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File naming conventions in MS Teams

Microsoft (MS) Teams offers a digital storage space which is owned by a selected group of people within a research group. It is, however, wise to plan the management of the files within this storage space so that these individuals can change over time without compromising access. Also, as with all data management principles, files should be named and structured in a way that makes sense and is sustainable even with a changing staff complement.

Here are some tips on how to best manage your files and folder structure within MS Teams

MS Teams can be a very powerful project management tool, but to ensure sustainable use of a Team and the information stored therein, structural guidelines around file and folder structure need to be carefully developed and adhered to. It is recommended to have a standard folder structure with a pre-planned naming convention. Here follow some quick tips to keep your files and folders well-ordered:

Managing your folders

  • It is recommended to carefully plan the Teams folder structure ahead of time with a pre-planned naming convention. 
  • Create intuitive folder structures with unambiguous file names and suitable governance which includes assigning multiple ownership to folders and setting permissions to protect any sensitive information.
  • Team members should be advised against moving folders and the data contained therein.
  • All team members working within MS Teams should be advised to sync to the cloud daily to ensure work is not lost.

Managing your files

  • The size limit of MS Teams is 15 gigabytes – so keep all files under that size.
  • It is recommended to limit folders to no more than three levels deep and avoid file names becoming too long. As with folders, all files should follow a standard and intuitive naming convention.
  • If it is necessary to work remotely without Wi-Fi or mobile data, files can be synced for offline access. To sync your work to the relevant folder go to the channel files tab into SharePoint (see icon at the ribbon at the top) and then select the particular folder you want to sync.
  • When moving files from one Team or channel to another, be sure not to lose the version history of the files. To keep the version history, move a file using the Move button in MS Teams.
  • Non-confidential files can be uploaded to the Files tab in an applicable channel, they are then automatically saved to the SharePoint folder for that channel and are accessible to all members of the Team.
  • It is recommended to protect all final versions of MS Office files. To do this go to the File tab in the MS Office Ribbon – info (from menu on left) – protect document.

 Example of file naming protocol
 

YYYYMMDD-created_context+sub_content-unit-type_creator-initials 

  • YYYYMMDD-created = date the file was created 
  • context = agreed project designator (often a name & number combination) 
  • +sub = (for a big project) subproject designator (often a number extension and name) 
  • content-unit = short name with number if needed (for meetings number and/or date) 
  • -type = data/article/presentation/poster/report/minutes/agenda/ 
  • creator-initials = initials of the person who created the file (see "versioning protocols") 

Example:

20200415_RA-Teams_Teams-for-Research-doc_ZZ

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