Selecting the Best File Naming Scheme

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We suggest you apply these rules when constructing your file renaming scheme:

1. File names should be unique

2. File names should be meaningful

3. File names should be short

4. File name scheme should be strictly applied

Of course you can use your own rules but sticking to the rules listed here allows you to avoid many filename problems while retaining a flexible file renaming scheme. RoboImport has several file naming template samples as used by many photographers.        


1. Unique File Name

Allocating unique file names to your images allows you to avoid many name conflict problems when subsequently copying between folders, editing, or sharing your files. Files with unique names are not dependant on your chosen folder hierarchy for their uniqueness.

Unique file names can be constructed by combining several image file properties, such as the creation date and time, camera model, camera serial number, image number and so on. The token system built in to RoboImport allows you to easily extract such information from the image files.

Certain file properties may be well duplicated among your image collection but you can always find a particular combination of properties to guarantee uniqueness. This will avoid any possibility of file name conflicts with the subsequent inadvertent overwriting of files during file copy or move operations


2. Meaningful File Name

Files may be more easily identified if you include some of the image properties in the file names. Which image properties should you include? Try to recall what sort of properties you often look for when searching through image files and use them. The following image properties are often used: Camera model, image creation date and/or time, the event where the photo shoot occurred, the place where the image was taken, the image type and so on. You can also add a special file version identifier at the end of the file to distinguish the original file from subsequent versions of the image (-e for edited files, -w for web-versions, etc).

Here are some examples of file names and their meanings:

20030312_120134_350D_02.jpg - This image was taken on March 12, 2003 at 12:01:34 using a Canon EOS 350D.
20050819_MyBirthday_1002-w.jpg. - The image is from a set taken during my birthday on August 19, 2005. The "-w" suggests that this is a "web" version with a lower resolution than the original image which has a similar filename but without the -w..


3. Short File Name

This secondary rule may be relevant where problems occur with long filenames. For example:

Some devices or applications may not support long filenames.
An application workspace is not endless and files with long names may get cropped.


4. Strict File Name Rules

Following the strict rules described above allows you to reorganize your collection at a future time using the RoboImport, template scripts. The rules also make it easier to perform various automated tasks. The resulting property values should have fixed lengths or variable lengths separated by a delimiter symbol.

Here is an example:

Using 20050215_30D_SummerVacation.CR2 is preferable to 20050215_30DSummerVacation.CR2 because in the first case we can correctly parse the image name using the _ delimiter. In the second case RoboImport cannot separate the Camera Model property from the variable length Event property.

In those cases where a particular property value is not available the associated property field in the filename will be filled with a default value. For example, if RoboImport cant determine the year an image was created it would use 0000 as the year value when inserting it into the filename.


Examples of good file naming


Below is a list of file name examples which use all the above file naming rules:



%HH : Image creation time, hours

%MM : Image creation time, minutes

%inum : Image number. If the original file name is IMG_1002.JPG the image number after transfer will be 1002

%smodel : Short camera model name

%ext : The file extension of the original filename is used.

For example: 1902_1002_350D.jpg file name means that the image was taken at 19:02 using a Canon 350D camera.





%date : Image creation date in YYYYMMDD format

%time : Image creation time in HHMMSS format

%L2 - The last two digits of the original image number ("02" for "IMG_1002.jpg" in the original file name. A %L4 token is also available.)





%smodel : Short camera model name

%pfx : Image prefix ("IMG" for "IMG_1002.jpg" in the original file name)

%inum : A 5 digit image number. ("01002" for "IMG_1002.jpg" in the original file name). RoboImport appends the first digit of the Camera Folder number to the 4 digit image number.


According to the DCIM standard all the folders in a Camera Folder should have 8 character-length names of the form ABCDE###. Where ### is the folder number.




%date : Image creation date in YYYYMMDD format

%time : Image creation time in HHMMSS format

%inum : The 5 digit image number. Examples are:

"01002" for "Photos\IMG_1002.jpg"
"51002" for "CANON592\IMG_1002.jpg".


See the above note regarding the DCIM folder naming standard.