File Management Tips


Multiple versions of document files (PDF, DOC, DOCX, etc.)

A clear strategy for linked documents will help build search engine presence and maintain incoming links.

Avoid multiple public versions of linked documents. Search engines and users may find expired or archived documents if you do not follow best practices regarding file naming and removal of expired files. Remember, if a file exists on the production server, it can be indexed by search engines, linked from internal and external web pages, and viewed by web users.

Best practice for managing public web documents:

  • Use a generic and well-structured file name for the current document, e.g. residency-rules.pdf vs residencyrulesrevised120415.pdf
  • Avoid file names with version numbers, except for archive purposes, and only where several versions must be kept public. 
  • To decrement a current document to an archived document, create a copy of the current document in OU Campus Pages, and append the version number by renaming the copied file. 
  • Over-write the expiring doc with the new current doc, using the OU Campus "overwrite existing" option, to preserve both the OU Campus file tag and the existing URL address.
  • "Recycle" any documents that should not be available to the public; this will delete the document from the public web server, but maintain a copy with version notes in the Recycle Bin.
  • Publish or Republish any documents or files that should be public. Check the list of published files by switching the OU Campus Pages view from Staging to Production 

If you are required to maintain a version number in the current document:

  • Upload and overwrite the expiring doc with the new doc, with the exact same name as the expiring doc, using the OU Campus "overwrite existing" option. 
  • Rename the file with the new version number. This will retain the unique file tag for the document, and will present a list of affected pages that must be republished. Copy and save this list to share with administrators to republish those pages. Republish any pages to which you have access.

Naming, managing and uploading files

“What if I have multiple images or PDFs to upload? Do I have to rename every single file, every time I upload?”

The short answer is, “Yes”.

OU Campus will not permit uploads of files with Mixed Case, spaces, special characters, etc.

  • PDF documents should be uploaded to the /pdf folder
  • JPEG, PNG and GIF should be uploaded to the /images folder
  • PPT, XLS, DOC must be uploaded to the /docs folder
  • for more organization or categorization, create new folders within existing document folders

The required file name convention is: lowercase alphanumeric, with hyphens as separators.

  • e.g. my-image.jpg, my-awesome-document.pdf
  • not: March Meeting Minutes & Notes.pdf, I_think_this_is_Bobby?.jpg

If you have previously viewed a PDF document in a browser at a specific URL (web address), you may see a cached version of the file the next time you vist the URL during the same browser session. Browsers cache files such as PDFs for a browser session, and can be configured to either check for a new version with every page view, or never check for a new version.

You can try viewing the file in a browser you don’t normally use, and you should see the new version unless your browser is misconfigured. You can also try closing and opening your browser to force it to renew the cache, or you can manually remove a file from the browser cache.

Adding a query string to the URL to force browsers to download a new file

If you believe other users are seeing an older version of the file, you can increment the version number of the file manually, to force browsers to download a new copy of the file. This is done by adding a query string to the end of the URL. A good schema for the query string is ?v=20180205 where the number is a date in YYYYMMDD format.

In OU Campus, you would add this string to the URL field, immediately following the file tag.
Example: /university-web-services/docs/web-101-instructor-outline.docx?v=20180205

You should manually increment the query string each time you upload a new version of a file.

Renaming and uploading multiple files

Renaming files one at a time (whether before or during upload) may be a huge hassle if you have more than a few.

However, you can:

  • batch rename the files to lowercase-hyphen
  • compress multiple files to a zip archive
  • upload via OU Campus zip import

Detailed info on batch file renaming (and shareware software tools):

Microsoft Windows:

Apple Mac OS X: