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How to Rename Many Files at Once With Total Commander

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So you have a bunch of files with sloppy-looking names. It’s not that the names are wrong, but they’re all lowercase, missing spaces, and generally messy. Not a problem for Total Commander’s multi-rename tool! Read on and see.

Getting Total Commander

Total Commander is a powerhouse file management utility. It’s a “dual-pane” file manager, which basically means it looks like this:

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If that makes you think of ancient DOS-era file managers such as Norton Commander, you’ve got the right idea – that’s where Total Commander comes from. But make no mistake – this is a thoroughly modern application, with a ton of features. Today we’ll be going over just one small feature – the multiple-rename option.

While Total Commander is shareware, its trial is not time limited. So the first thing you should do is go to the Total Commander Download Page and get the installer.  Install Total Commander on your computer and run it.

Selecting The Files to Rename

On running Total Commander, the first thing you would see is something like this:

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Note that on your system, the colors and fonts would be different – the background would be white, and the font a bit blockier. You can change the colors any way you like – as you can see, we like dark backgrounds.

Next, navigate to wherever you put the files you wish to rename, and select each of the files by right-clicking it with the mouse or hitting the Insert key.

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Note how we’ve selected only those files we wish to rename. Now go into the multi-rename tool by pressing Ctrl+M or opening the Files menu and clicking Multi-Rename Tool.

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Renaming the Files

This is where the magic happens, at least for this How-To. At first, the multi-rename tool simply shows you the current filenames.

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The old name is on the left side, the new one is on the right. At the moment, they’re the same. Now let’s start tweaking some of the settings and see what happens.

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This is looking better already. Here’s what we did:

  • To replace all the dashes and the underscore with spaces, we typed -|_ into the Search for box. That’s dash (-), pipe (|) and underscore (_). The pipe means “OR” – so we tell Total Commander to search for dashes OR underscores.
  • Then, in the Replace with box, we just typed a single space character. You can’t see that in the image, but it’s there. That’s because we want to replace all the dashes and underscores with spaces.
  • We then ticked the checkbox that says RegEx. That’s short for Regular Expressions. We won’t go too deeply into that right now, but we can say what we did in the first step (-|_) is a simple regular expression, which is why we need to enable this.
  • Last but not least, we’ve selected “First of each word uppercase” in the Upper/lowercase drop-down box.

That’s it! Now simply hit Start! and Total Commander would transform your messy filenames into neat, properly capitalized filenames with no underscores or dashes.

Not an End, But a Beginning

If this how-to feels a bit simplistic, it’s because we’ve barely scratched Total Commander’s surface. Feel free to leave any questions in the comments and we might post a follow-up!

A technical writer for Tibbo Technology by day, Erez is obsessed with customizing anything and everything. After years of using Litestep and Blackbox, switching to a custom keyboard layout (Colemak), extending Word and Excel with elaborate VBA, losing weight with an AutoHotkey script he developed and spending countless hours tweaking Foobar2000 to get it to look "just right", Erez decided the time has come to share some of this obsession with the world at large.

  • Published 03/22/11

Comments (16)

  1. Gianluca

    Does this also works with Speedcommander? :D

  2. Tardio

    Just use Ant Renamer to rename files… way better than that…

  3. Toolman

    How do you eliminate the # at the beginning of the filename?

  4. Lady Fitzgerald

    I’ve been using Infraview for years to do the same thing, plus mass photo edits, etc.

  5. MichalW

    @Toolman – Search for: “[0-9]* ” (that is a space at the end); Replace with:

  6. Ace

    I’ve been using Total Commander since 1998. It is simply the best file manager for Windows. Period.

  7. Alex

    While I frequently use Total Commander’s rename feature, I also use the stone-old “Renamer v6.0″ (last update 2002, http://www.albert.nu/Programs/Renamer/default.asp). Most used functions: force N numbers (automatically make 01, 02, 03.. out of 1,2,3), and the powerful but very easy to use pattern rename function called “Multi-Change”. I found no other renamer offering such function. (TC and Ant Renamer can’t do it.) Perhaps someone knows such tool? Renamer 6.0 isn’t 100% stable under Windows 7×64.

  8. Tom

    For those that don’t know:

    Select all in Win Explorer, hit F2 and then type your filename and they will be renamed with a count after the filename.

  9. Nick Pull

    Just been to the website and had a hunt around and it states that the trial version IS time limited to 30 days!!

  10. Erez Zukerman

    @Nick Pull: Try and see. It doesn’t stop working after 30 days. (Although I do recommend buying it if you like it.)

  11. PTR

    You’ve gotten your right and left mixed up

    “The old name is on the right side, the new one is on the left.”

    The way I see it the old is on the left and the new to the right. If there’s any confusion do what my 6 year old does – hold up both hands in front of your face, palm facing away. Hold up your thumb and forefinger in a right angle – thumbs pointing horizontally at each other. The one that forms the letter L is the left side. Easy, right?

  12. Erez Zukerman

    @PTR: So wait, is left the one with the watch on it? Or is that right?

    Thanks! Fixed the post :)

  13. lokimoco

    I also like Bulk Rename Utility. That’s all it does, but it works really well.

  14. ernesto

    the advanced renamer in file menu tools is better , and free
    http://www.lopesoft.com/en/index.html

  15. Adam

    Whilst this might be a daft question, ive recently been looking at converting thousands of .xls files to .xlsx files. Any ideas if i would be able to that with this???

  16. Erjon

    You should try Renamer is free and simple… to rename thousands of file names in whatever you want, it works also for the excel files, just try in 5 minutes and you will thank me.

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