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File Name Characters to Avoid

Ever try to save a file only to be told that the file name is “invalid” due to a character issue? It’s not you, nor a jab at your personality, I promise!


So, to avoid future problems, I give you a list of characters to avoid:

* Asterisk

< >[ ] Brackets

= Equal sign

+ Plus sign

” Quotes

\ / Slashes

, . : ; Comma, Period, Colon, Semicolon

Why don’t these characters work in file names? Simple—they have specific functions in Windows so it confuses the system if a filename contains them.


Back in the old days before Windows was smart enough to tell you that a file name was invalid, it often resulted in disaster. Now it just gives you an annoying pop-up and a stern reprimand.

~ David