Naming a Scanned Document

by | Oct 24, 2018 | Scanning | 0 comments

naming scanned documents

How important is a name? Would you believe it holds all the answers?

Names are important and, in some cases, critical. Think about the last time you went to the hospital and walked thru a door there – would it matter if you walked in ER or the Contamination unit doors?

Many of our client’s documents are critical to the success of their business.  We have had a client whose business is in defending people. If a document page were to be missed in scanning or misfiled / mis-named a person’s life would be placed in jeopardy.

This becomes an enormous task when an office is trying to convert all their paper files to electronic files without an ECM solution.  Quite often the physical file folders have a name with a bunch of documents shoved or stuffed inside it.  When time comes to scan the documents, a decision needs to be made prior to scanning on whether everything in the file folder is scanned as one document or if everything is scanned separately or if it is even scanned.  If it’s all to be scanned as one document, then it will often be named after the file folder.  If the documents are to be individual, stand-alone documents within the folder then things can get tricky.

For example, we have a file folder called WIS Greens.  First question is what is WIS?  What is Greens? Is it short for any of a million possibilities? Turns out it is for Wisconsin Golf Course Greens.  One would have thought WI would have been the postal abbreviation and that Golf Course would be with the word Green in the document name.  These additions would have made things quite easy to quickly understand the file name.  Inside the WIS Greens folder is printed copies of 16 emails plus other documents with one ‘Letter from Betty’.  At first glance you will see that the physical files have five of the emails with the same Subject line.  The other email documents have a similar subject line with maybe a slight variation in Subject line.  How does one determine the name?

This client wanted all the emails scanned separately and named differently. (A bit tricky if the contents are similar) My recommendation would have been to put all the printed emails in one PDF as they ultimately discuss the same topic or at least break them into similar documents but in no way would I want them split up into 16 individual files.  Especially since each email has the entire thread of email history which now creates unnecessary duplication or possible confusion in sorting the difference between the documents.

Armedia works with our customers to determine the best solution for them.  Quite often the best solution for our clients is to give us their files to scan and then we return the physical files to them along with the digitized files.  This sounds easy for the client, right?

Well it is easy for the client.  Our goal at Armedia is to make it easy for our clients to safely, securely and successfully have their documents scanned. Either at their office or ours.

Easy naming tips:

  • Do not use any PII to name files. Social security numbers should never be used to name a document as that is private and confidential information.
    • The same goes for using a person’s name to name a document as some names may be duplicated in a variety of ways which would cause extensive confusion, especially if several people have the same name.
  • If your files are tracked by an identification number, employee ID or patient number, use that number to name the documents.
  • If you track by states, please use the two letter US Postal abbreviations when naming.You may laugh at the thought but many of the files we see were named prior to those codes being established. Let’s update now.
  • Select a simple and short name that identifies what the file contains for easy reference with subfiles when necessary.
  • When using years be sure to put whole four year number in as these documents age the year will not be misunderstood. An example: Is ’17 referring to 2017, 1917, 1717 or any other year?  Avoid a hassle down the road with additional research being required in the future and use the whole year now.

Create electronic file cabinets to manage your files.  Better yet let Armedia provide you with a document management system.  Check out  Until then, here is a simple sample file format showing a file name, followed by a sub file name followed by an actual file name of the scanned document:

  • Keep related files together when possible:
    • WI Golf Course Greens (no longer WIS Greens is the file folder name)
      • 2013 Course Design (sub folder name)
        • Landscape Notes (actual file name)
        • Water Report (actual file name)
      • 2015 Land Survey Emails (sub folder name)
        • Dislikes Course (actual file name)
        • Objects to Survey (actual file name)
        • Encourages More Advancements (actual file name)
      • Letters (sub folder name)
        • 1987 Survey (actual file name)

Quite often businesses use number with their file systems and they would be carried out in a folder and sub folder system as well in the above example.

For our partnership to work well its critical that we take time up front to think about how one wants to access the digitized documents.  Whether permissions to access needs to be established based on departments or authority to view in part or whole.  Armedia takes the time to clearly understand the end game.

We consistently hear ‘tell me what you want to achieve, and I will tell you how we can make it happen’ by our president James Bailey.  It’s a great reminder for problem solvers to understand the end results first.

Taking time to think about the document name will provide the first steps to all the other required answers in digitizing all your files.  Ultimately making your life easier, saving you money and decluttering the office storage locations. Tell us what you want to achieve, and we will get it done on time and within budget.

Learn more at

Safely, Securely, Successfully Scanning Documents

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