Naming a Top File or Folder

You’ve probably got a good file and folder naming system all worked out — at least, I hope so. But sometimes when you’re working you want to force Explorer or Finder, depending on whether you’re in Windows or Mac OS, to bring a certain file or folder to the very top of the alpha list but don’t feel like doing the AAA Taxi trick used by the old Yellow Pages optimizers. Simply preface your file name with a non-alphanumeric symbol and the system will sort that to the top.

Some symbols on your keyboard are off limits, though, when it comes to naming files and folders, so use any but these:

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 “reserved characters”:

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

So tilde ~ works, as does the “octothorpe” #, the dollar sign $ etc.


  1. Thanks for sharing this list! I encourage lawyers to use this approach within their document management systems as well… I described the techniques specific to DMS in my blog at

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