Information, Technology & Consulting

Best Practices for Collaboration

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There are many ways to collaborate and communicate in Office 365. A good overview on this topic can be found online at https://www.arrayasolutions.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Arraya_Microsoft-Collaboration_Whitepaper.pdf.

Once you have started to use collaboration tools as part of your daily workflow, you will want to use these tools and services in a way that ensures continuity for you and your collaborators.

How you organize and name files will have a big impact on your ability to find those files later. You and your collaborators should set up a clear directory structure, and be consistent and descriptive in naming and organizing files so that it is obvious to everyone where to find specific data and what the files contain.

Keep file names short as possible, and avoid subfolder layers.

  • File names should be less than 30 characters.
  • There is a 255 character limit to the length of a file path.
  • A “file path” specifies the location of a file or folder.
    • Ex for PC. C:\Users\username\Documents\filename
    • Ex for Mac. Macintosh HD/Users/username/Documents/filename
  • Your computer’s backup program may not be able to complete a backup if the file path for a file or folder is over 255 characters.
  • When creating subfolders (folder inside a folder, also referred to as nested folders) refrain from going more than 2 or three folders down as this makes the file path name longer.

Special characters should be avoided when naming files and folders.

  • Such as . / ~ ! @ $ % ^ & * ( ) ` ; < > ? , [ ] { } ' " and |
  • Do not use slashes in file and folder names. In many operating systems, the slash symbol (both forward / and backward \) designates a change of directory or file path.
  • File and folder names should not begin with a dot (period).

A good format for date designations is YYYYMMDD or YYMMDD.

  • This format makes sure all of your files stay in chronological order.

For file storage, take advantage of online storage to ensure that you and your collaborators are using the latest version of shared files.

  • It is not necessary to synchronize all your online data to your computer.
  • Avoid sync'ing the documents you use in collaboration with an O365 Group or SharePoint site to avoid overwhelming and potentially filling up your computer hard drive.
  • The OneDrive Sync client allows you to sync specific files and folders from an O365 Group or SharePoint site with your local computer. If you will be traveling and need to work on files when you won't have an internet connection, select to sync those specific files to your local computer. This will allow you to work on those files when you need. Then, when you're connected to the Internet again, the changes that you made will automatically sync back up to the appropriate O365 Group or SharePoint site. 
Topic: 
Email, Communication and Collaboration
Subtopic: 
File Sharing
Last updated: 
Thursday, May 18, 2017

If you have questions or need further information, contact your department's IT support office, or contact the IT Service Desk via email at [email protected], via phone at 603-646-2999 or walk in to see them in Baker/Berry 178J.

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Information, Technology & Consulting