How to rename 1000 images in 32 seconds or less

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You just got back from the trip of a lifetime. For some people that would be a cruise to Alaska, for others it might be a guided tour through the Holy Land of Israel, and for some it could be visiting some of the old castles of Ireland. Personally, I would enjoy any of them. But now that you’re back home, you have a computer folder full of pictures, and each one has a name like “DCF2016070901.jpg” which of course tells you nothing about the pictures itself. Those pictures – all 1000 of them – need to be renamed.

rename pictures


Of course, one option is to open up the folder that has all your pictures, and start at the beginning. On the first picture, do a right click, then choose “Rename”, type “Disney1” and hit Enter. Then do the same thing with the next picture and call it “Disney2” and hit Enter. Yeah! Only 998 to go!

As you might guess, that’s not really the most efficient way to go about this since it would take a very long time and most people would just get tired of it and quit before they got all thousand pictures renamed.

Here’s the much easier way. This process assumes you have all of your Disney pictures in one folder.

  1. With that folder open, so you see the entire group of pictures, hold down the CTRL key and tap the letter “a” (for “all”). Now all of the pictures are selected (highlighted).
  2. On┬áthe first picture in the list, do a right-click and choose “Rename” and type the word “Disney” (no number, just the name Disney). Hit Enter.

In just a few seconds, every picture you see in that folder is renamed. So now the list is Disney1, Disney2, Disney3 all the way up to Disney1000. So much easier to have the computer to that work!

Now, I can hear some of you saying, “But Scott, our vacation was divided up and we weren’t at Disney the whole time. We went to Disney for 4 days, and Sea World for 3 days, then we went to Busch Gardens for a day.”

That’s fine. This just means you have to divide them into their own folders first. Just make 3 folders:

  • Disney
  • Sea World
  • Busch Gardens

Then just drag each of the pictures into the appropriate folder based on what you see in the thumbnail image. Once the large group of folders is divided into those 3 folders, then go into each of those folders and do the same renaming process as before.

You can really narrow it down as much as you want, although the more specific you want the file names to be, the more time it will take to get it that way. Even so, the process I outlined here (called “batch renaming”) is a whole lot faster than just renaming each image individually.

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Shirley Fadling Kipp
January 25th, 2016

This is a very useful tip! Thank you!

Sandro Cohen
January 25th, 2016

Scott, it doesn’t work exactly like this on my Mac. It seems all I can hop for is to retain the original “DCF2016070901.jpg” and after that add “Disney”, or whatever. Is there a way to do this properly on a Mac?

Sandro Cohen

Scott Johnson
January 25th, 2016

Wish I could tell you – but I’m not a Mac user. Sorry!