Batch renaming

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Batch renaming is a form of batch processing used to rename multiple computer files and folders in an automated fashion, in order to save time and reduce the amount of work involved. Some sort of software is required to do this. Such software can be more or less advanced, but most have the same basic functions. Batch renaming software exists for most operating systems.

Batch renaming can also be referred to as 'mass file renaming', rename 'en masse' and 'bulk renaming'.

Contents

Common functions

Most batch renamers share a basic set of functions to manipulate the filenames:

Some batch rename software can do more than just renaming filenames. Features include changing the dates of files and changing the file attributes (such as the write protected attribute).

Common uses

There are many situations where batch renaming software can be useful. Here is a list of some common uses:

Basic renaming problems

There are a few problems to take in consideration when renaming a file list.
(=> means: renamed to)

file01 => file02 (file02 already exists in file-system)

file01 => file03
file02 => file03 (file03 is already used)

file01 => file02 (file02 already exists in file-system)
file02 => file03 (file03 already exists in file-system)
file03 => file01 (file01 already exists in file-system)

Two-pass renaming

A two-pass renaming use a temporary filename (that doesn't exist in file-system) as shown below.
(=> means: renamed to)

file01 => file01_AAAAA
file02 => file02_AAAAB
file03 => file03_AAAAC

file01_AAAAA => file02
file02_AAAAB => file03
file03_AAAAC => file01

It solves the cycle renaming problem.

If this approach is to be used care should be taken not to exceed any filename length limits during the rename, and also that the temporary names do not clash with any existing files.

List of batch renaming software

This is a list of notable batch renaming programs in the form of a comparison table.

NameLicenseWindowsMac OS XLinuxBSD/FreeBSDUnix-like
ApertureCommercialNoYesNoNoNo
AutomatorCommercialNoYesNoNoNo
GNOME CommanderFree, GNU General Public LicenseYes
(via Cygwin)
NoYesYesYes
GPRenameFree, GNU General Public License v3NoNoYesYesYes
KRenameFree, GNU General Public License v2NoNoYesYesYes
MétamorphoseFree, GNU General Public License v3YesYesYesYesYes

Footnotes