Blackboard File Naming Convention

To avoid problems uploading or downloading files, and to assure that others can readily access content, use the following file naming and content naming guidelines in Blackboard:


  • Use only letters, numbers, and underscores (_)
  • Include a file extension (e.g. .doc; .ppt)
  • Limit the file names to fewer than 32 characters.

Don't Use:

  • Special characters such as @, #, $, %, ^, &, *, or ?
  • Spaces, commas, equal signs, or dashes
  • Periods (.) anywhere in the filename except right before the file extension

MAC Users:

When using a MAC Operating System, make sure that the appropriate extension is appended before uploading the file to Blackboard.  Blackboard will not recognize files without extensions.


Instructors should provide explicit instructions to students on how to name files for various activities. Properly named files facilitate identification of the document owner, especially when batch downloading files. See examples below of correct and incorrect naming of documents and items added to Blackboard,  as well as the Grade Center Column labels:

File Naming:

Incorrect: John Wayne assignment #2.doc
Correct: John_Wayne_assignment2.doc

Grade Center Column Labels (instructors only):

Incorrect:  Unit #1 Project (10pts)
Correct:   Unit1_Project_10pts OR Unit_1_Project_10pts

The guidelines listed above apply to the following Blackboard items or content:

  • Content Items, Files, and Folders
  • Assignment and Survey Titles
  • Discussion Forums and Threads
  • Group Names