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How to Rename Multiple Files at Once on Mac

by | Feb 18, 2024

If you have a lot of files with generic names or want to reorganize your folders, renaming multiple files at once can be a big time-saver. This is especially useful when you have a big project, like organizing your photo library.

Renaming a single file on a Mac is easy. Just select the file and press Return to edit its name, or right-click and choose Get Info to access a menu where you can change the name.

However, renaming multiple files can be tricky. Manually selecting each file would take a lot of time and could lead to mistakes and typos. Instead, you can use one of the methods described below to make batch renaming easier.

Let’s start with the simplest tool for renaming multiple files at once.

How to Rename Multiple Files at Once on Mac

Method 1: Batch rename files using Renamer

Renamer

If you need to rename a bunch of files all at once, you can use a tool called Renamer. It’s great for simple changes like adding numbers or keywords, as well as more complex renaming tasks. To use Renamer:

  1. Open the Renamer app.
  2. Drag and drop the files you want to rename into the app window. If you prefer, you can also manually search for the files by clicking the plus button.
  3. Use the options on the left-hand menu to apply specific rules to different file types. For example, you can add geotags to photos.
  4. If the rule you need isn’t available, you can create your own by clicking the plus button at the bottom of the left-hand menu and selecting “New Renamerlet.” Give it a name and set up its function.
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If you often rename image files, you might find Squash helpful. It not only has a simple batch renaming feature but also lets you compress, resize, and add watermarks to your photos. It’s an all-in-one tool for working with images.

Method 2: Batch rename files using Finder

Finder

If you want to rename multiple files in Finder at once, you can easily do that using a simple Finder window. Here’s how:

  1. Open Finder on your Mac.
  2. Find the files you want to rename.
  3. Hold down the Shift key and click on the files you want to rename together.
  4. Click on the three-dot icon at the top of the Finder window.
  5. Select “Rename” from the dropdown menu.
  6. Choose the “Format” option, which is the third one in the Rename toolbar.
  7. Now you need to select a Name Format for your file renaming. You can choose from options like Name and Index, Name and Counter, or Name and Date.
  8. In the Custom Format box, enter the new name that you want to give to all the selected files.
  9. Enter a number in the “Start numbers at” box. It can be 1 or any other number you prefer.
  10. Click on “Rename.”

As a result, all the selected files will be renamed with the name you entered in the Name Format box, followed by a sequential number starting from the digit you specified in the “Start numbers at” field.

How to Add Text to a Batch of Existing File Names

If you want to add extra text to a group of file names without removing the original names, you can do that using Finder. 

Here’s how:

  1. Open Finder on your Mac.
  2. Find the files that you want to rename.
  3. Hold down the Shift key and click on the files you want to rename together.
  4. Click on the three-dot icon and choose “Rename” from the menu.
  5. In the dropdown menu, select the second option called “Add Text.”
  6. In the “Add Text” field, type the word or words that you want to add to the file names.
  7. You can also choose whether the added text will come before or after the existing file names.
  8. Click on “Rename” to update the file names with the new text.
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By following these steps, the selected files will have the new text added to their names, while keeping their original names intact.

How to Rename a File that is Currently Open or in Use?

If you want to rename a file that is currently open or in use, you can’t do it directly through the Finder or by using the Get Info option or hitting Return. Closing the document just to rename it can be a hassle, and you might forget to rename it later.

Here’s a quick trick to rename an open document:

  1. Go to the “File” menu.
  2. Select “Save As.”
  3. Enter a new file name and choose a new location if you want.
  4. Click “Save.”
  5. The document now has a new name, and all future saves will be done with that new name. Remember to delete the old document with the original name.

Since it’s easy to forget and leave behind old copies of the file, it’s a good idea to install CleanMyMac X if you haven’t already. It can regularly scan your files and automatically delete unnecessary copies.

CleanMyMac X

How to undo a batch-rename of files on Mac

If you want to undo a batch-rename of files on your Mac, you can do it easily with Renamer or Finder:

With Renamer:

  1. Open the app and choose “Edit” from the menu.
  2. Select “Undo Rename Files” to undo the latest batch-rename action.

With Finder:

  1. Open Finder and go to the “Edit” menu.
  2. Choose “Undo Rename” or press Command + Z to undo the most recent batch-rename action.
  3. However, keep in mind that Finder can only undo recent actions. If you performed any other actions in Finder after renaming the files, you won’t be able to undo the batch-rename.

How to replace and search certain words in files on Mac

How to replace and search certain words in files on Mac

If you want to replace and search for specific words in files on your Mac, here’s how you can do it:

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Using Renamer:

  1. Open Renamer and click the plus button in the toolbar to add a new action.
  2. Give your action a name and choose “Find & Replace” as the action.
  3. Customize other options like whether to apply changes to the name only or name & extension, and select/deselect case sensitivity.
  4. Enter the words or characters you want to replace, followed by the words or characters you want to replace them with.
  5. Drag and drop your files into Renamer and run the action.

Using Finder:

  1. Locate the folder in Finder that contains the files you want to rename.
  2. Hold down the Shift key and click to select all the files you want to rename.
  3. Click the three-dot icon at the top of the Finder window.
  4. Choose “Rename” and then select “Replace Text” from the options.
  5. Enter the words or characters you want to replace, followed by the words or characters you want to replace them with.
  6. Click “Rename.”

By following these steps, you can easily search for specific words and replace them in file names using Renamer or Finder on your Mac. Also read How to Transfer Photos from iPhone to Mac.

Conclusion

In conclusion, renaming multiple files at once on your Mac can save you a lot of time and streamline your file management process. Whether you choose to use Renamer or the Finder, the steps provided in this article offer easy and efficient methods for batch renaming, searching, and replacing words in file names.

Now it’s your turn! Have you tried renaming multiple files on your Mac using these methods? What other file management tips and tricks do you find helpful? I invite you to share your experiences and thoughts in the comments below. Let’s learn from each other and make file organization on Mac even more convenient! 

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