CADDManager on May 27th, 2009

The Root Folder

Define the exact allowable characters and max length. Don’t leave it to the user to guess what to call the folders. Many times there are creative folders buried in your project that may include unacceptable characters.

The whole point in providing a naming convention is to ensure consistency. You need things to be named the same way and located in the same place so that newcomers to the project know where things are. They just look in the same place as the last project (more or less) and look for the same file name. It makes it all so much nicer.

Here are a few questions you should consider.

What should the root folder be? Client name? Project Name? Project Number? I have seen many different choices on this topic. Some have combined Client and Project names. Some use just a project number.

Include a Client Name?

Client names may be used to delineate the main area of interaction. Putting the client name first will break out all projects by client. Grouping projects by client will gather up all work being done on that front.

Include a Project Number?

Most firms have some form of project number related to the projects they work on. Accounting needs the numbers, you refer to them on your time card, expenses get charged to them and more. So if your firm constantly uses numbers, this may be your Root Folder name.

Include Project Name?

Some go by project name. Downtown Library, Fulton Courthouse, Dunder Mifflin Scranton Branch Expansion… The name of the project drives everything. If so – make it the Root Folder.

So… Think about how your firm refers to projects. Do they typically call them by a client name or a project name? Does everyone know the project numbers? Listen to how people talk about the projects. You may want to mimic that.

The NCS identifies the necessity for clear and consistent folder structure and limits the number of characters to eight. We can (and should) go beyond the eight character limit.


The Client Name folder is created at the root of the selected drive letter. It is one level above the project number folder to house all projects related to a single client. This organization strategy facilitates the locating and identification of client projects without encumbering the project directories themselves with project name identification. Client names will be limited to 24 characters. Names will be alpha-numeric character designators and/or “ – “ or “ _ ”, but no dots. Spaces are okay.

Project Number folder consists of four-character minimum, and a nine character maximum numeric name. Options include alpha-character final designators and/or “- “or “_”, but no dots or spaces. Acceptable examples: 1234 or 123456789 or 1234_abcd or 1234-56 etc.

Specific Examples:

  • ATT (notice – no ampersand “&”)
  • Bank One (notice – spaces allowed)
  • AmericanAirlines (notice – no spaces)
  • United-Airlines
  • Boeing
  • D-M Scranton (abbreviated names okay)
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