Quick tip: Get to your most important emails and files with one naming trick

Use symbols or numbers to quickly access your most-used folders, email labels, and other digital content

Do you find yourself often using the same folders, email labels, bookmarks and so on? If you use a naming convention that includes symbols, such as a dash (-), or numbers at the beginning, you can quickly pin those items to the top of an alphabetically sorted list for easier access.

This is an old trick that IT pros and power users have been doing for ages. If you haven't incorporated symbols yet into your system, though, you'll find this is a great timesaver.

The beauty of it is that naming trick works practically everywhere. In addition to pinning folders and files to the top of a list, you can make the most important email labels, your favorite playlists, important contacts, Evernote tags and notebooks, and more appear before all the others.


A few things to note, though. Windows won't let you name files or folders with certain characters, including \ / : * ? " < > and |. I stick to the dash because it's just one key press (as opposed to the underscore or tilde ~).

Sometimes programs have difficulties with special characters. If you run into that problem, use numbers: e.g., "00 Backups" and "01 Work in Progress".

And of course, you should use this only for a few special items (otherwise it defeats the whole purpose if you have special characters on every folder).

Don't forget there's one other quick way to access your favorite folders: Drag the folder to the Favorites section in Windows Explorer (or OS X's Finder) or pin it to the taskbar (or dock).

What's your naming convention look like?

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