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Thursday
Nov242005

Use the built-in Batch Rename in Windows Explorer to give files consistent and readable names

The Scenario

One has a lot of oddly named files such as thsoe produced by a digital camera.

Example of what a digital camera might produce:

  • pic383718.jpg
  • pic120453.jpg
  • pic938889.jpg
  • pic109012.jpg
  • pic433590.jpg
  • pic219093.jpg

The Pain Experienced

  • The names are meaningless
  • The ordering is unclear
  • One has to open them up to determine their content and order

What is Desired

  • Give the files nice names that make sense without having to open them up.
  • A way to do this without having to download or purchase a tool

Windows XP comes with a built-in solution to batch rename files

  • Browse Windows Exploer to the files you want to fix
  • Switch to Details view (recommended, but not required)
  • Order the view by time or name or size as desired
  • multi-select all the files to with the names you don't like
  • While the files are selected, right click on the file you want to consider as the *first* one. The context menu will appear.
  • Select Rename
  • The file upon which you right-clicked will now show that you can edit its name
  • Change the name as desired and add a space and a starting number in parenthesis and leave the extension alone
    • Example:
      • Rename this file: "pic383718.jpg"
      • To this: "My Vacation in Italy (1).jpg"
  • The rest of the files will be renamed to match that pattern.
    • Final Output
      • My Vacation in Italy (1).jpg
      • My Vacation in Italy (2).jpg
      • My Vacation in Italy (3).jpg
      • My Vacation in Italy (4).jpg
      • My Vacation in Italy (5).jpg
      • My Vacation in Italy (6).jpg

What happens if the number in parenthesis is left out? For example, if one named the first file "foo.jpg"?

The results will look like this:

  • foo.jpg
  • foo (1).jpg
  • foo (2).jpg
  • foo (3).jpg
  • foo (4).jpg
  • foo (5).jpg

 

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