An internet legal filename is simply the name of any file that adheres to some basic standards for online delivery. An internet legal filename has no spaces, odd characters and only a single period, then a 3-letter suffix. In addition, filenames should not exceed 50 characters in length. While many CMS's allow longer ones (including Campusuite,) it can depend on the operating system of the server your site is hosted on. Example: Campusuite CMS takes the entire title of a news release and converts it into an SEO friendly filename to enhance your search engine stickiness. So you can see how characters in a filename can add up.

If you post a filename on your web site that uses an illegal filename, the results can be unexpected. Some browsers will produce a file not found error message and others won't know what to do with it.

Here are some characters that should not be in a filename: !@#$%^&*,+' and we discourage perens ( ), spaces, and never more than a single period.

See the examples below to understand what is and is not an internet legal filename.

Internet illegal filenames (bad)

  • Annual.Report.doc (has 2 periods, should only have 1 before the three-letter suffix)
  • Third Quarter Annual Report#3.xls (has spaces and a hash # sign)
  • NewMonkeySuit!.pdf (has an exclamation point)
  • somedocument (missing the period and three-letter suffix)
  • Jane@the-summit.jpg (has @ sign)


Internet legal filenames (good) here are the above filenames corrected.

  • Annual-Report.doc
  • Third-Quarter-Annual-Report-rev3.xls
  • NewMonkeySuit.pdf
  • somedocument.jpg
  • Jane-at-the-summit.jpg