How to Rename Several Files at Once in macOS

In early versions of Mac OS, users looking for a way to quickly rename multiple files simultaneously (commonly referred to as batch renaming) had to use the command line or download and install a third-party tool dedicated to the task.

Since OS X Yosemite however, Apple has integrated several useful batch renaming capabilities directly into Finder.

To rename several files of the same kind on your Mac at once, follow the steps below. In our example we're going to be batch renaming some photos.

  1. Open a Finder window and locate the files you want to rename.
  2. Drag a selection box over the files with your mouse or hold the Shift key and click them one by one.

  3. Click the Action button in the Finder toolbar. Alternatively, right-click (or Ctrl-click) one of the selected files in the Finder window.

  4. Select Rename [XX] Items in the menu.
  5. Select Format from the first dropdown menu in the Rename Finder Items panel.

  6. In the next dropdown, select a Name format. We're going to use Name and Index, but you can optionally select Name and Counter or Name and Date.

  7. Enter a common name for your files in the Custom Format field.

  8. Enter a starting number for the file series in the Start numbers at field. Note that if you selected a number format, you can use the Where dropdown to choose whether the sequential numbers appear before or after the common name of your files.
  9. Make sure you're happy with the preview example at the bottom of the Rename panel, then click Rename.
The selected files will now be renamed with your chosen nomenclature. Note that if you're note happy with the change, you can select Edit -> Undo Rename in the Finder menu bar or press the keys Command-Z to revert the files back to their original names.

How to Add Text to Existing File Names

Finder's renaming tool also lets you add supplementary text to filenames without changing their original titles.



Simply select the files whose names you want to adjust and bring up the Rename Finder Items panel as described above, only select Add Text from the from the first dropdown instead. Then just type in the additional text in the input field.

How to Search and Replace Text in File Names

Finder also allows you to rename only certain files whose names include a certain piece of identifying text. This is particularly convenient if you have tens or hundreds of files in a folder with different names and you only want to change those files that contain a particular word.


Select all the files in a folder (make sure they're all of the same kind, or this won't work), bring up the Rename Finder Items panel in the same way as before, but this time select Replace Text in the first dropdown.


Now simply type the identifying text you want to replace into the Find field, and enter the text you want to replace it with in the Replace With field, then click Rename.



Top Rated Comments

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3 weeks ago
Automator says hi.
Rating: 6 Votes
Avatar
3 weeks ago

In early versions of Mac OS, users looking for a way to quickly rename multiple files simultaneously (commonly referred to as batch renaming) had to use the command line or download and install a third-party tool dedicated to the task.


Automator!?!?!?

It’s like Apple built in a few Automator scripts into Finder, because I had 2 scripts saved from back in 2006 for exactly this purpose: batch renaming files, and replacing words in filenames with other words. I’m not a programmer or anything, but Apple made Automator so easy to use!!

I used my Automator for naming imported photos using a specific format I liked (YYYY-MM-DD, photo number starting from 001, then Custom text/title), as well as renaming songs in music albums a certain way (01. Artist Name - Song Name), etc.

This looks good too; better in some ways, but worse in others.
Rating: 4 Votes
Avatar
3 weeks ago

This is something much simpler in Windows. Highlight a group of files, right click on one, choose rename, the rest get the same name with numbers. If you start one with a number in brackets or is it parentheses . The rest get higher numbers.


So what, this is a Mac forum.
Rating: 3 Votes
Avatar
3 weeks ago

how can I mass convert file formats?
need to convert RTFD to TXT


Terminal > cd to folder with RTFD files > for file in *.RTFD; do mv "$file" "${file%.rtfd}.txt"; done
Rating: 2 Votes
Avatar
3 weeks ago
This is actually pretty cool. As a graphic designer who sometimes deals with hundreds of photos and other creative assets per project, this is a great way to efficiently sort and organize files.
Rating: 2 Votes
Avatar
3 weeks ago

This is something much simpler in Windows. Highlight a group of files, right click on one, choose rename, the rest get the same name with numbers. If you start one with a number in brackets or is it parentheses . The rest get higher numbers.


Much simpler and less robust. That is a pretty standard trade off.
Rating: 2 Votes
Avatar
3 weeks ago

You lose me at 'not free'...

Some things are worth paying for. I use it every day.
Rating: 1 Votes
Avatar
3 weeks ago
This is something much simpler in Windows. Highlight a group of files, right click on one, choose rename, the rest get the same name with numbers. If you start one with a number in brackets or is it parentheses . The rest get higher numbers.
Rating: 1 Votes
Avatar
3 weeks ago


[LIST=1]
* Drag a selection box over the files with your mouse or hold the Shift key and click them one by one.


Nitpicky here, but I would recommend command-click instead of shift-click. If you select two non-adjacent files with shift-click, it will select all of the files in between. Great if you want that, but if you don't, go with command-click for selecting items one by one.
[doublepost=1546707681][/doublepost]

This is actually pretty cool. As a graphic designer who sometimes deals with hundreds of photos and other creative assets per project, this is a great way to efficiently sort and organize files.

Same. Photoshop has some built-in file renaming capabilities but (par for the course for Adobe) it's a bit convoluted and harder to set up.

For next-level file renaming past what Finder can do, A Better Finder Rename ('http://www.publicspace.net/ABetterFinderRename/index.html') has lots of additional features.
[doublepost=1546707907][/doublepost]

I just found it interesting since macOS is usually more intuitive. That Apple implemented a more roundabout solution for this.

I think this is more intuitive in that it's called out in the interface and walks you through the options.
Rating: 1 Votes
Avatar
3 weeks ago

In early versions of Mac OS, users looking for a way to quickly rename multiple files simultaneously (commonly referred to as batch renaming) had to use the command line or download and install a third-party tool dedicated to the task.


Or, to repeat what others have said, Automator has been able to do this since forever. Didn’t know about doing it directly in the finder tho - that’s cool.
Rating: 1 Votes
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