macOS - Renaming Files

Whereas it is a standard feature to rename an individual file, since MacOS X Yosemite (10.10), it has also been possible to rename groups of files at the same time. This short SoundByte shows you how to do both...

SOUNDBYTE #2 macOS Renaming Files artwork. Icon by Martin LEBRETON @ The Noun Project.
SOUNDBYTE #2 macOS Renaming Files artwork. Icon by Martin LEBRETON @ The Noun Project.

Renaming a Single File

  • Single left-click on the file you wish to rename to highlight it.
  • Single left-click on the title of the file name until it allows you to edit the title directly.

...or...

  • Right-click on the file and select Rename from the pop-up menu to edit the file name (or control+left-click if you have not enabled secondary click in System Preferences > Mouse / Trackpad).
Screenshot showing the Rename option from the menu.
Screenshot showing the Rename option from the menu.

...or...

  • If you are viewing a file in the Finder window you can also single left-click on the file and select Rename from the 'Perform tasks with the selected items' (3 dots in a circle icon) drop-down button at the top of the Finder window.
The Rename option from the 'Perform tasks with the selected items' drop-down menu.
The Rename option from the 'Perform tasks with the selected items' drop-down menu.

Renaming a Group of Files

In the example shown below I have 5 documents on my desktop labelled Document 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5. I want rename the files to Invoice 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 and add the year, 2021, to all 5 files simultaneously.

  • Select the files you wish to rename. You can select multiple files either by holding down the left mouse button and dragging the selector box over all the files you need to rename, or by single left-clicking on one file and then using the command key to single left-click all the other files you wish to include as part of the selection. Files will be highlighted to indicate they are currently selected.
  • Right-click on one of the selected files and select Rename from the pop-up menu to edit the file name.
  • A Rename box will appear with options to replace text, add text and format the file names.
  • Select Replace Text from the drop-down menu.
  • In the Find: field type in the part of the existing file name you wish to replace, in this example it will be Document.
  • In the Replace with: field type in the text you wish to replace it with, in this example it will be Invoice.
  • Click on the Rename button to execute the change.
The Rename box with the Replace Text option selected.
The Rename box with the Replace Text option selected.
::TIP:: When using the Replace Text option if you add nothing in the Replace with field then this will remove the text in the find field and replace it with nothing - a handy way to remove selected file name text from multiple files.

All five files have now be titled Invoice 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5. Now we need to add the year to each of them...

  • Select the multiple files again (if they are no longer selected).
  • Right-click on one of the selected files and select Rename from the pop-up menu to edit the file name.
  • From the Rename box select Add Text from the drop-down menu.
  • In the central field: type in the text you want to add to all files - in this example it will be the year, 2021.
  • From the final drop-down menu choose either after name or before name to confirm where you'd like the additional text to be placed.
  • Click on the Rename button to add this text to all of the selected files.
The Rename box with the Add Text option selected.
The Rename box with the Add Text option selected.
::TIP:: When using the Add Text option add a space before or after the text to include spaces in the file name.

The Rename box also includes a third option in the drop-down menu called Format. This includes options to add dates, numbering and titles to the selected files.

This works in all versions of macOS and from Mac OS X 10.10 onwards (for renaming multiple files).

Originally posted 8 May, 2021.