Naming Convention for Search in SharePoint

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Background: Our company had not had a document naming convention previous to April of 2018.  In an effort to standardize, we developed a document naming convention guideline.  In this document  we included a statement to not use spaces or underscore to delimit words, but to use capital letters to delimit words instead.  Fast forward to today where we are looking to move documents to a SharePoint site and have heard that the search functionality doesn’t work unless there are spaces or an underscore to delimit words.

Question: Is there a tool, or a script mechanism for searching our documents that have capitals to delimit changing the file name by adding a space or an underscore?  We do not want to have to re-message our naming conventions if at all possible.

Kara Hunt, CIP
Information Governance Project Manager
NMPP Energy


Hi Kara,

You’ve got really 4 categories of solutions for this as far as I know:

  1. You can use a purchased tool that does bulk file renaming (ex. “bulk rename utility“, but there are others) prior to migrating to SP
  2. You can create your own script in PowerShell
  3. Server side code – create console apps to import the data for you, much like PowerShell, gives you control over what you want to do
  4. You can use a tool like Sharegate that allows you to bulk edit metadata (obviously title is just one metadata field in SP) as part of the migration

Hope that helps!



Aria Business Card-0۸
Aria Business Card-۱۰

Kara –

The first question is what kinds of files are we talking about?  I assume they’re Office files.

The short version of the story is that the file name doesn’t matter.  SharePoint is going to do a full-text index and will index the title “with priority.”

The longer version is that all search engines need a word break and generally that’s a space.  However, the presumption is that users will search on file name.  In practice, I find that this rarely happens.  They most frequently search for content or rarely by title.

I’d not worry about now (since you’re coming from a non-searchable system) and see if the search experience after the move is acceptable.  If not, you can write a script to rename the files in SharePoint.

Most folks struggle with getting used to full text search the first time — and then they love it.


Robert Bogue
Thor Projects LLC

I agree with Robert, and would not go through the pain of mass renaming files.

Mostly I think it’s unnecessary because full-text is pretty good, it generally is done in the background or on indexing servers, and people have a tendency to quickly adapt to google-like searches and to add key finding metadata to content as they have more robust “smart” indexing and retrieval capability available to them and as they go about their daily chores.

..and then you need to hope you don’t get 12,000 responses.  none of which rarely will find all the appropriate documents being searched,, that is why indexing has always been the way to go since the late ’90’s and there have been many attempts at various software solutions to get general responses.

Robert Blatt, MIT, LIT, CHPA-III
Principal Consultant, Electronic Image Designers (EID).
AIIIM Fellow #175
Chair, Trustworthy Storage
Chair, Trustworthy Document Management & Assessment
Chair, ECM Implementation Guidelines
ISO Convenor: 18829, 18759, 22957, 18759)
US Delegate to ISO TC/171
TC/171 Liaison Officer to TC46 SC11
TC/171 Liaison Officer to TC/272



Consistency – First of all check all variations of short names and abbreviations, as it is common that ​people use different versions across organization, depends on department.
Control vocabulary – after consistency
Naming conventions – do you have RIM elements embedded into divisional / subject procedures – it could be the first page of every procedure, like legal document / agreement prepared by professionals where they put first list of definition and terms used in the document.
You can try converting listing into Excel or other similar program and check how the names are given and organized, bulk updating is available . Check the possibility of converting edited names / titles back into the system you use.


Alex Babin
Alex Babin

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