How To Bulk Rename Files On Your Mac.
Oftentimes, when you download files from the Internet or copy files from a USB drive, the naming formats don’t always match your expectations. This is especially true for digital camera image files, as they often have names that don’t describe anything (DSC_01.jpg doesn’t tell me anything about the image).
While you can always easily rename your files so that they have meaningful names, doing it manually for a large number of files is not ideal. If you do it manually, it will take you ages to rename all these images to your liking.
Fortunately, if you’re using a Mac, the task won’t be as tedious. Mac has both built-in and third-party ways to quickly and easily rename multiple files at once. Just give the Mac your files and it will rename them the way you want.
Use Finder to batch rename files on Mac
So far, you’ve probably used the Finder to rename individual files on your Mac, but it can do more when it comes to renaming files. Finder supports batch renaming of files, so you don’t need to use anything other than Finder to give your files a new name.
This function is not hidden anywhere and is in your context menu all this time. Let’s open it up quickly and see what it can do for you.
Open the folder where the batch rename files are in the Finder on your Mac.
When you have opened the folder, select all the files you want to rename. Press Command + A to select all, or use the Command button to make individual multiple selections.
Right-click any of these files and on the context menu you will find the Rename X Items option (where X is the number of files you have selected). Click on it.
Instead of the usual renaming effect, you get a dialog box where you can specify how the files are renamed. Here are each of the options, briefly explained for you:
Replace Text – This allows you to find existing text and replace it with what you like.
Add Text – this allows you to add text before or after the name of the current file.
Format – here you can format the name, for example, you can include your own text followed by an increasing number for your file names and so on.
After you click the Rename button, you will see that all the files you have selected now have your new names. The effect is instant, so you don’t have to wait for the files to be renamed.
Use Automator to rename files in bulk
The built-in Finder method does a great job of bulk renaming files, but it may not be ideal if you want to apply specific pre-selected names to files.
In this case, the Automator app will be a good choice as you can pre-configure it with the names of your choice and then simply drop the files into that app to rename the files.
Launch the Automator app on your Mac, select Workflow as New Document, and click the Select button. This will allow you to create an application to rename files.
On the next screen, you will need to add an activity to the workflow. Find the Get Selected Search Items action in the list of actions and drag it into the workflow.
Another action that you need to add to the workflow is called Rename Search Items. Drag it to your workflow too.
When you add the second action, you will be asked if you want to make copies of the files before renaming them. Select “Don’t add” and the original files will be renamed.
On the next screen, you define how you want to name your files. Select the appropriate options from the drop-down menus, which are self-explanatory. After configuring this part, save the workflow by clicking File and then Save.
Enter a friendly name for your application, choose Application from the File Format menu, and click Save.
To rename files using the newly created application, simply select all the files you want to rename and drag and drop them onto the application in the Finder.
The custom Automator app will instantly rename your files using predefined options.
If you want to make the app more accessible, you can drag and drop it onto your dock. Then you can drag files to the app in the Dock to rename.
Use a third-party app to change file names in bulk
In most cases, the above two methods will do the job for you. However, if you have special requirements for renaming files, you can use a third-party application to accomplish this task.
There are a number of applications for Mac to help you rename files on your computer, and you can use any of them to accomplish your task. Here we will show you how you can use the Transnomino app.
- Download and move the application to the Applications folder on your Mac. Then run the application.
- Drag all the files you want to rename from Finder and drag them into the application. Your files will appear in the list.
- Use the dropdown at the top to choose how to bulk rename files. You can replace text, prefix text, and even use regular expressions to change filenames. Finally, when you are satisfied with your choice, click Rename at the top to perform the actual rename.
The great thing about using this app to rename files is that it shows the final result even before you hit the rename button. This way you know what your file names will look like and can change them if necessary.
It used to be very difficult to rename multiple files at once as there were no batch renaming functions available. However, most operating systems these days have at least one built-in feature that will help you change multiple filenames in one go.