What's this about?

Operating systems and cloud services that are compatible with Atakama (Box, Dropbox, Google Drive) are sensitive to special characters that appear in file names. If you have added files to your Atakama folder and they then disappear after an automatic sync with your cloud provider, it is likely due to the use of special characters or another issue with the name of the file. To resolve the issue, rename the file without the use of the special character(s) and re-add it to your Atakama folder.  Below are known issues with certain special characters to be aware of. 


Special characters to always avoid in file names

You will likely encounter issues with files that contain the following characters in their names:

  • / (forward slash)
  • \ (backslash)


Special characters to avoid in Windows

If your file may be opened on a system running Windows, please make sure it does not include the following special characters:

  • < (less than)
  • > (greater than)
  • : (colon)
  • " (double quote)
  • | (vertical bar or pipe)
  • ? (question mark)
  • * (asterisk)
  • . (period) or a space at the end of a file or folder name


Special words to avoid in Windows

There are a set of reserved words in Windows that may not be used as valid filenames. For the list of these reserved words, review the information under Naming Conventions found in this article from Microsoft: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/desktop/FileIO/naming-a-file#naming-conventions


Periods at the beginning or end of a file name

  • Filenames that begin with a period (".") in macOS or Linux are automatically treated like hidden system files. Do not name files with a period at the beginning of the filename.
  • Filenames that contain a period at the end of the filename (e.g. "myfile.txt.") are not valid and will lead to processing issues.


Maximum filename length

Some systems and services are sensitive to the length of a file's name as well as the name itself. If your file has a particularly lengthy name, try shortening it.

  • Dropbox, for instance, has a maximum filename length of 260 characters. 
  • Some applications, such as Microsoft Excel, will limit file names to 218 characters. 
  • Windows counts the entire path to the file as part of its name. If you have a document called "letter.docx" that you keep in your Documents folder, it's actually considered to be 39 characters (because its full path is "C:\Users\Green\My Documents\letter.docx") and not just 11 characters.


Shortcuts and aliases

  • Shortcuts (Windows) and aliases (macOS) are not actually files themselves and merely references on your system in one place to actual files in another place. Instead of using Atakama to protect a shortcut or alias, protect the original file itself.