading zero for years less than 10.
yyyy Year represented by four digits.

If you do not specify a date mask, the default mask is yyyy-mm-dd.

Custom text strings

The custom text string profile field is a special case use of the field mask. When the two character constant before a field is not enough, a custom text string with up to three characters can be included in the custom name. Along with the constant prefix this will allow up to six characters to be added. For example, a custom name with invoice number and customer name includes the abbreviation "INV" in the middle separated by hyphens like "788845-INV-Acme Widget Corp" could be configured as follows:

Constant Profile field Field mask
  Invoice number (metadata field)  
- Custom Text String INV
- Customer name (metadata field)  

Including a hyphen as the constant for a separator may allow the full text search engine to treat each part of the document name as a separate word. Conversely, including an underscore as the separator can prevent this.