Filenames for notes

I’m just getting started today, and one of the first things I did was change the capture template to remove the date from newly create note filenames. It makes sense for me to use short descriptive names, and to capture the date created and last modified times in the file headers.

I wonder though, since the default is to use the dates in the filenames, if there is a reason for this? If there any functionality in org-roam that requires filenames include the creation date? I wanted to confirm this before I get too far along!



It’s more like a workflow convention used in the contemporary software striving to implement the Zettelkasten method. I’m not aware of any issues with Org Roam that may arise when not using dates in filenames.

Using timestamps may be handy though, because minute-precise timestamps in practice ensure the filenames are unique, which is an Org Roam requirement. When you have 1000 notes, I’d say the odds are high your short descriptive filename gets incidentally duplicated when adding note number 1001. So, unless you ensure uniqueness in some other way, using timestamps helps you not to rely on your memory when creating new notes. Looking for notes may also be easier, since people tend to remember, approximately, when they did particular things. As a bonus you get a neatly sorted list of files in your file manager.

There’s no hard requirement on filenames for Org-roam. You can think of it in terms of pros and cons:



  1. Human-readable
  2. Accessible via normal file-managers


  1. Need to think of descriptive file-name beforehand: some find it difficult to name their notes before a title comes to mind
  2. Might not be unique, which can cause issues downstream (e.g. Foo and foo both result in the same file-name). This is unlikely to happen

(1) is somewhat alleviated by the new automatic file renaming mechanism based on title.



  1. Guaranteed to be unique
  2. File independent of note content: links don’t have to change when file is renamed

(2) is less of a pro, because we have some mechanisms in place to update the links on file changes, but this is still brittle to bulk renames (see


  1. Can’t navigate around files without Org-roam, since IDs are incomprehensible
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This is what I wanted to know as well. But I have a couple of different ways to see this that I can share if you don’t mind hearing voices from more angles.

Personally, I think one of the most important benefits of a plain text system like org-mode (and markdown, etc.) is that it’s human-readable directly, without any help from particular software. So I am not super hyped to make my files leaning towards machine-friendly more than human-friendly on the spectrum in any way. Imaging browsing these files from your phone, depending on the design of the app, your filename might overflow the width of the screen, hiding the most important part of the file name leaving you mostly useless date information.

About the duplication of note titles, IMHO, if you find yourself creating a second note called emacs, your note should probably go into the same file? Unless I missed some points here. Please let me know if I did. Unless of cause, if you are adopting a file-based style that keeps small notes into separate files. For me, I categories notes into topics, which presents themselves as files. So I have medium to large sized files with notes that are relevant to the topic.

Let me know what you think.