May 10, 2006

Batch rename tutorial

LifeHacker and Yahoo! Tech posted a tip on how to batch rename a list of files in Windows Explorer. I thought of making a small tutorial on this, mainly because they didn't mention anything about the powerful batch renaming utility in Total Commander (one of the best file managers out there).

  • Ok, first things first. Open Windows Explorer and browse to a folder where you have a bunch of files that you want to batch-rename (for instance images stored from your camera). You can open directly Windows Explorer by pressing the Windows key and E. No shame if you don't know exactly which one is the windows key, see the image below:

    Windows key

  • Now select the files that you want to rename and then press F2 (or right click and select Rename)

    Batch rename

  • Enter a name that you want to use for the files, and then press Enter. You'll see that all the files will be renamed and they will start with your entered name plus (number). If you don't like what happened or want to go back to the original names, click Ctrl+Z (or Edit->Undo). Problem is that you'll have to do this for each individual image.

    After rename

Now, this is how is done in Windows Explorer. There are also freeware tools to do this, much more powerful then the Windows XP batch renaming tool, like the Rename-It tool (open-source). But if you're a Total Commander user, you know that beside having the best file manager out there (personal opinion), you also have a powerful renaming tool.
In Total Commander just select the files you want to rename and press Ctrl+M to open the Multi-Rename-Tool.

multi-rename tool in total commander

There are a lot of options in there, so you better hit the F1 key to open the help file and read what each of those options does. An example (from Total Commander's page): "[N] means the name of the file (without the extension), [N1-5] means the first 5 characters of the file name, [C] means a counter, etc. You can use the buttons to insert common placeholders
The file list below the buttons show the rename result in real time, without actually renaming the files!
When you're satisfied with the results, click "Start!"
If you made a mistake, you can click on "Undo". This even works after closing and re-opening the rename tool!"

So here you have it. Recommended only when you have lots of files, don't follow this tutorial only to bulk rename 4-5 files.