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A better finder rename: Easily rename batches of files

Dan Miller | Jan. 23, 2014
If you deal with lots of files (and who doesn't?), chances are you've occasionally run into problems with their names. Say you've got a series of image files with less-than-descriptive titles (such as IMG00001.jpg, IMG00002.jpg, and so on)--you'd like to rename them in a more useful, more descriptive, manner. The trick is to find a way to do so without manually renaming each file, one at a time.

If you deal with lots of files (and who doesn't?), chances are you've occasionally run into problems with their names. Say you've got a series of image files with less-than-descriptive titles (such as IMG00001.jpg, IMG00002.jpg, and so on) — you'd like to rename them in a more useful, more descriptive, manner. The trick is to find a way to do so without manually renaming each file, one at a time.

There are a bunch of batch-renaming utilities out there that make such chores simpler: You give the app a selection of files, and then tell it to rename all of them at once, using some kind of pattern (for example, "Add Summer vacation photos 2013 to the beginning of each file's name"). Many of these utilities are relatively inexpensive apps, such as File Rename Pro ($7), Rename ($4), and Rename It ($3), that provide relatively basic services. But there are also a few more-advanced (and more-expensive) tools designed for those who need power beyond what such basic apps provide.

We've reviewed one of those advanced tools, Many Tricks's Name Mangler. But another, comparable, program deserves some recognition, too: the awkwardly titled but nicely designed A Better Finder Rename ($20; Mac App Store link — note that the Mac App Store version is called Better Rename 9).

Like Name Mangler, A Better Finder Rename (let's just call it ABFR from now on) arranges its renaming options in groups:

Text (add or insert text at a specific spot in the original filename; remove, replace, or move text)

Characters (replace or remove specified characters; keep only specific characters; remove trailing spaces; remove vowels)

Character position and ranges (remove a number of characters from the beginning or end, or in a specific range)

Conversions (convert to lowercase, uppercase, title case, sentence case, or camel case; remove diacriticals; convert to Mac OS 9 names; make names Windows NTFS/SMB compatible)

Truncate (to a certain number of chars, or to the old 8.3 format)

Sequencing (add some kind of sequential data, such as image1, image2, and so on, to file names; to create the file order, you can sort by name, modification date, creation date, size, and other factors)

Alphabetical sequences (add said sequences at the beginning or end, before or after existing text, or at a particular position)

Add Roman numerals

Rename with date or time

Image dimensions

MP3/AAC tags

Parent folder name

Path components (you specify how many levels of parent folders show up in the new name)

Tags (you choose from among a huge number of file, image, camera, and date metadata)

Advanced (rename from a name list in a file; replace or rearrange using regular expressions; completely rename)

 

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