Add Bulk File Renaming to Apple’s OSX

Today at work I was asked how to rename multiple JPEG files on a Mac. This individual was apparently able to accomplish this amazing feet with very little effort on a Windows system. (Every time I hear someone say how easy Windows makes something my stomach turns.) I used to have an AppleScript that did just that, but I have since lost track of that file. So I looked to the internet. Surely it’ll only take a few minutes to make this happen, right?

There is one free application available for renaming files (NameChanger) and there are several tutorials about using AppleScript and/or The DIY script and Automator options are okay for certain types of people, but the people that really need help will struggle to understand how to use these tools. What are all of the non-geek OSX users supposed to do?

Well, here’s another one of my small contributions to society. A free workflow that will add the option ‘Rename Multiple Files’ to the contextual menu in Just select multiple files, right-click and select ‘Rename Multiple Files’ and away you go!

Here’s how to install this Rename Multiple Files tool:

  1. In the Finder navigate to /Users/yourname/Library/Services/
    [if “Services” doesn’t exist, create a new folder and name it likewise]
  2. Download the, extract the contents onto your desktop (double-click in OSX)  and copy the file “Rename Multiple Files.workflow” to the previously mentioned “Services” folder.
  3. Open a Finder window with multiple files. Select all of the files. Right-click on the selected files. At the bottom of the contextual menu you will find an option titled “Rename Multiple Files”. (It may take a minute or two for this new option to become available on your contextual menu.)

Shortly after you click on “Rename Multiple Files” you will be presented with a small window and several options. To save a verbose explanation I have included screenshots of the options below.

This workflow was created on a Mac running OSX 10.6. It is dependent on It definitely works with other 10.6 machines, but if you are running some other version of OSX it may or may not work.

Please give me feedback about whether or not this is useful or if it doesn’t work at all. Thanks.

26 thoughts on “Add Bulk File Renaming to Apple’s OSX”

  1. Looks like you got it covered, but I seem to need to do this kind of thing regularly, so I thought I would mention the apps I use. One is called NameMangler. The other is called “A Better Finder Rename.” Between the two of them I can really manage tons of files pretty easily. Looks like neither of them are free anymore, but I don’t remember paying for them. Might be worth the cost if you do enough batch renaming.

  2. @AxsDeny: Thanks and the regex idea is a good one, but I’m not quite sure how to implement it. I am also hesitant to put too much work into it since I have very little use for such sophistication. But it’s still a great idea!

  3. Doesn’t seem to work on Tiger. No context menu item appears. If I run the .workflow file, Automator informs me:

    Warning. This workflow document is missing some required resources:

    • Automator could not find an installed action with the name “Get Selected Finder Items”

    • Get Selected Finder Items
    Automator could not find an installed action with this name.

    The workflow was saved with a newer version of Automator.

    This workflow may not behave correctly when run.

    1. @Pij: Thanks for the feedback details. Apparently the items that I’m employing with this automator workflow did not exist in OSX 10.4. I could try to address this limitation, but instead I’ll point you to a very promising-looking application called NameMangler ( by Peter Maurer, the guy that created TextExpander. Actually, NameMangler is for OSX 10.5 and newer, but it’s predecessor FileList ( will work on older systems and it’s free.

    1. I don’t know, but I’d appreciate it if you could try it and let me know. 😉 The only OSX machine I have is at work is on 10.6 for the foreseeable future.

  4. I had 188 jpg files and you have just saved me a LOT of time – great tool – many thanks for sharing with the world!


  5. Brilliant. That is a lifesaver. I knew something so simple could easily be achieved using workflows/services. Thanks for your hard work!

  6. your contribution to society is an important one. I can’t tell you how many hours you just saved me having to rename 4322 jpegs (and their thumbnails) for a batch upload to server. Also works flawlessly on MLion 10.8.1.

    GREAT work. you just changed someone’s life in a very positive way. Thank you!

  7. My stomach turns every time I hear someone say, “Every time I hear someone say how easy Windows makes something my stomach turns.”

    Just because Windows isn’t easy for you doesn’t mean that you have to make the rest of us Mac users look like a bunch of pretentious D-bags.

    You should chill bro. Mac is a system, not a religion.

    1. On the contrary, Windows is easy to use. I just don’t happen to like it and frequently think that it is crap. Which is why I choose to use OSX, or more often Linux (because there’s a lot about OSX that I think is crap also). But I do get tired of Windows people claiming Apple computers have no value or are a “toy”, and that is the true context of this light-hearted Windows ribbing.

      Pardon me, I did not realize that the bar for being considered a pretentious douchebag was set so low. I hope you found my bulk file renaming script useful.

  8. Well said. While it is certainly not my desire to redirect the topic of your blog page to another brainless “Mac vs. Win” debate, I just want to share with you what fueled my comment. I have been a Mac OS user since System 6 and throughout these many years, I’ve grown weary of the multitudes of condescending users who just never seem to pass up an opportunity to arrogantly suggest that anything less than a Mac is uncivilized. You are internet savvy, so I’m sure you know what I’m talking about here… On the whole, Mac users are an intensely loyal bunch, which is fine, but too many have an almost militant devotion to anything that flows out of Cupertino.

    Thanks for the batch script, and for the clever line about the bar being set so low. That made me smile.


  9. Excellent tool for quick and dirty renames. Works with Mavericks. For mor e challenging renaming tasks: yes, use A Better Finder Rename or another of the free/paid apps. But for quick tasks this one is just a right-click away. Thanks for a useful service.

  10. My favorite software to use is KrojamSoft Batchrename. In my struggles to organize my files properly, I’ve tried everything. Only when I downloaded this software I realized that I’ve been doing everything the hard way! This program has an extremely user-friendly interface and lets you rename multiple files and folders at the same time! You can add prefixes and suffixes, remove annoying dots, dashes and adjust the letter case to your liking.

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