Batch Rename Files - Built In To The Mac Finder

Batch Rename Files – Built In To The Mac Finder

Do you need to rename files on your Mac? If you have a bunch of files to rename, it can be a pain to do them one-by-one. Lucky for you, there’s a hidden feature of the Finder that lets you batch rename files – all built in to OS X.

There are tools you can buy to do bulk rename on the Mac, and these can be great for more complex jobs, but there may be no need to spend the money.

Right-Click To Batch Rename Files

In a recent DocumentSnap newsletter, I shared how I use folder templates to make it easy to keep a consistent filing structure for things like yearly finance folders. There were some requests from readers to show how I go about doing this, so here we are.

In Finder, find the files or folders that you’d like to rename. In my case, I have a folder structure that starts with 20XX. Every year, I copy it and rename it to the current year.

Select your files/folders using Cmd or Shift and right-click. You’ll see an option Rename X Items…. Choose that.

Batch Rename Files Right Click

Choose Your Rename Type

On the left, you’ll see a dropdown list where you can choose three ways to rename: Rename Text, Add Text, and Format.

Batch Rename Files Type

I almost always use Rename Text, but I’ll quickly show you what each does.

Add Text

If you choose Add Text, it keeps the existing filename but allows you to put some text either before or after the filename.

Batch Rename Files Add Text

Here you can see that I’ve added -TextAdded after the name, and in the example you can see that reflected.


Format lets you rename with a specific format. You can choose base text for the filename (in my example below I put New File Name ), and you have three options:

Name and Counter

Batch Reame Files Format Name and Counter

It puts a 5 digit counter after or before your filename. You can start the number wherever you’d like.

Name and Index

Batch Rename Files Format Name and Index

Similar to Name and Counter, but without the leading zeroes.

Name and Date

Batch Rename Files Format Name and Date

Places a date and time stamp before or after your filename. Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be a way that I can see to format the date and time.

Replace Text

As mentioned earlier, this is the method I usually use to rename.

Batch Rename Files Replace Text

In my folder template example, I want to find XX and rename with 16. You can see in the example on the screen, it will call the new folder 2016 Bank which is what I want.

Batch Rename Files Renamed

As you can see, after running Finder Rename with Replace Text chosen, it’s renamed everything to 2016 and I am good to go for the current year.

OS X’s built-in Finder Rename isn’t as full featured as products you can buy, but to batch rename files quickly and easily, it’s a great tool to have built-in and free.

If you have additional tips for how you use it, leave a note in the comments.

About the Author

Brooks Duncan helps individuals and small businesses go paperless. He's been an accountant, a software developer, a manager in a very large corporation, and has run DocumentSnap since 2008. You can find Brooks on Twitter at @documentsnap or @brooksduncan. Thanks for stopping by.

Leave a Reply 3 comments

mikey - April 11, 2016 Reply

I tend to use Pathfinder (a Finder replacement), as it allows you to PREVIEW in real time the change before applying it. Just in case I screw it up, so I can change it before applying.

Mike - March 2, 2016 Reply

OMG I have been using a $$ fee-renamer for a couple of years for countless archiving. This is SO much simpler. Excellent tip Brooks!

jean-marc - February 24, 2016 Reply

Great tip Brooks, I never explored batch rename before, now I sure will, thanks a lot

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