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How to Batch-Rename files in the macOS Finder

Built into the macOS Finder is a handy tool for renaming files. I use it just about every day for something or another.

For example, the Sony A1 generates “.HIF” files that won’t open in Photoshop without renaming them to “.HEIF”.

How to Batch-Rename files in the macOS Finder

  1. Select files. Edit => Select All works great, since non-matching files are unaffected.
  2. Right click (control click) on a file and choose Rename... or use File => Rename... to bring up the file renaming dialog.
  3. Enter the text to replace and the text to replace it with.
  4. Click Rename.

If more files got renamed than you intended perhaps from a too-liberal matching text, then Undo and try again.

Renaming all selected “.HIF” files to be “.HEIF”

The Rename dialog can do more than simple text substitution, but there is no regex support and it is brain dead about formatting. But it’s still useful for some quick jobs.

Renaming all selected “.HIF” files to be “.HEIF”
Renaming files to include date and time

Don H writes:

If you don’t already use it, I highly recommend ‘A Better Finder Rename’:

It’s stand-alone. I think including the word ‘Finder’ in the app name makes it sound like it’s some sort of extension. It’s a fantastically-capable batch processor. I have used it for normalizing many filenames (thousands at a time) from disparate sources, along with folder names. It’s great for OCD file organization.(After using it in trial mode I was impressed enough to buy the ‘Forever Upgrade’ a number of years ago, and have benefitted ever since.)

The ‘Big Mean Folder Machine’ is also a good app when managing large hierarchical libraries:

They’re not free like the Finder feature, but are vastly more capable.

MPG: I have not looked into these products, but a quick look suggests they are vastly superior to the macOS Finder.

UPDATE: see Quick Look: A Better Finder Rename.

I’ve generally avoided add-ons as I try to keep things as vanilla as possible to forestall problems. I weight the issues of cost/complexity/frequency of use before I take on new software.

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