How to Batch Rename Files on Your Mac

Many times when you download files from the Internet or you copy files from a USB drive, the naming format is not always what you expect. This is especially true for image files captured on digital cameras because they often have names that don’t describe anything (DSC_01.jpg tell me nothing about the image).

While you can always easily rename your files so they have meaningful names, doing so for a large number of files manually isn’t ideal. It will take you forever to rename all those images to your liking if you do the task manually.

Fortunately, the work won’t be too tedious if you use a Mac. Macs have both built-in and third-party ways to quickly and easily rename a bunch of files at once. Just give your Mac your files and it will rename them however you want.

Use Finder to Batch Rename Files on Mac

So far, you may have used Finder to rename single files on your Mac, but it can do so much more when renaming files. Finder is built with batch rename files so you don’t need to use anything but Finder to give your file a new name.

This feature is not hidden anywhere and it is always in your context menu. Let’s quickly reveal it and see what it can do for you.

Open the folder containing the batch renamed files in Finder on your Mac.

Once you have the folder open, select all the files you want to rename. Press Command + A to select all or use Request to make multiple custom selections.

Right click on any of those files and you will find an option that says Rename X items (where X is the file number you selected) in the context menu. Click it.

Rename 4 items in the right-click menu

Instead of the usual renaming effect, you’ll get a dialog box that lets you specify how you want to rename your file. Here are each option briefly explained to you:

Replace Text – this allows you to find an existing text and replace it with something you like.

Add text – it allows you to append text before or after the current filename.

Format – here you can format the naming such as you can include a custom text followed by an increasing number for your filename etc.

Rename the Search Items window

Once you have clicked Change name , you will see that all your selected files now have your newly given name. The effect is instant so you won’t have to wait to rename your file.

Use the Automator app to batch rename files

The built-in Finder method does a great job of renaming your files in bulk, but it might not be the ideal solution when you want to apply some pre-selected names to your files.

In this case, an Automator app would be a good choice as you can pre-customize it with the names you chose and then simply throw the files into this app to rename the files.

Launch Automation apps on your Mac, select Working process as a new document and click Choose button. It will allow you to create your application to rename files.

Workflow selected in the Automator window

On the following screen, you’ll need to add an action to your workflow. Look for action named Get selected search items in the action list and drag it into your workflow.

Get selected search items in Actions window

Another action you need to add to your workflow is called Rename Items in Finder. Drag it into your workflow.

Rename search engine items in the Actions window

When you add the second action, you’ll be asked if you want to make a copy of your files before they’re renamed. Option No more and it will rename your original files.

Action confirmation window

The following screen is where you define how you want to name your files. Select the appropriate options from the self-explanatory drop-down menu. Once you’ve customized this, save the workflow by pressing File Followed by Save.

Rename Finder items menu

Enter a meaningful name for your app, select Register are from File Format and click Save.

The Save As window in Actions

To rename files using the newly created application, simply select all the files to be renamed and drag and drop them into the application in Finder.

Desktop File Renamer icon next to a row of jpegs

The custom Automator app will instantly rename your files using your predefined options.

If you want to make the app more accessible, you can drag and drop it to your Dock. You can then drag your files to the app in the Dock to rename.

Use a third-party app to change filenames in bulk

In most cases, the above two methods will get the job done for you. However, if you have special needs to rename your files, you may want to use a third-party application to perform the task.

There are several apps for Mac to help you bulk rename files on your machine, and you can use any of them to do your task. Here we show you how you can use the Transnomino app.

  • Download and move apps to Applications folder on your Mac. Then launch the application.
  • Drag all the files you want to rename from Finder and drop them into the app. Your files will appear in the list.
  • Use the drop-down menu at the top to choose how you want to batch rename your files. You can replace text, prefix text, and even use regular expressions to change the name of your file. Finally, when you are satisfied with your selection, click Change name at the top to do the actual renaming.
Transnomino application window

The great thing about using this app to rename your files is that it shows the end result even before you hit the rename button. This way, you know what your filenames look like, and you can modify them, if needed.

Inference

In the past, it was difficult to rename a bunch of files at once because batch renaming was not available. Today, however, most operating systems have at least one built-in feature to help you change multiple filenames in one go.

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