Rename thousands of pictures in less than 30 seconds

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You may have the most advanced digital camera made, but there is one thing it cannot do automatically: give your photos a meaningful name.  When you take a picture, the camera gives it a file name like “DCH349724” and then every subsequent photo is named in that sequence.   Later, when the pictures are on your computer, you really have no idea what those pictures are unless you view them as a thumbnail image or open the actual file to view the picture.

wedding picture


So you could spend a day at your niece’s wedding (like I did recently; that’s Stephanie and her new husband Josh in the picture above) and take lots of pictures.  What you end up with is a folder full of pictures that each have a file name that signifies nothing.

So, you need to rename them.  That’s easy – just do a right-click on the image and choose “Rename” and then type a name that makes sense.  But what if you have a folder with 200 pictures in it?  If you rename them one by one, the newlyweds might be celebrating their first anniversary by the time you finish.

There is a quicker way to do this!

1. Open the folder that contains all of your pictures.

2. Hold down the Ctrl key, and type the letter “a” – this will select and highlight ALL of the files in that folder.

3. RIGHT-click on one of the highlighted files and in the menu that comes up, click on “Rename”.

4. Give that file a name that would apply to all of the pictures in the folder, such as “Steph and Josh Wedding”, and hit Enter.

What happens at that point is that every picture in the folder will be given that new name, followed by a number.  So you would see something like this:

Steph and Josh Wedding (1)
Steph and Josh Wedding (2)
Steph and Josh Wedding (3)
Steph and Josh Wedding (4)
(and so on, in that order)

I realize that this method is not specific to each individual picture, but it’s definitely better than the file names that were assigned by the camera.  If you want each picture to have it’s own individual name, such as “Steph and Josh smear wedding cake on each others face” then you will just have to take the time to do that one by one.

This process takes just a few seconds, and you can rename a folder that contains 20 pictures or 20,000 pictures.  It’s how I love doing things on the computer – quickly and easily!

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Jon McKeone
November 12th, 2012

By no means a perfect solution but most definitely a vast improvement over the arbitrary naming conventions used by cameras. Thanks for the tip.

November 17th, 2012

You may have just come upon an untapped audience 🙂 I shared the link to this with a FaceBook group of Scrapbookers…thought I’d let you know in case you were suddenly inundated with a bunch of women looking for more tips! (if you have more that will help with filing photos or other tips they’d find useful i’m happy to pass them on too!!!) I know that there are some pretty good (and large) shops in your vicinity…just sayin’

Scott Johnson
November 17th, 2012

Thanks Tess! I put out a new tip each Monday morning in my email newsletter, blog and podcast, so hopefully the scrapbookers will find them helpful! If there are any specific questions, just email me or click the link on the right side of the screen and send a voice mail, and I’ll try to include that as a topic in the future.