Renamer 4 for Mac: Large scale renaming

by Milind Alvares

Renamer 4 for Mac: Large scale renaming

by Milind Alvares on October 6, 2009


This class of software has always existed on any platform. The idea of being able to rename a large number of files in just the way one needs them to be, is something that anyone who has done drone work will appreciate. Windows has had some mass renaming capabilities since XP, as you can select a bunch of files, hit F2, and rename all of them at once adding sequential numbers to each file. Mac OS X on the other hand doesn’t come with any built in functionality per sé, but you can use the automative power of the Mac to easily produce fairly good rename sequences—much better than Windows at least.

It’s still a far cry from ideal renaming, as you would be able to do so manually. Thankfully, that’s where full fledged renaming apps take the stage, providing functionality that will eliminate the need for you to manually rename files altogether. Here’s a look at Renamer 4.0, from Dare to be Creative.

Click to zoom in

It’s a fairly simple app, with a two pane user interface. But its simplicity is where the power lies. Start by loading up a bunch of files, from wherever, in the left pane. You can drop in folders en masse if you wish; Renamer will offer to import the folder on by itself, or the file contents that it holds. The pane is divided into two sides. The original name, and the output. If the output is the same as the input, the filename will be greyed out. On to the renaming.

There’s four kinds of changes possible with renames. You can change Text, add sequential numbers, change the case, or find/replace. Each of these can be dropped in any number of times, and follow a logical hierarchy so you’re always in control. Let’s say I have a hundred files in a sequence “ids_magzn jan 1×01.pdf” and so on, and I want this to be renamed to “InDesign Secrets Magazine January Vol. 1 Issue. 01.pdf” and so on.

Changing ids_magzn to InDesign Secrets Magazine is the easiest part. Simply add a Find/Replace action, and do the deed. I then dropped in a cAse change action to make everything show up in Title Case. I now want to remove the x01 at the end, and insert Issue. xx in place. So I added a Characters action, and removed the last three characters. Then added another a Numbers action, and customised it so it shows Issue XX as the number sequence. I could even change the starting number if it didn’t start from the first issue. I then added a Character action with text Vol., and moved it in a bit so it shows up right after the month name. Unfortunately I couldn’t change the month name to spell out January instead of Jan because of the variations. All in all the toolset is very adept at carefully changing bits of information. [Screenshot of actions used]

It took me no longer than 2 minutes to figure out the app and do all this, so I can vouch for its ease of use. The fact that you don’t change anything permanently, and the logical way the actions follow each other makes it very easy to experiment with the actions. And when you’re finally done customising your perfect set of actions, you can save it as a preset—helpful if you’re a TV show addict and an organising freak.

Would I use this app? Haven’t come across many occasions where I need mass renaming. I much too much prefer to have something else organise my data in a library like iTunes, Plex, or Notational Velocity, but if you think you’re going to need a lot of renaming, this app will definitely serve the purpose. At $29, it’s your call. The 15-day trial is good to go for your downloading pleasure.

Disclaimer: Dare to be Creative is one of our sponsors; this review is not.

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