Howto: Linux Rename Multiple Files At a Shell Prompt

Posted on in Categories File system, FreeBSD, Gentoo Linux, Howto, Linux, Linux desktop, RedHat/Fedora Linux, Shell scripting, Suse Linux, Ubuntu Linux, UNIX last updated January 14, 2017

From my mailbag:
How do I rename multiple files at a shell prompt under a Linux or UNIX operating systems?

Rename command syntax

Renaming multiple files at a shell prompt is always considered as a black art by many UNIX gurus. To be frank if you understand regex then it is not a black art anymore. A regular expression is a string that describes or matches a set of strings, according to certain syntax rules (see regex @ wikipedia for more information). Linux (and *BSD) comes with handy utility called rename. As a name suggest ‘rename’ renames the filenames supplied according to the rule specified (syntax):

rename "regex-rule" files 

The rename command discussed here is nothing but a Perl script. You can download the script as described below.

Let us see how to rename multiple files in single command or shell script in Unix or Linux operating system using various methods and commands.

Rename command syntax

It is a faster way to group rename files in Linux or Unix-like system. The syntax is:

rename oldname newname *.files

On most modern Linux distros rename command is known as rename.ul:

rename.ul oldname newname *.files

For example rename all *.bak file as *.txt, enter:
$ rename .bak .txt *.bak
Please note that the rename command is part of the util-linux package and can be installed on a Debian or Ubuntu Linux, using the following syntax:
$ sudo apt-get install renameutils

Say hello to zmv for zsh

First load zmv, enter:
$ autoload -U zmv
To rename all files to lower case, enter:
$ zmv '*' '${(L)f}'
See zshwiki for more info on zmv.

Say hello to mmv command

You can use the mmv command to move/copy/append/link multiple files.

Install mmv on a Debian or Ubuntu Linux

Type the following apt-get command to install mmv utility, enter:
$ sudo apt-get install mmv
Sample outputs:

Reading package lists... Done
Building dependency tree       
Reading state information... Done
The following NEW packages will be installed:
0 upgraded, 1 newly installed, 0 to remove and 0 not upgraded.
Need to get 28.2 kB of archives.
After this operation, 89.1 kB of additional disk space will be used.
Get:1 trusty/universe mmv amd64 1.01b-18 [28.2 kB]
Fetched 28.2 kB in 0s (1,828 kB/s)
Selecting previously unselected package mmv.
(Reading database ... 64911 files and directories currently installed.)
Preparing to unpack .../mmv_1.01b-18_amd64.deb ...
Unpacking mmv (1.01b-18) ...
Processing triggers for man-db ( ...
Setting up mmv (1.01b-18) ...

Install mmv utility on a CentOS/RHEL/Fedora Linux

Type the following yum command to install mmv, enter:
# yum install mmv
Fedora Linux user, type:
$ sudo dnf install mmv

How do I use mmv command?

To onvert all filenames to lowercase, enter:
$ mmv "*" "#l1"
To rename all *.bakz files in the current directory to *.bak:
$ mmv '*.bakz' '#1.bak'
See mmv command man page for more info.

Examples: Linux Rename Multiple Files Using a Shell Script

Convert all mp3 filenames to more readable and usable format. Most of the time MP3 got multiple blank spaces, which may confuse many command line based Linux utilities and mp3 players

$ ls 


06 -  Gorillaz - Feel Good Inc.mp3                        
DDR - Kung- Fu Fighting (bus stop).mp3

Remove all blank space with rename command:
$ rename "s/ *//g" *.mp3
$ ls



POSIX shell rename all *.bak to *.txt

for j in *.bak; do mv -- "$j" "${j%.bak}.txt"; done


for j in *.bak; do mv -v -- "$j" "${j%.bak}.txt"; done

Linux Shell script to rename files

Before using the rename command I was using the following shell script to rename my mp3s :

WARNING: This is a demo script and it is not very safe to use. I suggest either use rename/zmv or POSIX shell method

# To remove blank space
if [ $# -eq 0 ];
 echo "Syntax: $(basename $0) file-name [command]"
 exit 1
for i in $FILES
# remove all blanks and store them OUT
OUT=$(echo $i | sed 's/  *//g')
if [ "$CMD" == "" ];
#just show file
echo $OUT
#else execute command such as mv or cp or rm
[ "$i" != "$OUT" ] && $($CMD  "$i"  "$OUT")

Perl Script To Rename File

Download the following script and save as rename in /usr/local/bin/ directory or $HOME/bin and run it as follows:
$ ~/bin/rename 'y/A-Z/a-z/' *
$ /usr/local/bin/rename 'y/A-Z/a-z/' *

To remove .jpg file extension, you write command as follows:

$ rename 's/\.jpg$//' *.jpg

To convert all uppercase filenames to lowercase:

$ rename 'y/A-Z/a-z/' *

To rename all files matching “*.txtz” to strip the extension, enter:

$ rename 's/\.txtz$//' *.txtz

Read the man page of rename command for more information:
$ man rename

Perl script (download):

#!/usr/bin/perl -w
#  This script was developed by Robin Barker ([email protected]),
#  from Larry Wall's original script eg/rename from the perl source.
#  This script is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it
#  under the same terms as Perl itself.
# Larry(?)'s RCS header:
#  RCSfile: rename,v   Revision: 4.1   Date: 92/08/07 17:20:30 
# $RCSfile: rename,v $$Revision: 1.5 $$Date: 1998/12/18 16:16:31 $
# $Log: rename,v $
# Revision 1.5  1998/12/18 16:16:31  rmb1
# moved to perl/source
# changed man documentation to POD
# Revision 1.4  1997/02/27  17:19:26  rmb1
# corrected usage string
# Revision 1.3  1997/02/27  16:39:07  rmb1
# added -v
# Revision 1.2  1997/02/27  16:15:40  rmb1
# *** empty log message ***
# Revision 1.1  1997/02/27  15:48:51  rmb1
# Initial revision
use strict;
use Getopt::Long;
my ($verbose, $no_act, $force, $op);
die "Usage: rename [-v] [-n] [-f] perlexpr [filenames]\n"
    unless GetOptions(
	'v|verbose' => \$verbose,
	'n|no-act'  => \$no_act,
	'f|force'   => \$force,
    ) and $op = shift;
$verbose++ if $no_act;
if (!@ARGV) {
    print "reading filenames from STDIN\n" if $verbose;
    @ARGV = <STDIN> ;
for (@ARGV) {
    my $was = $_;
    eval $op;
    die $@ if $@;
    next if $was eq $_; # ignore quietly
    if (-e $_ and !$force)
	warn  "$was not renamed: $_ already exists\n";
    elsif ($no_act or rename $was, $_)
	print "$was renamed as $_\n" if $verbose;
	warn  "Can't rename $was $_: $!\n";
=head1 NAME
rename - renames multiple files
Brename S<[ B<-v> ]> S<[ B<-n> ]> S<[ B<-f> ]> Iperlexpr S<[ I<files> ]>
renames the filenames supplied according to the rule specified as the
first argument.
The Iperlexpr
argument is a Perl expression which is expected to modify the C<$_>
string in Perl for at least some of the filenames specified.
If a given filename is not modified by the expression, it will not be
If no filenames are given on the command line, filenames will be read
via standard input.
For example, to rename all files matching C<*.bak> to strip the extension,
you might say
	rename 's/\.bak$//' *.bak
To translate uppercase names to lower, you'd use
	rename 'y/A-Z/a-z/' *
=head1 OPTIONS
=over 8
=item B<-v>, B<--verbose>
Verbose: print names of files successfully renamed.
=item B<-n>, B<--no-act>
No Action: show what files would have been renamed.
=item B<-f>, B<--force>
Force: overwrite existing files.
No environment variables are used.
=head1 AUTHOR
Larry Wall
=head1 SEE ALSO
mv(1), perl(1)
If you give an invalid Perl expression you'll get a syntax error.
=head1 BUGS
The original Crename did not check for the existence of target filenames,
so had to be used with care.  I hope I've fixed that (Robin Barker).

128 comment

    1. “TRY THIS ONE”

      cd $1
      for i in `ls $2`
      mv $i file{$j}.txt
      j=`expr $j + 1`
      press esc

      chmod +x
      ./ ~/file *.txt

  1. Perfect!!

    You can also use the standard input to find in a folder structure like:

    find . -name \*exp_to_find_in_folders\* | rename "s/exp_to_find_for_replacement/exp_to_replace/"

    1. leopinzon’s command didn’t worked for me. I used this one:

      find -name ‘*exp_to_find_in_folders*’ -exec rename “s/exp_to_find_for_replacement/exp_to_replace/” {} \;

  2. rename ‘s/foo(.*)\.a/xxx$1.avi/’ *.a

    the (.*) in the round brackets creates a reference that you can use in the name as $1.
    you can have more than one match.

  3. Thanks for all the tips. Can you help mi with this specific example? I have files named:


    and I want to rename them to get the following:

    How can I do that using rename? (I have several hundred of files like that.)

    1. Hey even I’m working on this kind of renaming. Did the solution provided worked for you?? It didn’t worked out for me. Please let me know how have you done it.

    1. This rename ‘s/-*//’ *.mp3 did not work for me… Can you please tell me why it didn’t?? Also, Could you please suggest if there is any approach for this…

      1. it follows perl rules.

        What you need to do is to tell it:

        rename “s/-.+/\.mp3/” *.mp3

        The dash will register as it should. The stop right after the dash signifies a single character. The plus after that means “one or more of the previous thing”

        to test it, you don’t need to create a new file, just put -n right after rename like this:
        rename -n “s/-.+/\.mp3/” *.mp3

  4. My rename doesn’t seem to support regexes. Fedora 10. How can I get this version?
    # rename -V
    rename (util-linux-ng 2.14.1)

  5. Example file name: 2001DODGE3500546424-10_12_1.JPG
    Desired file name: 2001DODGE3500546424-10.jpg

    Command: rename "s/(_[0-9]+)+\.JPG/.jpg/" *.JPG

    1. Henry,

      Thank You! I’m on Opensuse 11 and this was driving me crazy… I couldn’t figure out if it was my expression or what was going on. I copied the perl file you linked to and put it in my /bin/ folder and set it to executable permissions.

      Then I called
      /bin/rename ‘s/(_[0-9a-z]{32})+\.jpg/ .jpg/’ *.jpg

      Original File: 321-646-001_01_5f81f62b4b8f448ff50eb0788aa628c7.jpeg
      New File: 321-646-001_01.jpg

      This is just what I needed. I’m using Google Page Speed Firefox Add-On in combo with Firebug to download Optimized versions of all of my sites images. Google rather annoyingly renames all the files and adds a _ character plus a 32 digit alpha numeric string and then changes the extension to .jpeg for .jpg files. This is just the fix that I was looking for.

      Thanks Google and Thanks Henry too.

    1. Henry, this is an incredibly useful tip, thanks a lot. I was bashing my head against a wall trying to figure out why rename on one machine worked but not on another. I uploaded my ubuntu prename to ~/bin on my centos machine and it “just worked”.

      I’m very grateful, could have spent hours trying to figure that out! :-)

  6. oh yeah,i forgot…

    example :
    addedit.png;1 filesave.png;1 publish_r.png;1
    addusers.png;1 folder_add_f2.png;1 publish_x.png;1
    apply_f2.png;1 folder_add.png;1 publish_y.png;1

    and want to convert to :
    addedit.png filesave.png publish_r.png
    addusers.png folder_add_f2.png publish_x.png
    apply_f2.png folder_add.png publish_y.png

  7. abd now his one :





  8. how can I rename in specified directory only ?
    filename.extension? -> filename.extension

    (I have downloading script, but after pasting filename in windows codepage all extensions are finished with “?” and windows see filename garbled..)

  9. how can I rename in specified directory only ?
    filename.extension? -> filename.extension

    (I have downloading script, but after pasting filename in windows codepage all extensions are finished with �?� and windows see filename garbled..)

  10. hello does somebody knows how to rename the following??



    thanks a lot in advance!!


  11. Nobody has ever asked this question online it seems…

    Problem: Stupid MAC (which I dont have anymore named files with these characters:
    etc.. in the file names.. I could not find any file renamer that would rename these files in Windows/DOS..

    So I tried FENDORA linux and I can rename the manually one by one but i have hundreds…


    No RENAME or mv command works.. I trired everything i can find online..

    I tried specifing the “:” like this “\:” “\x3a” etc.. and nothing.

    does anyone know how to strip these retardted OS-illegal characters out of the names.. in one shot.?

    I know the ren command in DOS.. but I have no clue it seems in Linux.
    and no i don’t have a mac or access to one..

    Thanks ahead of time, for your help.

    1. rename ‘s/[^[:print:]]/_/g’ *txt
      This will replace all ‘non-printable’ characters in the name with and underscore.

      Or if that does not work try escaping the character, e.g:
      rename ‘s/\?/_/g;s/\:/_/g’ *.txt

  12. I want to rename files and folder like:
    test .txt—–>test.txt
    text1 .xls—-> text1.xls
    “folder1 ” —->>folder1
    “folder2 “—–>>fodler2
    Actually there are some files and folders in windows which has blank space at the end of file and folder name.
    Basically I want to remove blank space at the end of each file and folder.But there are some different extension files as well.

  13. what if i have a load of files named differently(all .jpg) and i want to rename them into a sequence caleld for example ( test001.jpg test002.jpg and so on )? cheers

  14. What if I have a bunch of files with no extension and I want to add an extension to them? I tried:
    rename * *.mp3
    rename * .mp3 *
    rename * .mp3

    but I keep getting a Bareword error :(

  15. strAlan: rename’s probably not the best here, try:
    for file in *; do
    mv “$file” “$file”.mp3;

  16. In a directory we have two files a1a and a2b.
    rename a. a a*
    rename ‘s/a./a/’ a*
    where . represents wildcard “one character”
    The expected result should be aa and ab by stripping the numeric character 1 and 2 from the file name.

    Neither is working under GNOME Terminal 2.30.1

  17. Note spaces are easily done using rename.
    For example
    rename ” ” “_” *.mp3

    rename “s/ *//g” *.mp3 as per the original example of the OP does not work for me.

  18. gal02_1024-768_tcm251-138878.jpg

    How to rename these files as 1.jpg 2.jpg….

      1. In this command:
        for j in *.jpg; do mv “$j” “$i.jpg” ;(( i++ )); done

        How would I get the system to number as _00.jpg, _01.jpg, _02.jpg etc……
        instead of _00.jpg, _1.jpg, _2.jpg, etc…..

  19. I would like to use the script but use strings.
    For example i have:

    rename s ‘/text/Text/’ *
    this checks all files for have the name text in it and renames it to Text.
    If i put it in a script:

    #rename script
    rename ‘s/text/Text/’ *

    it works at the following way: $./

    As i want to fill in what file to rename i want to use the script as following:
    $./ text Text

    can somebody help me out how to use variables.

    1. Adjust this with your script and then try –



      rename ‘s/’$match’/’$substitute’/’ *

      Then Run-

      $./ text Text

  20. Ok,

    I want to check if a file starts with numbers, i.e.:
    101-howdy-832.mp3 -> howdy-832.mp3 ->
    10-willem-hello-(radio_edit).mp3 -> willem-hello.mp3
    and if it does remove it.

    Any tips?

  21. if rename didn’t work for you, then use this:

    for file in *; do if [ -f $file ] ; then name=${file%\.*}; mv $file ${name}; fi ; done

  22. using this command:
    for j in *.jpg; do mv “$j” “$i.jpg” ;(( i++ )); done

    How would I get the system to add a 0 when using single digits? So instead of having the results being
    _00.jpg, _1.jpg, _2.jpg, etc…….
    it would return
    _00.jpg, _01.jpg, _02.jpg, etc…

  23. Im writing my own script to rename my mp3 collection, and i want to remove all junk from the filenames:

    Is it possible to check if a filename starts with numeric digits?
    Cause now it remove all the first characters till –
    But i only want it remove (ONLY!) numeric characters till –

    09-willem-hello.mp3 -> willem-hello.mp3 (remove 09-)
    hesss-hodwy.mp3 -> hesss-hodwy.mp3 (nothing removed)

    if filename starts with 09; then do; etc :-)

    Another thing is how to remove (*_bpm) where * = a wildcard, i.e 120, 59 etc.

    This what i’ve made so far:
    # Pattern matching using the # ## % %% parameter substitution operators.
    pattern1=*-* # * (wild card) matches everything between.
    for file in ls *.mp3; do
    if [ -e “$file” ]
    echo “Number of characters ${#file}”
    echo Oldname: ${file}
    newname=”$(echo ${file#$pattern1} | sed ‘s/ /_/g’ | tr ‘[A-Z]’ ‘[a-z]’ | sed ‘s/_feat_/_ft._/g’ | sed ‘s/_feat._/_ft._/g’| sed ‘s/_-_/-/g’)”

    if [ “$file” != “$newname” ] ; then
    echo Newname: $newname
    mv “$file” “$newname”
    echo —————————————-
    else echo Nothing to do!
    #echo ‘${var1#$pattern2} =’ “${var1#$pattern2}” # d12345abc6789
    # Shortest possible match, strips out first 3 characters abcd12345abc6789
    # ^^^^^ |-|
    #echo ‘${var1##$pattern1} =’ “${var1##$pattern1}” # 6789
    # Longest possible match, strips out first 12 characters abcd12345abc6789
    # ^^^^^ |———-|
    exit 0

    I also want include this:

    match=feat versus (radio)
    substitute=ft. vs. (radio_edit)

    newname=”$(echo ${file#$pattern1} | sed ‘s/’$match’/’$substitute’/g’)”

    willem versus wca feat wasd – hello world (radio)

    So i can as much items to change as i want.
    Hope someone can help me out! :-)

    Im sick and tired of using windows based tools in wine to do this, while bash is even stronger and more fun to learn ;-)

  24. wow this is a popular post for good reason. I wonder if its still active.

    Can this descend in to directories? I’d like to rename some image files with the following file and directory structure.


    so i would like to rename them to

    So i really just want to cut the last number before the .jpg but the files literally span 99 directories, so don’t want to do it for each one. Any ideas?

  25. hi, I need to add a letter into file name in many files but not using automator, is it possible?

    for example: I have files like 1.png, fs.png, ghasd.png and need to add “-hd” so the name will be 1-hd.png fs-hd.png, and original files will be not deleted, how to do that? :) thanx!

    1. you can do the following:
      # rename .png -hd.png *.png

      How about that? :)
      Let me know if you need any further help

  26. Excellent write up!!
    Thank you sir…

    Been browsing the internet for a while for this, and just came across this neat little command, instead of people writing different scripts and such.. AWESOME!!

  27. On OSX I didn’t have rename handy, so I came up with this to change extensions of a bunch of files:
    find . -name “*.ext1” | sed s/ext1// | xargs -I % mv %.ext1 %.ext2

    I imagine it could be done in a more simple fashion, but it works well if you need to swap something at the end or the beginning of the filenames.

  28. Hi, I am trying to rename some files with .ext to ones without .ext in RedHat 5

    For eg: files like “ocean_11h20110906.txt” have to renamed as “ocean_11h20110906”

    tried almost all the commands mentioned above. i have several such files to be renamed without extensions. Can anyone help me out. Plz treat this as urgent.

  29. This is a very usefule and informative thread. However, i haven’t quite got exactly how how I would do my renaming. I need to rename daily files from format
    XX_AA1234_201109.txt to AA1234_201109_XX.ext. Note that I need to change both position of a string and the extension itself. Any suggestions would be highly appreciated!

    1. @Gary
      rename XX_ “” *.txt; rename .txt _XX.ext *.txt

      I think your example about the AXEL-CRAZYFROG.mp3 file is not correct. The – will not be added with your code. I think you forgot to include the hypen in the original name.

  30. @paxpacis-Appreciate your input. however, I don’t think I understand your solution. Here are some example files:
    AF_DD2795_199905_20110824.txt should be renamed to DD2795_199905_20110824_AF.raw
    AF_DD2795_199905_20110924.txt should be renamed to DD2795_199905_20110924_AF.raw
    How do I automate this?

  31. Hey,

    Thanks for the tip, but the rename command didnt work on my Fedora 15 x64. I didnt get any error message, but the spaces didnt go ! As one suggested above, does it work only on debian systems ? I checked man rename, there is no info on usage. Just has description of the -v switch. I am using “rename (util-linux 2.19.1)”

    Thanks !

  32. i=0; for image in *.jpg; do mv “$image” “Name with spaces `printf “%.3d” $i`.jpg”; ((i++)); done




    Name with spaces 000.jpg
    Name with spaces 001.jpg
    Name with spaces 002.jpg

  33. “Figure 03-01-02: GradeBook class declaration with one method: Createing a Gradebook object an calling its displayMessage method.avi”
    How can we bulk rename files like this? These are located in subfolders like
    “Blaa: blaaaaah: bla bla: bla” etc.

    None of the posted above methods not working. :(
    I need replace all these stupid “:”.

  34. Thanks for the info.

    rename doesnt seem to be recursive

    For recursive do this, to rename .html to .htm.bak. Replace . with your dir name if you want to replace files not in current directory

    find . -name “*.html” | xargs rename .html .htm.bak

  35. my trials to rename files from pic_1.jpg pic_2.jpg … to pic_1500.jpg 1501.jpg … failed :-(

    Hope to get some help

      1. Thanks for trying to help me. If I do:
        rename -n ‘s/pic_(\d+)/”pic_” . ( $1 + 1500 )/e’ *.jpg
        then I get:
        Unrecognized character \xE2 in column 5 at (eval 1) line 1.


        1. It works for me, what linux are you using and which version of util-linux are you using? Mine is:
          [email protected] > lsb_release -a
          No LSB modules are available.
          Distributor ID: Ubuntu
          Description: Ubuntu 10.04.4 LTS
          Release: 10.04
          Codename: lucid
          [email protected] > dpkg -l | grep util-linux
          util-linux 2.17.2-0ubuntu1.10.04.2

          The other thing to make sure is that the quotes are exactly as I used, single quotes (‘) to enclose the whole command and double-quotes (“) to enclose the pic_ part.

          1. Hi Sakiwi,

            it’s working now :-) Indeed the double-quotes were the problem. I didn’t know that there are different kinds of double-quotes existing in the world.

            Many Thanks and best regards, zaphod !!!

    1. rename ‘s/(.*)\.jpg/Pic_$1\.jpg/’ *jpg

      Or if you files don’t have spaces in the names you could also do:
      for files in *jpg; do mv “$files” “Pic_$files”; done

  36. For FreeBSD, the syntax is slightly different:

    rename -s/oldtext/newtext/ *.ext

    will replace oldtext with newtext in all files of type ext

    rename -s/\ /_/ *.ext

    will replace spaces with underscores

  37. Copy one source file to different file name.

    echo “$(cat $FOLDER_PATTERN_LIST)” | while read line; do
    echo “cp test.pdf $LISTLINE”


    cp test.pdf File1
    cp test.pdf File2
    cp test.pdf File3

  38. Hi there. Would love some help on this:


    to become…


    Thank you for any suggestions!

  39. @Ethan

    I did something similar. After I converted my daugther’s shows for her touchpad the old avi extension where still in the filename, which I had/wanted to remove.

    The touchpad doesn’t have `rename` so this is what I did…


    find . -name ‘*.mp4’ >> /tmp/$$
    while read line; do
    foo=`echo $line | sed s/.avi//g`
    mv $line $foo
    done < /tmp/$$

    rm /tmp/$$

  40. Anyone remember about brace expansion?
    mv file.{foo,bar}
    will expand to:

    Or in a loop:
    # removes the foo extension before the expansion:
    for file in *.foo; do mv ${file%foo}.{foo,bar}; done

    A lot less involved than some of the examples here.

  41. The date of my phone was reset to 2009 some day after removing the battery and I just set the time. So after some weeks I uploaded my fotos to my PC and got all the pictures with the wrong date as a file name. Here is the script that corrected that issue at once:

    Please make a backup before you use it. This comes without any warranties of course.

    for  filename in `ls 2009*` ; do mv $filename `date --date="${filename:0:10}+1301 days" +"%Y-%m-%d"`${filename:10}; done
  42. hey if I want to rename a folder of files which have names like:
    artist – album – 01 song
    artist – album – 02 song
    and I want to rename them to
    01 – song
    02 – song
    how do I do this? Have been struggling to adjust the examples given here

    Kind regards

    1. rename -v ‘s/.* – .* – (\d\d) (.*)/$1 – $2/’

      The brackets tell rename that those are portions you want to keep/reuse in the replace portion and are referenced by $1, $2, $3 etc… So in your case it keeps the 2 digits “(\d\d)” as $1 and then a space and then everything else “(.*)”.

      It will then in the second part of the regex rename the file as \d\d – .*
      i.e. 01 – song, 02 – song, 03 – song etc…

  43. Hello ,

    Can anyone assist me with following replacement

    avatarXXX_1.gif => photo-XXX.gif

    I tried

    rename -n ‘s/avatar(\d+)_1\.gif/photo-$1\.gif’ *gif

    But it didn’t work

    1. mert – This works for me:
      rename -n ‘s/avatar(\d+)_.*\.gif/photo-$1\.gif/’ *.gif
      –> avatar123_1.gif renamed as photo-123.gif
      –> avatar234_5.gif renamed as photo-234.gif
      –> avatar4565_125.gif renamed as photo-4565.gif

      1. It’s strange but it doesn’t function at all for me. Now time to debug what is wrong with it.

        [[email protected] tet]# rename -n ‘s/avatar(\d+)_.*\.gif/photo-$1\.gif/’ *.gif
        [[email protected] tet]# ls
        avatar605323_2.gif avatar605379_1.gif avatar605425_2.gif avatar605443_1.gif
        avatar605336_1.gif avatar605386_2.gif avatar605427_1.gif
        [[email protected] tet]# rename ‘s/avatar(\d+)_.*\.gif/photo-$1\.gif/’ *.gif
        [[email protected] tet]# ls
        avatar605323_2.gif avatar605379_1.gif avatar605425_2.gif avatar605443_1.gif
        avatar605336_1.gif avatar605386_2.gif avatar605427_1.gif

        [[email protected] tet]# rename –help
        call: rename from to files…

        1. mert – are you using the “util-linux” rename utility? I am using ubuntu, and this is the details of my “rename” utility:
          [email protected] > which rename
          [email protected] > apt-file search /usr/bin/rename
          ladr4-apps: /usr/bin/renamer
          util-linux: /usr/bin/rename.ul
          [email protected] > dpkg -l | grep util-linux
          ii util-linux 2.20.1-1ubuntu3 Miscellaneous system utilities

          So if you are using an ubuntu derivate system then install the package:
          [email protected] > sudo apt-get install util-linux

  44. I want to rename file from model1 model2….model 50 as model100 model102…model150…I tried codes similar to above but didnt work…

  45. From the command line, this worked for me:

    find -name ‘*.lst’ -exec rename .lst a.lst {} \;

    That is, I changed:




    I’m running Scientific Linux 6.

  46. dear owner this site i’m thai people can write english a bit

    i have muti files start with number 3 digit and 1 char is underscore

    145_เธšเธฑเธ™เธ—เธถเธเธ‚เน‰เธญเธ„เธงเธฒเธก manage1.doc
    147_เธšเธฑเธ™เธ—เธถเธเธ‚เน‰เฒเธก manage5.pdf
    149_เธšเธฑเธ™เธเธ‚เน‰เธญธงเธฒเธก manage2.ppt

    i want to follow this

    Help me please.

  47. It is to mention, that `rename’ and `perl-rename’ are not the same thing!

    rename is a part of the util-linux Package.

    Heres the man-page(Arch/ util-linux 2.23.1)
    rename – rename files

    rename [options] expression replacement file…

    rename will rename the specified files by replacing the first occur‐
    rence of expression in their name by replacement.

    -v, –verbose
    Give visual feedback which files where renamed, if any.

    -V, –version
    Display version information and exit.

    -s, –symlink
    Peform rename on symlink target

    -h, –help
    Display help text and exit.

    Given the files foo1, …, foo9, foo10, …, foo278, the commands

    rename foo foo0 foo?
    rename foo foo0 foo??

    will turn them into foo001, …, foo009, foo010, …, foo278. And

    rename .htm .html *.htm

    will fix the extension of your html files.

    The renaming has no safeguards. If the user has permission to rewrite
    file names, the command will perform the action without any questions.
    For example, the result can be quite drastic when the command is run as
    root in the /lib directory. Always make a backup before running the
    command, unless you truly know what you are doing.

    mmv(1), mv(1)

    The rename command is part of the util-linux package and is available

    It is a binary. The Arch package is called perl-rename:
    rename – renames multiple files

    rename [-bfilnv] [-B prefix] [-S suffix] [-V method] [-Y prefix] [-z
    suffix] [–backup] [–basename-prefix=prefix] [–dry-run] [–force]
    [–help] [–interactive] [–just-print] [–link-only] [–prefix=prefix]
    [–suffix=suffix] [–verbose] [–version-control=method] [–version]
    perlexpr [files]…

    rename renames the filenames supplied according to the rule specified
    as the first argument. The argument is a Perl expression which is
    expected to modify the $_ string for at least some of the filenames
    specified. If a given filename is not modified by the expression, it
    will not be renamed. If no filenames are given on the command line,
    filenames will be read via standard input.

    If a destination file is unwritable, the standard input is a tty, and
    the -f or –force option is not given, mv prompts the user for whether
    to overwrite the file. If the response does not begin with `y’ or `Y’,
    the file is skipped.

    -b, –backup
    Make backup files. That is, when about to overwrite a file, rename
    the original instead of removing it. See the -V or
    –version-control option fo details about how backup file names are

    -B prefix, –prefix=prefix
    Use the simple method to determine backup file names (see the -V
    method or –version-control=method option), and prepend prefix to a
    file name when generating its backup file name.

    -f, –force
    Remove existing destination files and never prompt the user.

    -h, –help
    Print a summary of options and exit.

    -i, –interactive
    Prompt whether to overwrite each destination file that already
    exists. If the response does not begin with `y’ or `Y’, the file
    is skipped.

    -l, –link-only
    Link files to the new names instead of renaming them. This will
    keep the original files.

    -n, –just-print, –dry-run
    Do everything but the actual renaming, insted just print the name
    of each file that would be renamed. When used together with
    –verbose, also print names of backups (which may or may not be
    correct depending on previous renaming).

    -v, –verbose
    Print the name of each file before renaming it.

    -V method, –version-control=method
    Use method to determine backup file names. The method can also be
    given by the RENAME_VERSION_CONTROL (or if that’s not set, the
    VERSION_CONTROL) environment variable, which is overridden by this
    option. This option does not affect wheter backup files are made;
    it affects only the name of any backup files that are made.

    The value of method is like the GNU Emacs `version-control’
    variable; rename also recognize synonyms that are more descriptive.
    The valid values are (unique abbreviations are accepted):

    existing or nil
    Make numbered backups of files that already have them,
    otherwise simple backups. This is the default.

    numbered or t
    Make numbered backups. The numbered backup file name for F is
    F.~N~ where N is the version number.

    simple or never
    Make simple backups. The -B or –prefix, -Y or
    –basename-prefix, and -z or –suffix options specify the
    simple backup file name. If none of these options are given,
    then a simple backup suffix is used, either the value of
    SIMPLE_BACKUP_SUFFIX environment variable if set, or ~

    Print version information on standard output then exit

    -Y prefix, –basename-prefix=prefix
    Use the simple method to determine backup file names (see the -V
    method or –version-control=method option), and prefix prefix to
    the basename of a file name when generating its backup file name.
    For example, with -Y .del/ the simple backup file name for a/b/foo
    is a/b/.del/foo.

    -z suffix, -S suffix, –suffix=suffix
    Use the simple method to determine backup file names (see the -V
    method or –version-control=method option), and append suffix to a
    file name when generating its backup file name.

    To rename all files matching *.bak to strip the extension, you might

    rename ‘s/\e.bak$//’ *.bak

    To translate uppercase names to lower, you’d use

    rename ‘y/A-Z/a-z/’ *

    More examples:

    rename ‘s/\.flip$/.flop/’ # rename *.flip to *.flop
    rename s/flip/flop/ # rename *flip* to *flop*
    rename ‘s/^s\.(.*)/$1.X/’ # switch sccs filenames around
    rename ‘s/$/.orig/ */*.[ch]’ # add .orig to source files in */
    rename ‘y/A-Z/a-z/’ # lowercase all filenames in .
    rename ‘y/A-Z/a-z/ if -B’ # same, but just binaries!
    or even
    rename chop *~ # restore all ~ backup files

    Two environment variables are used, SIMPLE_BACKUP_SUFFIX and

    mv(1) and perl(1)

    If you give an invalid Perl expression you’ll get a syntax error.

    Peder Stray , original script from Larry Wall.

  48. Thanks for the rename command to me, but for my need it had limitations.

    My requirement: Rename multiple files under a folder tree like below:


    All above files should get renamed, by inserting ‘old’ after “d/”.

    I achieved above feat with single find command.

    You should be at the parent folder of the folder tree, then it will work as below:

    $ find . -name ‘*ITM*’ | xargs rename d\/ d\/old
    $ find . -name ‘*ITM*’

    It worked! Hope it will be helpful in such complex needs.
    Please feedback if any issues faced.

  49. My problem was that when copying files from linux to Windows, Windows would complain about the filenames that were longer than what Windows can handle.
    I tried a few of the examples posted here previously but they didn’t work for me either (I’m running Fedora 17 64-bit) so I wrote my own … Copy the following text to a plain file and save it as a shell script – don’t forget to make it executable (chmod a+x “”)

    #start script
    for filename in *.jpg
    fname=`echo $filename | cut -c1-137`;
    rename $fname $nname *.jpg

    So what I’m doing is looking at everything up to the 137th position in the filename that I want to work with as the repeating pattern, then assigning my new file name pattern in the variable “nname”. The result is a shorter file name (also in numeric sequence) that Windows can handle. Run this script in the same directory as the files. Hope this helps someone else.

    1. i would firstly quote filename as windows typically will have spaces in the path causing problems. Also, if you are using bash or ksh you can cut a variable doing this:
      using the shell instead of a utility.

  50. Hi I need help, i am using cygwin & trying to copy & create multiple files in a sequence eg :-

    filename_1234609 I need to duplicate this file muliple times creating an incremental sequence number

    al the way to filename_1234700

    can anyone help ?/

    I am trying to cp a file & rename with a sequence

  51. Hello
    My request here is much more simple but cannot get this to work
    (Linux RedHat 2.6.32-358.14.1.el6.x86_64)
    I’d like to rename (i have hunder of F4200* files)



    Thanks for your help

  52. Hi,

    I’m working on renaming the folders using linux , where I need to rename some 100 folders in one single time as follows:

    For example:

    Say, the following are the subject ids (folder names):


    Here, there are 5 folders. And I have an excel spreadsheet which holds these
    SUBJECT IDs in one column and their corresponding subject name in another column.

    Say subject names are


    I need to rename my subject id as follows:(using linux scripting)

    11001 – english
    11002 – maths
    11003 – physics
    11004 – chemistry
    11005 – computer

    Can anyone plz help me to sort this out???

  53. Have to be careful with the replacement – in your first example it will grab any portion of the file name that matches. So if you have a file named “add.bak1.bak” it will be changed to “add.txt1.bak”. I know this is being picky but in automaton of bulk changes, you must be very strict or you will be stuck with unintended results.

  54. I gave up using the above for changing some files in Linux (change the first letter in every file so pretty straight forward) and simply sent them to a Windows box and did a “ren s*.jpg l*.jpg” and then sent them back. Sometimes I wish we not only had the power in Linux but perhaps some of the ease of use and userfriendliness that was added back in DOS around the mid 80’s.

  55. Hi, I have multiple file in a directory, those are (for example):

    I would like to rename them to:
    in which 1,2,3 is the order of files presented when we use ‘ls’ command.

    Could anyone help me in this case?
    Thanks so much!

  56. How to add a prefix to original file names.

    POLL91.DWN —-> GSTD.20160401160515.POLL91
    POLL57.DWN —-> SMAL.20160401153035.POLL57
    POLL61.DWN —-> ETNC.20160401171109.POLL61

    Thanks for help

  57. Hi! If I want to rename all files in a linux folder to include their CREATED AT time in their name, what can I do?
    I have a file hello.mp4 that was created on july 15 10:30
    it should be:

    Or any format.
    Thank you very much!

Leave a Comment