A Guide to Batch Renaming Multiple Files on Your Mac

Renaming a large number of files on your computer can be a daunting and time-consuming task. Thankfully, Mac users have access to a couple of easy methods to accomplish this quickly. In this guide, we will explore two options: using the Rename feature in Finder and creating an Automator workflow.

Batch Renaming Multiple Files Using Finder:

1. Open Finder and navigate to the folder containing the files you wish to rename.
2. Select all the files you want to rename by clicking on them while holding the Command key.
3. Control-click on any of the selected files and choose the “Rename” option from the context menu.
4. In the Rename tool, select “Add Text” from the dropdown menu below “Rename Finder Items.”
5. Enter the desired text you want to append to the filenames.
6. Choose whether you want to add the text before or after the current filename.
7. Click the “Rename” button to apply the changes.

You can also explore other options in the Rename tool, such as replacing text or using different formatting, to suit your specific needs.

Batch Renaming Multiple Files Using Automator:

Automator is a powerful built-in app in macOS that allows you to create custom workflows. With it, you can save time by creating a workflow to batch rename files. Here’s how:

New Workflow in Automator:

1. Open Automator on your Mac using Spotlight Search or other methods.
2. Click on “New Document” and select “Application” as the document type.
3. In Automator’s library, locate and double-click the “Get Selected Finder Items” action.

4. A dialog box may appear asking if you want to add a “Copy Finder Items” action. Click “Add” to enable copying of files in case of any issues.

5. If the dialog box doesn’t appear, double-click the “Copy Finder Items” action from the list.
6. By default, duplicates of the files will be saved on the desktop. If you have a large number of files, it’s recommended to create a folder and specify it as the destination in the “Copy Finder Items” action.
7. Double-click the “Rename Finder Items” action in the list.
8. Choose your preferred renaming option from the dropdown list, such as “Make Sequential.”
9. Customize the options provided based on how you want the filenames to appear.

10. Save the workflow by clicking “File” in the menu bar, selecting “Save,” and choosing a suitable location. Ensure that the file format is set to “Application.”
11. Optionally, you can add the workflow to your Dock for easier access in the future by dragging it from the saved location.

To batch rename your files using the Automator app:

1. Open Finder and go to the folder with the files you want to rename.
2. Select all the files by holding the Command key and clicking on them.
3. Drag the selected files into the Automator app in the Dock or other saved locations.
4. Grant access to Finder when prompted by clicking “OK.”
5. If the Automator app requests access to additional folders, click “OK” again.
6. The renamed files will be located in the folder specified when creating the Automator app.

Though the process may involve multiple steps, the advantage is that you can reuse the app for future renaming tasks. This is particularly useful for quickly sorting large numbers of photos or videos.

In conclusion, Mac users have convenient options to rename multiple files effortlessly. Whether you choose to utilize the Rename feature in Finder or create customized Automator workflows, you can save time and avoid the tediousness of manual renaming.

How to Rename Multiple Files at Once on Mac

Renaming multiple files on a Mac can be a time-consuming task when done one by one. Fortunately, there are several methods available to streamline this process and save you a lot of precious time. In this guide, we’ll explore different ways to rename multiple files at once on your Mac.

Using Finder

1. Open Finder: – First, ensure that all the files you want to rename are in the same folder. If not, move them into a single directory.

2. Select Files: – Click on the first file you want to rename, and then hold down the Shift key while selecting the last file in the sequence. This selects all the files in between as well.

3. Right-click: – Right-click on any of the selected files and choose “Rename X items,” where ‘X’ is the number of files you’ve selected.

4. Choose Rename Format: – You can choose various renaming formats, such as replacing text, adding text, or formatting based on name and index.

5. Apply Changes: – After configuring your renaming options, click the “Rename” button. This will rename all the selected files according to your specifications.

Using Automator

1. Launch Automator: – Go to your Applications folder and open “Automator.”

2. Create a New Workflow: – Choose “New Document” and select “Workflow.”

3. Select Actions: – In the Library, choose “Files & Folders,” then drag and drop the “Rename Finder Items” action into the workflow area.

4. Configure the Action: – You can choose to rename files by adding text, replacing text, or changing the name format.

5. Run the Workflow: – Click the “Run” button in the upper right corner to execute the renaming process.

Using Terminal

1. Open Terminal: – Launch the Terminal application from your Utilities folder.

2. Navigate to the Directory: – Use the cd command to navigate to the directory containing the files you want to rename.

3. Use the mv Command: – You can use the mv command to rename files. For example, to add a prefix to all files in the directory, you can use a command like for file in *; do mv "$file" "prefix_$file"; done.


Q1. Can I undo a batch rename if I make a mistake?

  • Unfortunately, Finder and Automator don’t provide a built-in way to undo batch renames. It’s crucial to double-check your renaming settings before confirming.

Q2. What if I want to sequentially number my files?

  • You can use Automator to add a numbering scheme to your files. In the “Rename Finder Items” action, choose the “Make Sequential” option.

Q3. Can I rename files in subfolders using these methods?

  • Yes, you can apply these methods to subfolders by selecting the top-level folder and choosing the appropriate options.

Q4. Are there third-party apps for batch renaming?

  • Yes, there are many third-party apps available on the Mac App Store that offer advanced batch renaming features, like A Better Finder Rename and NameChanger.

Q5. Is there a way to preview the changes before applying them?

  • Unfortunately, Finder and Automator don’t offer a preview feature. It’s advisable to make a backup of your files before performing batch renames to be safe.

Renaming multiple files on your Mac doesn’t have to be a tedious process. By using these methods, you can efficiently and creatively organize your files with just a few clicks or commands. Remember to exercise caution and make backups when performing batch renames to avoid any mishaps.

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