The Optimal Way to Name Media Files on Plex
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Plex is a fantastic media server. It’s easier to use and simpler to maintain than its big rival, Kodi. However, that doesn’t mean things can’t go wrong.

One area where lots of users appear to have problems is with automated metadata. Plex can scrape several agents and match your content to the correct poster art, season description, and episode titles. But many users claim it doesn’t work.

Almost always, the issues stem from how you’ve named your files. You have to follow a very strict format for the metadata scan to function.

File Naming Techniques for TV Shows

How you name your files depends on what type of content they are. Movies, TV shows, and music all need to be named using different formats.

The Optimal Way to Name Media Files on Plex plex metadata 670x310

For TV shows, there two possible options. Either each file represents an individual episode, or multiple episodes are rolled together into one file.

Place the files in the following folder structure:

  • /ShowName/Season XX/

For single episodes, name each file as:

  • sXXeYY

For multiple episodes, name the file as:

  • sXXeYY-eYY

Users also frequently fail to tag non-sequenced episodes correctly (for example, pilot episodes and Christmas specials).

Specials should be put into the following folder structure:

  • /ShowName/Specials/

And the individual episodes should be labeled as season zero (i.e. s00eYY).

File Naming Techniques for Movies and Music

Labeling movies is much easier. Just make the filename match the official name of the movie, following by the release year. For example, Titanic (1997).mov.

Lastly, set up your music files. If they already have metadata embedded, Plex will find and use it. If they don’t, Plex uses the following structure to scan metadata agents for the right tags:

  • /ArtistName – AlbumName/TrackNumber – TrackName

Renaming all your content could be a time-consuming task, but you’ll enjoy a much better Plex experience if you invest the time.

Have you encountered problems with Plex metadata? Let us know in the comments below.

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  1. Ryan
    July 18, 2017 at 5:30 pm

    All the time. So frustrating. I have to take a picture of my computer screen so I can do a manual search because the art belongs to shows I have never even heard of before. Seems like it's getting worse

  2. RehabEng
    July 18, 2017 at 4:57 pm

    Not sure why exactly, but even though I followed the naming conventions... My Plex server initially gave everything the wrong matches and mixed up season folders when I pointed it at the whole media drive in one go.

    I'd recommend adding shows one folder at a time and confirming the matches before adding more. It still mixes up additions, sometimes burying new episodes in the wrong show match and it takes forever to find them.

  3. Joel
    July 18, 2017 at 3:58 pm

    FileBot is great for automagicaly renaming files to Plex friendly names. I use it all the time on my server.

    • Guardian4673
      July 19, 2017 at 10:42 pm

      I don't know how to add a plus one to that comment, so here (+1). Filebot is awesome, and free if you don't get it from the Windows Marketplace. However the Marketplace version updates automatically.