This page offers guidelines for the naming of files (e.g. PDFs, Word documents, Excel documents, etc.) that will be made available for download by end-users; filenames for code can be found in the appropriate code standards.

The terms 'must' and 'must not' are used in this document with the meanings found in RFC 2119: key words for use in RFCs to indicate requirement levels.

Naming convention

Files must be named in a consistent way according to the guidelines below. This will ensure they are web safe.

  • You must use only lowercase letters (a-z), numerals (0-9), and hyphens (-).
  • You must not use special characters (e.g. á, ê, ï, õ, ù) or other punctuation marks, including underscores (_).
  • You must not use spaces; instead you must use hyphens in place of spaces to delimit words.
  • You must not include dates or version numbers in filenames.

Filenames must be short, meaningful and descriptive.


  • guidance-notes-for-direct-applicants.pdf
  • visiting-day-programme.pdf
  • william-and-mary-version.docx
  • ug-prospectus.pdf


  • Guidance notes for direct applicants.pdf
  • VDprog.pdf
  • william-&-mary-version-2.1.docx
  • ug-prospectus-2016-2017.pdf

The digital communications team reserves the right to change (or request changes to) filenames if they do not meet digital best practice.