How to batch rename multiple files on OS X Yosemite in a snap!!!

Batch rename files on Mac OS X

Why do we want to batch rename multiple files on Macs or any other system? As our digital library continues to grow, it could be probably a good strategy to maintain a consistent file name format, including data such as date, time and description so they make more sense. If you haven’t been using such a file naming strategy from the start, you’ll probably find yourself confronted with the frustrating task of renaming a mound of unnamed files. For instance, if you have bunch of images in a directory with file named something like PIC00011.jpg / IMG_0479.png, which is not very descriptive and less meaningful, and of course it isn’t going to help you pencil in a certain image taken at particular spot or period.

If you are planning to rename each and every file manually then it would take ages in Finder. Until OS X Yosemite, the whole process has been very annoying – you either had to do it manually, using terminal, Apple’s Automator utility or perhaps you might have reached out for some third-party tools or shell scripts to rename a set of files quickly. Thanks to OS X Yosemite, now you can get the job done right from the Finder window using the built-in batch file renaming tool that allows Mac OS X users to rename large group of files, folders, photos or anything else residing on the file system straight away in a single move. The new bulk rename functionality comes with Yosemite is very powerful, yet extremely simple to use. It can take the place of even the best batch file renaming tools available for Mac OS X.

Rename multiple files with simple inbuilt batch rename tool

It’s really easy to get started, select all files you want to rename, right-click and choose ‘Rename # Files‘ from the context menu that shows up – where # represents how many files you’ve selected. Now you get the options to batch rename files on top of the OS X Window.

Replace text

batch-rename_replace-text Mac OS

This option lets you carry out a search and replace multiple file names with new text you would like to replace it with. Pick out ‘Replace text‘ from the drop-down menu, and then enter the text you want to search down in the left column and its replacement on the right column.

Add text

batch-rename_add-text Mac OS

This option enables you to include some additional text to each file name, either before or after the name, which doesn’t mean you can use this option to change the file extension, you still have to add text before the file extension.


Batch rename_Format Mac OS

The Format option is a little more robust than above two options. If you would like to totally replace the existing file names with the new text, Format is what you must consider, and it is more appropriate when dealing with multiple files with different names. Within Format option, you can choose a new custom name alongside an Index, Counter or Date & time. In each case, you can choose to place the Index, counter or Date & Time before or after the custom name.

The whole rename process happens almost instantaneously, though if you’re planning to rename hundreds or thousands of files in a batch it would take a moment or two to complete the process, as it happens on a file by file basis. But in most cases, you won’t notice any lag. Once done processing, the changes will reflect immediately on Mac OS X Finder.

Final thoughts

If you have been using third-party batch file rename tools, you’ll find this built-in OS X utility relatively basic. While this tool lacks some of the advanced functionalities you will find in third party utilities it is good enough to satisfy the needs of most users. If you need more flexibility, better consider third-party alternatives. There are plenty of third-party applications that can batch rename multiple files. Generally, they all come with identical features – some are cost-free while others are not. Still it’s hard to look past built-in & free batch file renamer utilities. If you are willing to pay, then I recommend you to use batch rename utility called Name Mangler, which can do many more advanced operations as well, including extension change, Meta extraction, and many more. Free options include Renamer, NameChanger & OS X Automator tool.

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