I often need to export many similar plots with just one parameter changed. I like to include the parameter in the file name. For example

Export["Figure_" <> ToString[#] <> ".pdf", Plot[# x, {x, 0, 1}]] & /@ {1, 2, 3, 4}
(* {"Figure_1.pdf", "Figure_2.pdf", "Figure_3.pdf", "Figure_4.pdf"} *)

However sometimes the parameters are not so nice, e.g. {0.000001,-5,6.23}. I do not want to include the decimal point in the file name, as this could cause some issues if it is interpreted as the beginning of a file extension. In addition I would like to replace the minus sign with an alternative character or strategy.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I suggest you to save the parameters in a file and name the figures according to the order of the parameter in the file. $\endgroup$
    – Wen Chern
    Oct 11, 2019 at 18:53
  • $\begingroup$ @WenChern Thank you, a sensible suggestion in many situations. However I am often exporting a few (say 8) figures that I then drag and drop into presentations (for science communication purposes) so it's useful to quickly see the parameters in the file names. $\endgroup$
    – Tom
    Oct 14, 2019 at 11:54

1 Answer 1


I have defined a custom function that I find quite convenient

fileName[base_, n_, r_] :=
   StringReplace[ToString[Round[n, r]], {"." -> "p", "-" -> "m"}],

It replaces the decimal point with the letter "p" (for "point"). It replaces minus sign with "m". And you can truncate the number with r for rounding. Here are some example usage

fileName["fig", #, 0.01] & /@ {0.23, -5.2, 10, 0.00001}
(* {"fig_0p23.pdf", "fig_m5p2.pdf", "fig_10p.pdf", "fig_0p.pdf"} *)

fileName["fig", #, 1] & /@ {-2, -1, 0, 1, 2}
(* {"fig_m2.pdf", "fig_m1.pdf", "fig_0.pdf", "fig_1.pdf", "fig_2.pdf"} *)

It's not perfect, but I quite like it.


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