Manual of style/Naming files

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(Note: there is some overlap between the naming files and the naming of articles. For more information, please read the naming articles guide.)

As this wiki is used by many people, we ask that editors follow these simple guidelines before uploading a file. We are grateful for all contributions and will assist where necessary, but following this manual of style can save us all time in the long run.


Uploading a file to one of the Retro wikis is exactly the same as storing a file on a computer. That is to say, every file has a file name, a means of identifying the file, and a file type which describes what type of file the upload is.

In practise, the only difference is that only users with special privileges have the ability to delete files. Any interaction with an uploaded file is also logged, which includes replacement uploads and renaming the file should the need arise. This helps us tackle any abuse of the system, but is something to bear in mind (basically, don't play with it more than you need to).

The software powering this wiki makes few distinctions between a "file" and a regular text-filled page (like this one). That is to say, from an end-user's perspective, all files are technically pages. This allows you to write lengthy descriptions specifically about a file (should you need to), and it's all kept together in one place.

File names

We ask that all files, no matter how big or small follow a rough naming scheme that looks something like this:

<name> <system> <region> <media> <other stuff>.<extension>

This means the file name is descriptive. Theoretically we should be able to know what the file contains without needing to view it directly - this makes things easier to manage.

The wiki software will automatically prefix the name with "File:" so that it knows to treat it differently to a normal page.


  • "StreetsofRage MD EU Box.jpg"
  • "Coolspot_md_us_cart.jpg"

The vast majority of files already uploaded to the Retro wikis follow a similar naming scheme - lists here, here and here. Files can be renamed on your local machine (which is quicker), or on the upload screen itself. The exact formatting (e.g. if you use capital or lower case letters) of these names is less of an issue - we just need to know what it is you've uploaded.

Not all files need include every section (for example, video game screenshots - "File:Sonic2 MD title.png" is sufficient for describing a title screen for Sonic the Hedgehog 2), but when in doubt, make the name longer.

Do not upload a file with an ambiguous, illegible or frankly stupid name such as:

  • "1348240392 8403928403928421 349.jpg"
  • "A.png"
  • "Sonic2.jpg"

Failing to use descriptive filenames runs the risk of us releasing our herd of ravenous beasts to track you down and eat you.

Important: The wiki software will not automatically add a file extension (i.e. the file type) if this is left blank. Please don't forget it, and please make sure it matches up with the file itself (e.g. don't give a compressed ZIP file a ".jpg" extension).

File types

A general rule is to use the PNG format for screenshots or "simple" graphics, JPEGs for scans or photographs (save for scans of multiple-page books and magazines, which should be PDFs), and SVGs for vector graphics. For programs and ROM files, 7ZIP format (.7z) is preferred - failing that, RAR or ZIP. Exceptions can be made, but for the most part, sticking to these guidelines helps us ensure files are of a reasonable size for internet usage, while remaining of high quality.

Never ever ever upload BMP files, and unless it's animated, stay away from GIFs.

Categorising files

The Retro wikis have many thousands of files, and to help with organisation, we ask that you try and categorise your uploaded files correctly. As mentioned above, every file is treated by the wiki software as a "page" - when presented with the initial upload form, the "summary" field is a means of putting text on that page.

For more information regarding image tagging, see this page. Similar rules apply to non-images.

Try not to leave the summary field blank, otherwise the software will treat it as an empty page. Users with special privileges can fix problems en masse by finding patterns, but if the page is empty this method doesn't work (so we have to edit each one manually).

"Moving" files

The wiki software has no concept of "renaming" a file. Instead, a file is "moved" from one name to another, with the old name redirecting to the new one (that is to say, a search for the old file name will return the new one).

Sometimes moving a file (or a page - everything can be "moved") is reasonable and necessary. A non-descriptive file name should always be moved to a descriptive one, however to avoid a potential trail of redirects we encourage you to sort out the file name before uploading.

Other considerations

  • Try to avoid duplicate files (note: the wiki software is known to be sometimes slow at generating thumbnails - unless it specifically tells you otherwise, assume the file has uploaded correctly)
  • If there is tons of wasted or unnecessary space in a file, crop it out/delete it
  • No watermarks, ever.
  • Try to avoid duplicate files
  • If the content can be shared between wikis, consider uploading here to Retro CDN instead
  • Try to avoid duplicate files