Despite the hours of research and writing you put into it, sometimes naming your project is the hardest part. When you aren’t ready to pick a final name for your project – the one that will live on forever – you may want to come up with a tentative title.


A tentative title is used to name a project when it's not yet completed and should provide a summary of the work being done.

What Is a Tentative Title?

It can be difficult to write a final title when all the research or writing is not yet complete. Inspiration for a title often doesn’t strike until you tie up all the loose ends and have all the information available.

A tentative title, which can be considered a working title synonym, gives you a way to name your project without finalizing it. That way, you or others who need to know about the project can still reference the project in a way that makes sense.

When you still have time to go in completing your project, a tentative title provides a summary that doesn’t need to be as descriptive or creative as your final title. Your working title examples may take an entirely different direction once your project gets underway.

Why Use a Tentative Title?

There are many reasons to use a tentative title. Projects are often started before all the other details are determined. Much like an author may write an entire manuscript before deciding on a title, projects may not have a final name until completion. This often happens if the focus of a project is anticipated to change throughout.

A project title can hold a great deal of importance if it is used in conjunction with the launch of a new product, for example. Therefore, a great deal of thought often goes into the creation of the project title. It is not uncommon for a team of workers to be tasked with simply creating a project title, and they may go through a lot of working title examples until they come up with a suitable one.

The project may be of such magnitude that it’s important to get it launched prior to the finalization of the project title. Many organizations use a tentative project title in place of a final project title to get the project underway. This gives them the flexibility of adapting the project title to the project as it evolves. It also gives them time to build consensus among the group as to what would be the best project title.

How to Choose a Working Title

To choose a working title, you should summarize your project while being specific. That means highlighting keywords about your project that people would understand if they came across it. For example, if you are working on a project that involves creating artwork out of metal scraps gathered at junkyards, working title examples might be “Junkyard Metal Art” or “Creating Metal Art.” Once you complete your project and feel inspired, you can come up with a more creative or descriptive title as you see fit.

If you are choosing a working title for a project like a thesis, it’s often done near the end of your proposal when you have a better idea of where your research will lead. A working title for a thesis is one that often changes as you write your thesis. Unlike projects you may do for an employer, a working title for a thesis should use searchable keywords since many universities allow them to be searched from their libraries.

No matter the project, it is a good idea to come up with a working title early so that it helps you keep your focus on the purpose of the project.