Invalid Characters In File Names

Your CatDV system may have NSA custom middleware installed or have the Worker Node performing outside scripts via command line as part of a Worker Action. While CatDV is usually fine with most any character you want to put into a field name or field value, some outside processes and applications don't accept certain characters.

Additionally if files are moved between different storage platforms, problems can emerge. Even if you assume that you will always use a specific OS, it is a best practice to future proof your files so that as they move and are stored on varying systems they will not create issues.

Example: An editorial house that is “Mac-only” might have Mac edit systems (OS X OS, HFS+ filesystem) attached to Facilis Terrablock for their main storage, (Windows OS, Facilis filesystem) an Isilon Tier-2 (Linux OS & filesystem) and then finally an SGL archiving system (Windows Server OS, LTFS filesystem.) Throw in a delivery to a web video distributor (Linux OS & filesystem) and an outside vendor who uses Windows Workstations and storage for their editorial process and you can see the potential for problems in a “Mac-only” workflow.

The short answer for how to name a file is:

Use standard alpha numeric characters (A-Z, 0-9), underscores and dashes.

If you want to dig deeper, read on.

The following chart is adapted from the Apple article linked below as it takes into account all three of the major OS’s. We have included other useful resources and articles along with the link to the source of this list.

Trailing Spaces - Note also that trailing spaces are often an issue and are very hard to see in a path or filename. An example of a trailing space is:

/folder-name /

In a dark interface or a small font, it can be hard to identify these. We find that searching for " /" on a mac or " \" on a PC, (That's a space followed by a forward or back slash) can help you identify and clean these up.

The main offenders we see most often are the apostrophe and quotes ( ' and " ). These are the most commonly used bad characters in regular English ( casey' for instance) so be on the look out for them especially.

Apple Article:macOS: Cross-platform filename best practices and conventions

Microsoft Article: Naming Files, Paths, and Namespaces "Naming Dropbox files and folders"

If you'd like to add a problematic name or character from your own life check out our File Name Hall Of Shame submission form.

This information is provided as a courtesy and implies no warranty or guarantee. Use at your own risk and discretion. NSA assumes no responsibility for data loss or other issues resulting from the use or misuse of this information.