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CAD Standards – File Naming Convention

File naming is crucial to maintaining proper unification of your product. This is on my top ten list of Items to include in your CAD Standard and should not be overlooked at all. This is one area you want to get right, communicate well and enforce.

Model / Construct / Background / Xref Files

You want to make sure that the names are understandable. You may chuckle at the mention of this, but I have seen some very creative naming in the past. Do they use logical, understandable names?

Does each file have a unique name? Do you allow for flexibility?

Do they have file type breakdowns? There are some that allow for file type designator in the name itself. See the post on discipline designators.

Do you include a project code or number? Project numbers drive a lot of firms. Just like the need to break out the project folder by project number, you may want to break out the files by project number also. My advice: don’t use them in the file names, just use them in the folder names.

Sheet Files

Do the names reflect the title block name? How do you create them so that everyone knows what file is what plot. Avoid illegal characters and replace “dots” in the name with dashes.

Image Files
Do you want any name definitions for Image files? What folder do they go in?

Example wording from a CAD Standard:

File Name Components

When creating file names, the following components will be used.

Project identifiers (optional)

Project Identifiers are two-character abbreviation of the Project Name. This field is optional. Identifiers will be defined by each office and coordinated by the CAD Manager.

Phase Identifier (optional)

Used to break out files by Phases. This field is Optional.

Typical File Type Designators

File Type Designators are two-character abbreviation for the type of file that is being created

Discipline Designators

Discipline Designators are one or two-character abbreviations for the discipline that is responsible for the file.

Sheet/Floor numbers

Typically a two or three digit number. When used always include the leading zeros and keep the same number of digits on all files.

Typically Sheet file names reflect the naming in the Title Block of that sheet.

Replace any “.” (dots) in file names with “-“ (dashes)

Look for examples of File Type designators and Discipline designator in the next posts.

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