Text string used to uniquely identify a computer file / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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A filename or file name is a name used to uniquely identify a computer file in a file system. Different file systems impose different restrictions on filename lengths.

Screenshot of a Windows command shell showing filenames in a directory
Filename list, with long filenames containing comma and space characters as they appear in a software display.

A filename may (depending on the file system) include:

The components required to identify a file by utilities and applications varies across operating systems, as does the syntax and format for a valid filename.

Filenames may contain any arbitrary bytes the user chooses. This may include things like a revision or generation number of the file such as computer code, a numerical sequence number (widely used by digital cameras through the DCF standard), a date and time (widely used by smartphone camera software and for screenshots), and/or a comment such as the name of a subject or a location or any other text to facilitate the searching the files. In fact, even unprintable characters, including bell, 0x00, Return and LineFeed can be part of a filename, although most utilities do not handle them well.

Some people use of the term filename when referring to a complete specification of device, subdirectories and filename such as the Windows C:\Program Files\Microsoft Games\Chess\Chess.exe. The filename in this case is Chess.exe. Some utilities have settings to suppress the extension as with MS Windows Explorer.