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Lean Tools, Training, and Systems

Document Storage and Naming

This page contains training for Systems2win Leaders and Document Authors to use simple, cost-free, field-proven systems for what to name documents and where to store them.

Avoid Broken Links

Every time that you create a new working document from a template,
you will need to know...

Where should I save my working document?

and What should I name it?

This is important because...

your documents will sometimes have hyperlinks and/or data links to other related documents, and those links will be broken if you later change filenames and/or folder locations.

This training is essentially

How to do 5S organization for your computer folder systems

5S cartoon

Systems2win suggestions for

Where to store related documents

These tips will protect you from broken links — for both hyperlinks and linked data.

  1. The easiest way to avoid broken links
    is to keep all related documents in the same folder

    If you keep all related documents in the same folder, you can even move or rename the entire folder, and all links will still work.

  2. If you break rule # 1     (if you store linked documents in other folders...) then your team leader (or your IT Department) needs to provide very clear guidelines for where those documents are stored — (and don't change those rules)

    The related folders must not change 1) foldername, 2) position relative to the related folders

    and file names cannot change.

    See tips for how to avoid broken links

Where NOT to store your documents

Do not store working documents in your \S2winPortal\ folder

Your S2winPortal folder should contain only master templates.

If you have more than 1 user, hopefully your IT Department followed our recommendation to set permissions to allow only read-only access to everyone but your few leaders that know what they’re doing when they intentionally want to overwrite a master template with a personalized version.


Shorter folder paths are better

For active hyperlinks within PDF's the shorter the folder path the better.

If you have not yet learned how to use now is a good time to learn.


Systems2win suggestions for

What to name your working documents

Common naming convention for workbooks

templatename + "_product, project, or team name"

Examples:   FlowChart_product123.xlsx, gantt_projectABC.xlsx


Common naming convention for worksheets

(the tabs within a workbook)

You will often name your sheet based on development status

Examples:   AsIs, AsWas, ToBe, Future1, Future2, Released, Expired_YYMMDD…

What NOT to name your files

Avoid spaces in file names

When distributed over the Internet, spaces are converted to "%20".

Avoid apostrophes

An apostrophe single quote in a filename ( ' ) will almost certainly cause various types of mysterious crashes

(perhaps falsely triggering the error: "This file appears to have been intentionally altered")

Avoid special characters

Your filenames should consist only of letters, numbers, and the following safe characters:

underscore ( _ )

minus or dash ( – )

plus ( + )

If your file name has any other special character, you run the risk of triggering a non-sensical error.


Obsolete and Draft versions

Current (master document)

Your master document is always
your currently-approved (currently-in-use) document,
and that file name does not ever change.

Example:   WorkInstr_ProcessABC.xlsx

And it is stored in the '1Current' sub-folder.

See picture

Folder structure and file names for master documents

Tip: You can name your sub-folders anything,
but by starting with a number, it keeps your folders in a consistent sequence, which can be especially helpful for global teams with international languages.


When you copy that document to start your latest observations and improvement ideas, we suggest that you name that copy something like: orginalfilename_ WIP.xlsx

Example:   WorkInstr_ProcessABC_WIP.xlsx

And store it in the '2Draft' sub-folder.

Example:   \ProcessesAndProjects\ProcessName\2Draft\WorkInstr_ProcessABC_WIP.xlsx


When all approvals have been attained to begin doing things the new way, save a copy of your old master document with the name appended with the expiration date, (starting with the year), in this format: originalfilename_YYMMDD.xlsx

Example:   WorkInstr_ProcessABC_191225.xlsx

And store it in the '3Obsolete' sub-folder.

Example:   \ProcessesAndProjects\ProcessName\3Obsolete\WorkInstr_ProcessABC_191225.xlsx


Then rename your WIP document - to remove the '_WIP'

(thereby leaving the exact same filename as the original)

Then move that document from the '2Draft' folder to overwrite then original master file in the '1Current' folder

Example:  \ProcessesAndProjects\ProcessName\1Current\WorkInstr_ProcessABC.xlsx


Following these instructions will avoid breaking any incoming links from related documents.


To avoid broken outgoing links from your archive to related documents, your archived documents must be stored either:

  1. In an archive folder that must be on the same folder level with the folder that has the master.

    (Such as the system prescribed above, with sibling folders for 1Current, 2Draft, and 3Obsolete)

  2. Or in the same folder right alongside the current master We prefer the sibling folder system described above.

    If you invent your own system, be sure to thoroughly document and train your people.



Revision Log sheet

Revision Log

If your document has a 'RevLog' sheet, then each time that you make a revision to that document, you should make an entry in your 'RevLog' sheet


If you need to move or rename

a workbook, worksheet, or named cell that has incoming and/or outgoing links

Incoming Links

Incoming links from other documents will need to be manually updated in those documents

(no matter which of the following methods you use)

Outgoing Links

If you use File > Save As... to copy and rename the file —

If you use Windows File Explorer to copy and/or rename and/or move the file —


99% of users simply use Systems2win's standard suggestions (above)

Optionally personalize
YOUR own document storage and naming policies

If your company's policies conflict with any of the standard Systems2win suggestions, then use your personalized company guidelines instead.

In several places in your Systems2win Portal, you will find a link to a Storage and Naming PDF file (\S2winPortal\S2winSync\StorageNaming.pdf)

If you have more than one user, then your IT Department & Lean Leaders can optionally personalize this document for YOUR company's policies for:

  1. Where to store different types of
    working, draft, and archived documents
  2. What to name them
Storage and Naming Word template







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