Macs have many hidden talents, but if there’s one we’ve found indispensable, it’s the ability to rename multiple files at once.

Lets say we have four screenshots we want to rename. To do so, select all of them, right-click, and choose “Rename 4 Items”.

A dialog then pops up. You have a few choices here, so we’ll go through all of them.

Rename by Format

When you first see the dialog, the top dropdown menu reads “Format”, which allows you to completely rename each file. There are two other options there, but we’ll focus on the Format option to start.

There are three formats: “Name and Index” (example: File1.jpg), “Name and Counter” (example: file00001.jpg), and “Name and Date” (example: file 2016-09-08 at 1.05.47 PM.jpg).

In the “Custom Format” field, you can give your files any name you want. The default is “File”, but your items can be changed to whatever string you enter.

To the left, you have the option to append or prepend the name with your index, counter, or date, and finally, below that, you can designate any number you want your new files to begin or end with.

Rename by Adding Text

Back up at the top dropdown, the next rename option is to Add Text.

This option is very simple. The long text field lets you add any string of text or numbers before or after the name.

This option is useful such as if you don’t want to necessarily change your filenames, but rather tweak them to your liking.

Rename by ReplacingText

The last rename option is to Replace Text. All you do here is replace one text string–for example “screen shot”–with something else more fitting. So, you might want the files to more accurately reflect the content, such as if said screenshots concern a certain subject or area.

As you can see, renaming files on macOS isn’t necessarily a complicated matter, but it certainly has more power to it than a simple find-and-replace batch operation. The ability to finesse your files into an order that fits your particular needs means you’ll spend less time searching and more time finding.

Profile Photo for Matt Klein Matt Klein
Matt Klein has nearly two decades of technical writing experience. He's covered Windows, Android, macOS, Microsoft Office, and everything in between. He's even written a book, The How-To Geek Guide to Windows 8.
Read Full Bio »