File management

As a department, keeping the documents everyone uses organized is key to efficiency.

Options for managing files

Description Box* Network Drive Google
Moodle Email Attachments
Multiple Authors (e.g. collaborative writing) X X
Document changes frequently (e.g. event planning documents, staff lists, sign-up sheets, schedules, etc.) X X
Long-term storage X
Sensitive information (e.g. budgets, personnel/student files, etc.) X X
Storage of final version of a document X X
Final document distribution X X
Access and change documents anytime anywhere X X
Share multimedia files X X
Mobile access (e.g. smartphones) X X

* Box is not HIPAA compliant.

Note: You will want to avoid saving your files in so many diverse places so that you do not get frustrated when trying to remember where they are located.

Suggestions for file management

  • Create a file structure with nested folders that takes into consideration the current needs of your area. This structure may be based on the system your area currently uses to file printed materials.
  • Establish guidelines for naming folders and files.
    • Make names meaningful, recognizable and intuitive.
    • Keep names short so they are easier to read on a computer screen.
    • Avoid using folder names based on co-workers names. Instead, use folder names based on a program, activity or function (e.g., Budget, Grants, Meeting Notes, Policies, etc.).
  • Train your co-workers on how to use the new file structure and naming guidelines. Discuss the following:
    • The benefit and importance of file management.
    • How what has been established is supposed to work.
    • The types of files that should be placed in each folder.
  • File documents in the right location when you first create them.
  • Use file extensions when saving documents (e.g., pdf, .docx, pptx, .rtf, .txt, etc.).
  • Create shortcut links to documents that need to be in multiple locations instead of saving multiple copies of the same document. This way you will only update it once when changes are made.
  • Keep your file structure organized and efficient by archiving documents that are no longer needed on a regular basis.


  • “10 File Management Tips.” n.d. Web. 10 Sept. 2011.
  • “Electronic Desktop Management Guidelines.” Harvard University, Nov. 2001. Web. 10 Sept. 2011.
  • “File organization tips: 9 ideas for managing files and folders.” n.d. Web. 10 Sept. 2011.

Updated: 4/18/2017