Filing System Overview

We are trying to create a system that

·  is simple and transparent to use.

·  encourages collaboration and can be understood by staff who turn up in the future

·  is easy to maintain.

·  will evolve.

The Rules

·  File EVERYTHING in a single shared folder on the Server

·  File by topic area or project. Don't create folders called your name, or your position, or that start with [your organisation name] ..., or that are the names of other organisations.

·  Files/folders should not be on the system twice.

·  Old files will be be archived each year.

·  Filenames should be on your documents

·  Don't send files to other staff by email.


Only read this if you want further explanation of the rules.

File everything on (the shared folder on) the Server. Don’t save things onto your own computer.


·  no confusion about where things are.

·  no confusion about where the latest version of a file is.

·  When you leave your job other people can continue the work you have done.

·  While you are still working other staff can collaborate on your files.

·  Work is not duplicated.

·  Backup and archive is simple

What this will mean toyou.

·  Don't use USB (flash) drives, computers, CDs, laptops to keep files. Use these to only transport files from computer to computer.

·  Don't save files on your desktop, for longer than one day.

·  This means all files including working files included. ie don’t think of the server as a museum for finished work.

There should be no exceptions to this. If you think you have exceptions discuss this with the person who supervises the filing on your server..

File by topic area or project.


·  Its best to have one consistent way of cataloguing the files.

·  This is the best method I know.

·  So we don't have eg membership information, spread around in folders based on who worked on them.


What does this mean.

·  Don't create (level 1) folders called , Phill etc.

·  Don't create folders named after your job title.

·  The only thing that should be in a folder called staff>phill is stuff that's specific to staff issues eg. Timesheets.

·  Organisation names are to be avoided as major folders eg Don't create folders called Legal Aid.

Generic names like correspondence, letters, organisation names, are ok at lowel levels in the heirachy. Ie ok to be used WITHIN folders named by topic/project.

Files/folders should not be in the system twice

Files/folders should not be in the system twice. If you believe a file/folder needs to be in 2 places put the original in one place and use an alias/short cut to this in the other.. (You can create an alias/short cut to anything on the system including folders.)

You should learn/understand the difference between moving and copying a file and the different times either will be useful. You should understand how to make an alias/short cut of a file.

Previous Years

At year end files/folders are archived.

For old files that are still current, a copy should be moved into the current years folder. But try not to assume everything from last year will be needed this year. An appropriate time to copy and file and make it current to this year is on its first use in the current year.

Problems will arise if you edit files from a past year and don't move them to the current years folder.

A current file is a file that has been produced this year or is in use this year.

Filenames should be on your documents

The name of files should be in the footer of ALL, repeat ALL, documents. This should happen automatically through templates used here. It would also be beneficial to learn how to insert/remove this manually.


Don’t send email to other internal staff with attachments for editing. Send a email that describes where the appropriate file is on the system. This prevents "what's the latest version" problems

Email attachments from outside of the organisation should be saved to an appropriate folder and not be edited from the email program.


Avoid saving files to your desktop and then 'filing' them later. This should be a one step process by saving files directly into an appropriate folder in the shared folder and continuing to use them from that folder.

NB. Files saved on your desktop don't officially exist, they won't get backed up.

All work files regardless of type - image, document, spreadsheet, graph, etc, fall under the same filing rules.

We are not an archive for every piece of information we get. For documents from outside of the organisation we only need to file them if they are relevant to our current work.

Discuss the filing of special files or exceptions on a case by case basis with the staff member who oversees the filing until you get a feel for appropriate filing of these files.

Special Purpose folders

TEMP is to be used a temporary shared folder to transfer files from one place to another. Files in Temp will be deleted without notice.

REUSABLES - stores images, logos, templates and the like that will be reused to make up other documents, publications etc. This folder contains only truly generic stuff.

The RESOURCES folder is one exception to the duplicate file rule. ie a logo required for a project may be kept in both folders. Resources should however contain the current version of the logo.

CONFIDENTIAL - The server allows password only access to certain folders. This means if you have any confidential documents you'll need me to set up appropriate folders on the server.