Batch File Rename with Automator

I’d been searching high and low all over the web for an application that would let me rename large amounts of files. With our timelape cameras producing Hundreds of thousands of files this is a real necessity at work. I was getting rather frustrated with not being able to find any “free” apps as i thought this was a really simple process but i couldn’t find any.
Then I had an epiphany!


So i set myself the task of figuring out how to create a Finder Plug-In to do this and I did it – woo me! See the guide below to find out how to do it yourself:
This will create a plug-in that you will use on a folder in your finder.
1). Open up Automator and start a new workflow by selecting: File -> New

2). Select the “Custom” option and hit “Choose“.

3). Using the search box top left search for the term “Get Folder Contents”

4). Drag the result into the main window

5 ). Note the tick box” Repeat for each subfolder found”

6 ). Now do a search for “Rename Finder Items” and drag it in to the main window underneath the current “get folder contents” action. When you do so you will be asked a question by the system. It will suggest adding a “copy” action to the process. By default this is set to copy each file that is being processed to the desktop. This may be useful to you but for this demo i don’t need it so i selected “don’t add”

7 ).You should now have a window with two actions. The first action will look at the contents of the folder. The second action will rename the file as per your settings. There are several options to choose from but for this demo i am going to make them sequential:

8 ).This is where you set your action but you need not worry about getting this perfect. I’ve elected to give all my files an entirely new name that starts with Holidays_Christmas_09. You can see the rest of the settings in the image below. Its all pretty self explanatory

9 ). REALLY IMORTANT BIT!!!! The most important thing next is to select the options button along the bottom of the “Rename Finder Items” Action and then to select the “Show this actions when the workflow runs.” Without this this plug-in will rename all your clips with the same criteria.

10 ). When you think you are finished then you need to save this workflow as a plugin. Do this by selecting: File -> Save As Plug-In
Name the plugin something simple but easy to identify like “Finder Batch Re-Namer Plug-In” and select “Finder” from the drop down menu. That’s it done – Well done! Now you want to know how to use it don’t you!!! Its very simple.

11 ). “Ctrl+click” on the folder the files you want to rename are and select: More -> Automator -> Finder Batch Re-Namer Plug-In (or whatever you named it). This will begin the workflow and your options window will appear allowing you to change the settings to better suit your needs on any given occasion.

12 ).It’s always a good idea to double check your settings. You don’t want to end up renaming all your accounts files when you wanted to rename your photos. Always double check and if you are worried then you can always use the copy function in step 6.


One response to “Batch File Rename with Automator”

  1. Very cool – didn’t know ho9w to do that on the Mac. Good tool for PC if you’re looking for one is flexible renamer.

    Thanks for the link on I am second too. Impressive.


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