Records Management

Email attachments

Rule 11: The file name of an email attachment should include the name of the correspondent, an indication of the subject, the date of the correspondence, 'attch', and an indication of the number of attachments sent with the covering email, except where the inclusion of any of these elements would be incompatible with rule 2.

Further guidance is available for managing your emails and when and how to save your emails to a shared drive.

Managing your email

Do I need to save the email?

Sometimes emails will be received with attachments that need to be filed on a shared drive. The Records Management Section guidance on managing email gives further guidance on managing your emails and when and how to save your emails to a shared drive. Sometimes the covering email will just be a transmission document which does not add any value to the attachment. In which case it is not necessary to save the email, only the attached document, and rule 11 is not relevant, although the others rules will be. If it is necessary to file both the covering email and the attachment on a shared drive, the documents will need to be saved separately, but the file names should provide a cross reference between them; rule 11 should be used for the attachment and rule 10 should be used for the email.

The file names of attachments that have been received should include the following elements so that the context of the record is maintained:

  • name of correspondent
  • subject description
  • date of email
  • 'attch' - to indicate the document is an attachment
  • [2 digit number] of [2 digit number] - to indicate the number of attachments received with the same covering email

When deciding the order of the elements consider rule 8. It will usually be appropriate to order the elements in the same order in which they are listed above, as it is likely that the email and its attachment will be retrieved according to the correspondent. Also consider rule 2; a description of the subject may already be given in the folder name.

Order elements appropriately

Avoid repetition and redundancy


Correct file name
(Ordered alphanumerically as the files would be in the directory list)
Incorrect file name
(Ordered alphanumerically as the files would be in the directory list)
This example shows the incoming and outgoing correspondence concerning complaints. The email received from Mr Joe Bloggs on 5 December 2003 included two attachments. The attachments are listed above the email and are numbered so that it is easy to see that there were two attachments and that both are listed. This folder also includes an email from Miss Helen Thomas on 10 June 2003, which included one attachment.