Microsoft

How do I ... use ReNamer to batch rename files?

Batch file renaming is not a task anyone should have to undertake manually. It is time consuming and a mistake can be costly. Jack Wallen shows you how to use the open source application, ReNamer, to safely rename files in batches.

Batch file renaming is not a task anyone should have to undertake manually. It is time consuming, and a mistake can be costly, especially when dealing with production files. Fortunately, there are tools available that make this task much easier to tackle.

One of those tools, ReNamer 5.40, takes batch file renaming to levels of simplicity and flexibility most others cannot match. With a well thought-out GUI and a simple interface, ReNamer should easily find its way into your toolbox.

This blog post is also available in PDF format in a TechRepublic download.

Getting and installing

Installing ReNamer in both XP and Vista is simple: Download the ReNamer installation file, double-click the executable file, and let the installer do its job.

There is also a second method of installing, should you choose. On the download page you will notice a *.zip file for ReNamer. This is an archive file that contains the ReNamer binary but also a configuration file, translations file, and a help file. The main reason why you would want to use the second method is that it does not actually install ReNamer on your system. Instead you just double-click the ReNamer executable file within the archive directory to open the application.

If you go for the simple installation, once you have completed the install, you can open ReNamer from the newly created directory in the Start menu.

First start

When you first start ReNamer, the application will know this is your first start and ask you if you want to view the documentation (which is in the form of a PDF file). If you decline to view the help file, the main ReNamer window will open (Figure A).

Figure A

Even the GUI spells out how easy ReNamer is to use.

Usage

Now that ReNamer is open, it should be obvious how it works. Here are the steps made simple:

  • Drag files or folders into the lower pane of the ReNamer main window.
  • Create rules for the rename.
  • Preview the rename by clicking the Preview button.
  • Rename the files by clicking the Rename button.

That's it. Of course, before you get going it will be smart to know exactly how rules are created.

Creating rules

To create rules in ReNamer, click in the upper pane of the ReNamer main window, which will open the rules "wizard," shown in Figure B.

Figure B

There are a number of rule types to use.

The first step is to know exactly what kind of renaming you are doing. Say, for instance, you have a folder full of images from a digital camera that start with "IMG_" and you want to replace that with "sales_A_." To do this, you would select the Replace option and enter IMG_ in the Find area and sales_A_ in the Replace area. Once you have filled this out, and any other options that might apply, click the Add Rule button to complete the process.

There are some very handy rules that can be added. The Insert rule allows you to enter text in to the file name in the exact position you want. Say you have a folder filled with documents that are all a particular revision, but none of the file names reflect the revision. You can add the revision before the extension by entering the characters you want to use for the revision, clicking Suffix, ensuring that the Skip Extension option is checked, and then clicking Add Rule.

When you click the Preview button, the new name will appear next to the original name. If everything looks good, click Rename and the process will begin. Depending on the amount of files you are renaming, the complexity of the rules, and the power of the machine, the renaming could take a while. Simple renames are nearly instantaneous.

Filters

There is a button that rests between the upper and lower panes labeled "Filters." When you click this button, a new window will appear (Figure C) that allows you to configure default behavior when files and folders are added.

Figure C

Using these filters can make adding files and folders a lot easier.

There are two other buttons next to the Filters buttons. These are for Exports and for Options. These apply only to current rules and files/folders and are not global.

Final thoughts

If you don't want to mess with learning regular expressions and dealing with command-line tasks, ReNamer is the perfect tool to help you do batch renaming. It's simple to use, reliable, and free. Give it a go the next time you have some serious renaming to accomplish.

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Other similar renaming applications are available in the TechRepublic Software Library.

About

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website getjackd.net.

13 comments
dragontoung
dragontoung

I found this artical very,very helpful, Only one questian: What files or folders are you refering to?

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

Putting him on the windows blog was bad enough surely. :p

moktarino
moktarino

Where are your batch scripting chops? Why spend 10 minutes with some fancy-dan piece of software when you can spend just a few hours making a batch script to do the same thing?!?

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin

In the past, I have had to rename files in a batch process as part of a business procedure using DOS. Is the renaming of files in a batch still a common business necessity? How do you manage it?

pgit
pgit

Must be a side effect of getting that tux tattoo. Maybe the ink drained the pigment from the hair follicles. Jack, I'd have that condition looked at, you don't want to go prematurely gray now, do ya?

rkuhn040172
rkuhn040172

With a script I can run it on a schedule.

stephen714
stephen714

Why use a special program when all you need to do is select the files you want to rename, right click on one of them and select rename. Give that file a name and all those selected will be renamed the same, only with a number for each. What I would like to know is how to change the file extension for a group of files without changing the file names?

moktarino
moktarino

..that I was being sarcastic. I wasn't.

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