Spaces in File Names??

doubledee

macrumors 6502
Original poster
May 14, 2012
496
0
Arizona
In the 21st-century - especially when running Mountain Lion - is it a big deal anymore if you have *spaces* in your Directory Names and File Names??

For example...
Code:
[COLOR="Red"][b]/[/b][/COLOR]MUSIC COLLECTION

[COLOR="Red"][b]/[/b][/COLOR]MUSIC COLLECTION[COLOR="Red"][b]/[/b][/COLOR]Led Zeppelin - Led Zeppelin III - That's the Way.mp3
Sincerely,


Debbie
 

maflynn

Moderator
Staff member
May 3, 2009
66,395
33,013
Boston
Nope problems at all.

All modern file systems easily handle spaces in names for directory and files.
 

doubledee

macrumors 6502
Original poster
May 14, 2012
496
0
Arizona
Nope problems at all.

All modern file systems easily handle spaces in names for directory and files.
So my days of doing this are unnecessary...

Code:
/MUSIC[COLOR="Red"][b]_[/b][/COLOR]COLLECTION/LedZeppelin[COLOR="Red"][b]_[/b][/COLOR]LedZeppelinIII[COLOR="Red"][b]_[/b][/COLOR]That'sTheWay.mp3
Sincerely,


Debbie
 

GGJstudios

macrumors Westmere
May 16, 2008
44,419
768
So my days of doing this are unnecessary...

Code:
/MUSIC[COLOR="Red"][b]_[/b][/COLOR]COLLECTION/LedZeppelin[COLOR="Red"][b]_[/b][/COLOR]LedZeppelinIII[COLOR="Red"][b]_[/b][/COLOR]That'sTheWay.mp3
Definitely unnecessary. Windows allows spaces in file names, as well.
 

doubledee

macrumors 6502
Original poster
May 14, 2012
496
0
Arizona
Definitely unnecessary. Windows allows spaces in file names, as well.
I feel kinda nervous switching.

Maybe I'm "old fashioned"?! *LOL*

Which do you think is easier to read and work with in general?

(I'm a programmer at heart, so I tend to like things more "structured" and "logical" versus "pretty"...)


*********
BTW, the purpose for this thread is because I am *finally* migrating data over to my now 9-month old "new" MBP, and I figured, "Hey, now is a great time to re-organize your data!!!"

Sincerely,


Debbie
 

GGJstudios

macrumors Westmere
May 16, 2008
44,419
768
Which do you think is easier to read and work with in general?
I recommend file names that are easy to read and meaningful. You may want to keep in mind naming conventions that support searching and sorting according to your needs and preferences.

Using spaces instead of dashes or underscores makes names more readable. Avoiding spaces hasn't been necessary for many years, so don't worry about such names causing any problems.
 

balamw

Moderator
Staff member
Aug 16, 2005
19,366
978
New England
Code:
[COLOR="Red"][b]/[/b][/COLOR]MUSIC COLLECTION

[COLOR="Red"][b]/[/b][/COLOR]MUSIC COLLECTION[COLOR="Red"][b]/[/b][/COLOR]Led Zeppelin - Led Zeppelin III - That's the Way.mp3
FWIW iTunes is what brought me back to the Mac and this made me chuckle because of that. iTunes will automatically rename the fle and place it in the right spot with spaces in the file and directory names based on the metadata in the file. For a large music collection like mine, this was priceless. (Though ti required a lot of work to get the metadata right).

B
 

doubledee

macrumors 6502
Original poster
May 14, 2012
496
0
Arizona
I recommend file names that are easy to read and meaningful. You may want to keep in mind naming conventions that support searching and sorting according to your needs and preferences.

Using spaces instead of dashes or underscores makes names more readable. Avoiding spaces hasn't been necessary for many years, so don't worry about such names causing any problems.
Guess I am stuck in the past?! :eek:

What about things like apostrophe's...
Code:
That's the Way.mp3

And are there any other characters - on a U.S. keyboard - that I would want to stay away from?

Sincerely,


Debbie
 

GGJstudios

macrumors Westmere
May 16, 2008
44,419
768
Guess I am stuck in the past?! :eek:

What about things like apostrophe's...
Code:
That's the Way.mp3

And are there any other characters - on a U.S. keyboard - that I would want to stay away from?

Sincerely,


Debbie
These are all fine to use on OS X file names: ! # % ^ & * ( ) [ ] { } ; " ' < > , . ? (I may have missed a few), as well as all upper and lower case letters and numbers.

I would avoid forward and backward slashes: / \ as well as colons : and at signs @ (used in email addresses) especially if you intend to share such files with Windows.

So file names like this are fine:
Bob Marley & The Wailers 02 No Woman, No Cry (Live).mp3
Buddy Holly & The Crickets - Oh, Boy!.mp3
Creedence Clearwater Revival 17 Have You Ever Seen The Rain?.mp3
Nino Tempo & April Stevens - I've Been Carrying A Torch For You So Long That I Burned A Great Big Hole In My Heart.mp3​
 
Last edited:

doubledee

macrumors 6502
Original poster
May 14, 2012
496
0
Arizona
FWIW iTunes is what brought me back to the Mac and this made me chuckle because of that. iTunes will automatically rename the fle and place it in the right spot with spaces in the file and directory names based on the metadata in the file. For a large music collection like mine, this was priceless. (Though ti required a lot of work to get the metadata right).

B
See, here is where I disagree - and don't feel "stuck in the past" as some are trying to paint me...


I have (and always will) build as much "metadata" into my file names as possible.

(This is sure to start a battle!!)


Why?

Because when your iTunes database pukes, you're screwed. Whereas I am at far less risk of losing this...


My Original Style:
Code:
LedZeppelin_HousesOfTheHoly_01_TheSongRemainsTheSame.mp3

LedZeppelin_HousesOfTheHoly_06_D'yerMak'er.mp3

LedZeppelin_HousesOfTheHoly_08_TheOcean.mp3

Possible Modified Style: (Based on advice above)
Code:
Led Zeppelin - Houses of the Holy - 01 - The Song Remains the Same.mp3

Led Zeppelin - Houses of the Holy - 06 - D'yer Mak'er.mp3

Led Zeppelin - Houses of the Holy - 08 - The Ocean.mp3

Of course, these are just made up music examples.

Most of my data is business related, and might look like this...

Code:
debbie_resume_2013-12-01.doc

ACME_Ecommerce_ProjectCharter_v07.doc

DoubleDee_Budget_2013_v03_final.xls

REFERENCE_OS-X_How-To-Set-Up-File-Vault-on-Your-Mac.pdf

ARTICLE_International_Nelson-Mandela-and-His-Lasting-Legacy.html

and so on...
Because of how I typically name my files, you could take every file on my hard-drive, dump them all into one Folder, and 90% of them would sort into groups that would be *self-identifying*! (Minus working documents like "untitled.txt")


As I see it, whenever someone looks at one of my files, they instantly know what it is without ever having to open it.

(That is *very* powerful - particularly in the work environment where you are working with lots of people... )

Sincerely,


Debbie
 

GGJstudios

macrumors Westmere
May 16, 2008
44,419
768
I have (and always will) build as much "metadata" into my file names as possible.
I do the same thing. I spent over 10 years building my music collection and the file/folder structure. I didn't want iTunes messing it up, as it can do quite easily. My convention is:

Genre folder
.....Artist folder
..........Album folder
...............Artist 01 Song Name (where 01 is the track number)
 

doubledee

macrumors 6502
Original poster
May 14, 2012
496
0
Arizona
I do the same thing. I spent over 10 years building my music collection and the file/folder structure. I didn't want iTunes messing it up, as it can do quite easily. My convention is:

Genre folder
.....Artist folder
..........Album folder
...............Artist 01 Song Name (where 01 is the track number)
Whether I follow the conventions above depends of different factors, including:
- How "deep" is the data?

- How important is it?

- How many versions are there?

- How dynamic is it? (e.g. Photos, where I shoot 100 to keep just 2)

- Is it "One Off" or part of a "Collection" (e.g. Complaint to local store vs Annual Budgets)

For my music collection, it seems prudent to have the File Name include the Artist+Album+TrackNo+SongName, because it would be catastrophic if things got copied into the wrong directories - happens more than you think when using the Touch Pad - and then you would have to open up/listen to every file to figure out what it was and where it went?!

By contrast, while the same logic should apply to my Photography Collection, the fact is that my photos are Too Large in Number, and Too Dynamic to keep up with such a filing scheme.

So in that case, I just come up with a comprehensive Directory Structure, and hope I don't misplace "dsc012345.jpeg" !! :D

(Although, for photos that I want to keep forever, I do tend to rename them like... "PHOTO_2013_Arizona_GrandCanyon_SouthRim_Sunset_05.jpeg")


I'm sure this entire topic is highly debatable, but my larger concern was just making sure that by introducing SPACES or SPECIAL CHARACTERS (e.g. apostrophe) that I wouldn't be causing heartaches down the road on either my MacBook Pro, or if I ever have to share data with a Windows user.

Sincerely,


Debbie
 

GGJstudios

macrumors Westmere
May 16, 2008
44,419
768
I'm sure this entire topic is highly debatable, but my larger concern was just making sure that by introducing SPACES or SPECIAL CHARACTERS (e.g. apostrophe) that I wouldn't be causing heartaches down the road on either my MacBook Pro, or if I ever have to share data with a Windows user.
You're perfectly safe using spaces and the special characters I mentioned, even if sharing with Windows users.
 

balamw

Moderator
Staff member
Aug 16, 2005
19,366
978
New England
I'm sure this entire topic is highly debatable, but my larger concern was just making sure that by introducing SPACES or SPECIAL CHARACTERS (e.g. apostrophe) that I wouldn't be causing heartaches down the road on either my MacBook Pro, or if I ever have to share data with a Windows user.
Spaces are generally safe at the OS level, but special characters can still create problems as each OS has potentially different reserved characters.

Apps however may still have trouble from time to time with both spaces and special characters.

My only point re: iTunes was this. File systems and in particular file names make for poor databases. It's far better to embed really structured data in to the file itself, e.g. ID3 or EXIF tags and let a specialized tool handle the slicing and dicing for you. This handles special characters from the tags automatically. For example,

Code:
~/Music/iTunes/iTunes Music/Music/R.E.M_/Monster/01 What's The Frequency, Kenneth_.m4a
Where the question mark was replaced with an underscore, but not by me manually.

On Windows in particular I've had several occasions where something has burped and I've been left either with just the short 8.3 file names or worse still random names for all the files. (I'll admit this hasn't happened to me since I stopped using FAT32.).

With properly tagged MP3/M4A files, all I need to do is drag them to iTunes on my Mac and I will find them at ~/Music/<Album Artist>/<Album>/<Disc No.>-<Track No.>\ <Song Name>.<extension>, and I can perform all kinds of nifty searches on them within the application that I couldn't do without that additional layer of database.
These are all fine to use on OS X file names: ! # % ^ & * ( ) [ ] { } ; " ' < > , . ? (I may have missed a few), as well as all upper and lower case letters and numbers.
I would avoid the use of the normal wildcard characters where at all possible.

Question mark and asterisk can create problems if not at the OS level, for other apps that try to open them.

EDIT: Note also that iTunes appears to avoid ending a folder name with a period. Probably because Windows might get confused about that in an 8.3 convention.

B
 
Last edited:

GGJstudios

macrumors Westmere
May 16, 2008
44,419
768
I would avoid the use of the normal wildcard characters where at all possible.

Question mark and asterisk can create problems if not at the OS level, for other apps that try to open them.
Can you give an example of an app that has such a problem? I've never encountered one.
 

doubledee

macrumors 6502
Original poster
May 14, 2012
496
0
Arizona
Spaces are generally safe at the OS level, but special characters can still create problems as each OS has potentially different reserved characters.

Apps however may still have trouble from time to time with both spaces and special characters.
Yeah, well no real worries there.

For me, this is the character set I try to stay with...
Code:
space (new addition)
a-z A-Z
0-9
~
( )
-
_
+
'
.
& (maybe)
$ (maybe)
% (maybe)

Typically all I need is A-Z, 0-9, -, _


My only point re: iTunes was this. File systems and in particular file names make for poor databases. It's far better to embed really structured data in to the file itself, e.g. ID3 or EXIF tags and let a specialized tool handle the slicing and dicing for you. This handles special characters from the tags automatically. For example,

Code:
~/Music/iTunes/iTunes Music/Music/R.E.M_/Monster/01 What's The Frequency, Kenneth_.m4a
Where the question mark was replaced with an underscore, but not by me manually.
I'm clearly behind the times...

I'm still a "CD gal" because I like to truly own my own music!!

As far as .mp3's go, that is all from radio shows I record online.

Occasionally I will edit out just a song like the ones mentioned above. (As a reminder that I should buy the album!)



On Windows in particular I've had several occasions where something has burped and I've been left either with just the short 8.3 file names or worse still random names for all the files. (I'll admit this hasn't happened to me since I stopped using FAT32.).
I've had that happen back in my Windows XP days when I had a hard-drive crash of when I was transferring 100's of GB's of data and things hiccuped?!


With properly tagged MP3/M4A files, all I need to do is drag them to iTunes on my Mac and I will find them at ~/Music/<Album Artist>/<Album>/<Disc No.>-<Track No.>\ <Song Name>.<extension>, and I can perform all kinds of nifty searches on them within the application that I couldn't do without that additional layer of database.
Maybe some day I'll catch up with the Digital Music scene and try that... :eek:


I would avoid the use of the normal wildcard characters where at all possible.
Yep.

See above.

I *think* that I do that now.

Sincerely,


Debbie
 

balamw

Moderator
Staff member
Aug 16, 2005
19,366
978
New England
Can you give an example of an app that has such a problem? I've never encountered one.
Not off the top of my head, but here's a potentially useful link:

http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windows/desktop/aa365247(v=vs.85).aspx

Use any character in the current code page for a name, including Unicode characters and characters in the extended character set (128–255), except for the following:

The following reserved characters:
< (less than)
> (greater than)
: (colon)
" (double quote)
/ (forward slash)
\ (backslash)
| (vertical bar or pipe)
? (question mark)
* (asterisk)

Integer value zero, sometimes referred to as the ASCII NUL character.
Characters whose integer representations are in the range from 1 through 31, except for alternate data streams where these characters are allowed. For more information about file streams, see File Streams.
Any other character that the target file system does not allow.
And it looks like Apple has read the article:

Do not end a file or directory name with a space or a period. Although the underlying file system may support such names, the Windows shell and user interface does not. However, it is acceptable to specify a period as the first character of a name. For example, ".temp".
B
 

snberk103

macrumors 603
Oct 22, 2007
5,503
87
An Island in the Salish Sea
....
Code:
debbie_resume_2013-12-01.doc

ACME_Ecommerce_ProjectCharter_v07.doc

DoubleDee_Budget_2013_v03_final.xls

REFERENCE_OS-X_How-To-Set-Up-File-Vault-on-Your-Mac.pdf

ARTICLE_International_Nelson-Mandela-and-His-Lasting-Legacy.html

and so on...
...
Sincerely,


Debbie
The only thing I do differently is, if there is a date as part of the name, put that first in a consistent way.

For instance:
2013 11 04 Nov IACS Board Minutes
2013 12 11 Dec IACS Cmtee Minutes

YYYY MM DD [text - - -]

This sorts all the date specific files at the top. Which most of my documents tend to be. Ones that are not date specific usually get moved to specific folder for their content.

Although the date the file is created is part of the file metadata, the date the file is created is not necessarily the date of the event. I add the name of the month because then I can read the date instead of converting. In my example, the top document is the 4th of November...easily read.

As part of the each document I also put the name of the organization (IACS, for e.g.) or the overall event - a gallery show so that I can do a spotlight search in case document goes walk-about. If a document goes walk-about I will recognize the gap in the sequence of names, but I may not be able to tell what the specific name is. So I search on the identifier common to the files ... IACS for example... until I locate a document in a folder that it's not supposed to be visiting... bad document!

Maybe that's helpful? I don't know...
 

doubledee

macrumors 6502
Original poster
May 14, 2012
496
0
Arizona
The only thing I do differently is, if there is a date as part of the name, put that first in a consistent way.

For instance:
2013 11 04 Nov IACS Board Minutes
2013 12 11 Dec IACS Cmtee Minutes

YYYY MM DD [text - - -]

This sorts all the date specific files at the top. Which most of my documents tend to be. Ones that are not date specific usually get moved to specific folder for their content.

Maybe that's helpful? I don't know...
I can see your point, but for me, this style is better...
Code:
debbie_resume_2013-12-01.doc

OffTheRecord_2013-12-08.mp3

It accomplishes what you are stressing, but it also groups things by Subject/Topic which is my point.

In the above examples, I would argue that the "dominant" trait is that it is "Debbie's Resume" or the radio show "Off The Record". (My point.)

Then, the second most important things is likely *when* it happened. (Your point.)


Of course with your example, it depends how you answer this...

Do you have *several* documents that pertain to *one* Conference?

If so, then your style works better...
Code:
2013-10-13 IACS Board Minutes
2013-10-13 IACS Commitee Minutes

2013-11-04 IACS Board Minutes
2013-11-04 IACS Commitee Minutes

2013-12-15 IACS Board Minutes
2013-12-15 IACS Commitee Minutes

But as I was thinking, if you want to see all of the "Board Minutes" as a group, and all of the "Committee Minutes" as a group, then this style is better...
Code:
IACS Board Minutes 2013-10-13
IACS Board Minutes 2013-11-04
IACS Board Minutes 2013-12-15

IACS Committee Minutes 2013-10-13
IACS Committee Minutes 2013-11-04
IACS Committee Minutes 2013-12-15

Of course any of these approaches is better than what most people do which is...
Code:
Minutes 1.doc
minutes 02.doc
Bd Minutes-3.doc
Committe Minutes 1.doc
Minutes Nov 2013.doc
and so on...
;)

Sincerely,


Debbie
 

snberk103

macrumors 603
Oct 22, 2007
5,503
87
An Island in the Salish Sea
I can see your point, but for me, this style is better...
Code:
debbie_resume_2013-12-01.doc

OffTheRecord_2013-12-08.mp3
I group topics into a folder. So, all of my CVs are in one folder, sorted by date, and then the name can indicate what kind of CV. This puts the most recent CVs at the top, but then I can scan down to find the most recent one that I sent to a Gallery (as opposed to a juried show). I tend to keep each version so I can go back and see what I sent out, say 3 years ago. If I need an update a CV I just grab the latest one, and rename it to the date that it applies to.

For the IACS stuff, I will have 6 to 10 documents each month. So I create a folder for each month, and tuck those folders into a year folder. Current year at the the root for IACS, and past years get tucked into a Past Years folder. Reference documents - that don't tend to change much from year to year have their own folder within IACS - as do each project. Project folders will be dated when they are moved into the Past Years folder. For my needs, the date is more important than keeping each Committee's minutes together by topic. Though when I need to do that I will create a folder for that Committee and populate it with Aliases to the relevant documents. One of the underused powers of the OS imo, are aliases.
...

Of course any of these approaches is better than what most people do which is...
Code:
Minutes 1.doc
minutes 02.doc
Bd Minutes-3.doc
Committe Minutes 1.doc
Minutes Nov 2013.doc
and so on...
Amen!
;)

Sincerely,


Debbie
Welcome back, btw….
 

doubledee

macrumors 6502
Original poster
May 14, 2012
496
0
Arizona
I group topics into a folder. So, all of my CVs are in one folder, sorted by date, and then the name can indicate what kind of CV. This puts the most recent CVs at the top, but then I can scan down to find the most recent one that I sent to a Gallery (as opposed to a juried show). I tend to keep each version so I can go back and see what I sent out, say 3 years ago. If I need an update a CV I just grab the latest one, and rename it to the date that it applies to.
As a former colleague used to say, "I think we have violent agreement here!!"

:)



Though when I need to do that I will create a folder for that Committee and populate it with Aliases to the relevant documents. One of the underused powers of the OS imo, are aliases.
Good idea. I may have to look into that more...


doubledee said:
Of course any of these approaches is better than what most people do which is...
Code:
Minutes 1.doc
minutes 02.doc
Bd Minutes-3.doc
Committe Minutes 1.doc
Minutes Nov 2013.doc
and so on...
Amen!
:)


Welcome back, btw….
Thank you, but I didn't know I left?! :p


(BTW, thanks for the "geeky" conversation today, guys. I miss the days when that was a more common occurrence on the Internet...)

Sincerely,


Debbie
 

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