Linux Rename Multiple Files At a Shell Prompt

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

Linux Rename Multiple Files
Renaming multiple files at a shell prompt is always considered as a black art by many Linux and 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. Linux and *BSD/Unix comes with handy utility called rename. As a name suggest ‘rename’ command renames the filenames supplied according to the rule specified (syntax):
rename "regex-rule" files

Linux Rename Multiple Files Command

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. Please note that you can install this tool on MacOS using the following brew command. First, install Homebrew on macOS and then type the following brew command:
$ brew install rename

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 apt command/apt-get command:
$ sudo apt-get install renameutils

How to rename multiple files with the zmv under zsh

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

Renaming multiple files with the 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?

Let us convert all filenames to lowercase in bulk, enter:
$ mmv "*" "#l1"
Next I am going rename all ‘*.bakz’ files in the current directory to ‘*.bak’, run:
$ mmv '*.bakz' '#1.bak'
See the mmv command man page for further informmation:
man mmv

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
Sample outputs:

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

Sample outputs:


POSIX shell rename all *.bak to *.txt

Use bash shell for loop as follows:

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")

See mv command for more info.

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/' *

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

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

Want to convert all uppercase filenames to lowercase? Try

$ 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/env perl
use strict;
use warnings;
use Getopt::Long 2.24, qw( :config bundling no_ignore_case no_auto_abbrev );
my ( $N, $EXT, @EXT, @USE, $DECODE, $ENCODE );
sub compile { eval shift } # defined early to control the lexical environment
my $msglevel = 0;
sub ERROR (&) { print STDERR $_[0]->(), "\n" if $msglevel > -1 };
sub INFO  (&) { print STDERR $_[0]->(), "\n" if $msglevel >  0 };
sub DEBUG (&) { print STDERR $_[0]->(), "\n" if $msglevel >  1 };
sub pod2usage { require Pod::Usage;     goto &Pod::Usage::pod2usage }
sub mkpath    { require File::Path;     goto &File::Path::mkpath }
sub dirname   { require File::Basename; goto &File::Basename::dirname }
use constant VERB_FOR => {
	link => {
		inf   => 'link',
		pastp => 'linked',
		exec  => sub { link shift, shift },
	symlink => {
		inf   => 'symlink',
		pastp => 'symlinked',
		exec  => sub { symlink shift, shift },
	rename => {
		inf   => 'rename',
		pastp => 'renamed',
		exec  => sub { rename shift, shift },
sub argv_to_subst_expr {
	my $modifier = shift || '';
	pod2usage( -verbose => 1 ) if @ARGV < 2; my ($from, $to) = map quotemeta, splice @ARGV, 0, 2; # the ugly \${\""} construct is necessary because unknown backslash escapes are # not treated the same in pattern- vs doublequote-quoting context; only the # latter lets us do the right thing with problematic input like # ']{ool(haracter$' or maybe '>><//((/>'
	sprintf 's/\Q${\"%s"}/%s/%s', $from, $to, $modifier;
sub pipe_through {
	my ( $cmd ) = @_;
	IPC::Open2::open2( my $in, my $out, $cmd ) or do {
		warn "couldn't open pipe to $cmd: $!\n";
	print $out $_;
	close $out;
	$_ = <$in>;
	close $in;
my ( $VERB, @EXPR );
my %library = (
	camelcase => 's/([[:alpha:]]+)/\u$1/g',
	urlesc    => 's/%([0-9A-F][0-9A-F])/chr hex $1/ieg',
	nows      => 's/[_[:blank:]]+/_/g',
	rews      => 'y/_/ /',
	noctrl    => 's/[_[:cntrl:]]+/_/g',
	nometa    => 'tr/_!"&()=?`*\':;<>|$/_/s',
	trim      => 's/\A[ _]+//, s/[ _]+\z//'
	'h|help'                    => sub { pod2usage() },
	'man'                       => sub { pod2usage( -verbose => 2 ) },
	'0|null'                    => \my $opt_null,
	'f|force'                   => \my $opt_force,
	'g|glob'                    => \my $opt_glob,
	'i|interactive'             => \my $opt_interactive,
	'k|backwards|reverse-order' => \my $opt_backwards,
	'l|symlink'                 => sub { $VERB ? pod2usage( -verbose => 1 ) : ( $VERB = VERB_FOR->{ 'symlink' } ) },
	'L|hardlink'                => sub { $VERB ? pod2usage( -verbose => 1 ) : ( $VERB = VERB_FOR->{    'link' } ) },
	'M|use=s'                   => \@USE,
	'n|just-print|dry-run'      => \my $opt_dryrun,
	'N|counter-format=s'        => \my $opt_ntmpl,
	'p|mkpath|make-dirs'        => \my $opt_mkpath,
	'stdin!'                    => \my $opt_stdin,
	't|sort-time'               => \my $opt_time_sort,
	'T|transcode=s'             => \my $opt_transcode,
	'v|verbose+'                => \$msglevel,
	'a|append=s'                => sub { push @EXPR, "\$_ .= qq[${\quotemeta $_[1]}]" },
	'A|prepend=s'               => sub { push @EXPR, "substr \$_, 0, 0, qq[${\quotemeta $_[1]}]" },
	'c|lower-case'              => sub { push @EXPR, 's/([[:upper:]]+)/\L$1/g' },
	'C|upper-case'              => sub { push @EXPR, 's/([[:lower:]]+)/\U$1/g' },
	'd|delete=s'                => sub { push @EXPR, "s/${\quotemeta $_[1]}//" },
	'D|delete-all=s'            => sub { push @EXPR, "s/${\quotemeta $_[1]}//g" },
	'e|expr=s'                  => \@EXPR,
	'P|pipe=s'                  => sub { require IPC::Open2; push @EXPR, "pipe_through '\Q$_[1]\E'" },
	's|subst'                   => sub { push @EXPR, argv_to_subst_expr },
	'S|subst-all'               => sub { push @EXPR, argv_to_subst_expr('g') },
	'x|remove-extension'        => sub { push @EXPR, 's/\. [^.]+ \z//x' },
	'X|keep-extension'          => sub { push @EXPR, 's/\.([^.]+)\z//x and do { push @EXT, $1; $EXT = join ".", reverse @EXT }' },
	'z|sanitize'                => sub { push @EXPR, @library{ qw( nows noctrl nometa trim ) } },
	map { my $recipe = $_; $recipe => sub { push @EXPR, $library{ $recipe } } } keys %library,
) or pod2usage();
$opt_stdin = @ARGV ? 0 : 1 unless defined $opt_stdin;
$VERB ||= VERB_FOR->{ 'rename' };
if ( not @EXPR ) {
	pod2usage() if not @ARGV or -e $ARGV[0];
	push @EXPR, shift;
pod2usage( -message => 'Error: --stdin and filename arguments are mutually exclusive' )
	if $opt_stdin and @ARGV;
pod2usage( -message => 'Error: --null only permitted when reading filenames from STDIN' )
	if $opt_null and not $opt_stdin;
pod2usage( -message => 'Error: --interactive and --force are mutually exclusive' )
	if $opt_interactive and $opt_force;
my $n = 1;
my $nwidth = 0;
if ( defined $opt_ntmpl ) {
	$opt_ntmpl =~ /\A(?:(\.\.\.0)|(0+))([0-9]+)\z/
		or pod2usage( -message => "Error: unparseable counter format $opt_ntmpl" );
	$nwidth = (
		defined $1 ? -1 :
		defined $2 ? length $opt_ntmpl :
	$n = $3;
++$msglevel if $opt_dryrun;
my $code = do {
	if ( $opt_transcode ) {
		require Encode;
		my ( $in_enc, $out_enc ) = split /:/, $opt_transcode, 2;
		$DECODE = Encode::find_encoding( $in_enc );
		die "No such encoding $in_enc\n" if not ref $DECODE;
		$ENCODE = defined $out_enc ? Encode::find_encoding( $out_enc ) : $ENCODE;
		die "No such encoding $out_enc\n" if not ref $ENCODE;
		unshift @EXPR, '$_ = $DECODE->decode($_)';
		push    @EXPR, '$_ = $ENCODE->encode($_)';
	my $i = $#USE;
	for ( reverse @USE ) {
		my $use = "use $1";
		$use .= ' split /,/, $USE['.$i--.']' if length;
		unshift @EXPR, $use;
	if ( eval 'require feature' and $^V =~ /^v(5\.[1-9][0-9]+)/ ) {
		unshift @EXPR, "use feature ':$1'";
	my $cat = sprintf 'sub { %s }', join '; ', @EXPR;
	DEBUG { "Using expression: $cat" };
	my $evaled = compile $cat;
	die $@ if $@;
	die "Evaluation to subref failed. Check expression using -nv\n"
		unless 'CODE' eq ref $evaled;
if ( $opt_stdin ) {
	local $/ = $/;
	INFO { "Reading filenames from STDIN" };
	@ARGV = do {
		if ( $opt_null ) {
			INFO { "Splitting on NUL bytes" };
			$/ = chr 0;
	chomp @ARGV;
@ARGV = map glob, @ARGV if $opt_glob;
if ( $opt_time_sort ) {
	my @mtime = map { (stat)[9] } @ARGV;
	@ARGV = @ARGV[ sort { $mtime[$a] <=> $mtime[$b] } 0 .. $#ARGV ];
@ARGV = reverse @ARGV if $opt_backwards;
$nwidth = length $n+@ARGV if $nwidth < 0; for ( @ARGV ) { my $old = $_; $N = sprintf '%0*d', $nwidth, $n++; $code->();
	$_ = join '.', $_, reverse splice @EXT if @EXT;
	if ( $old eq $_ ) {
		DEBUG { "'$old' unchanged" };
	if ( !$opt_force and -e ) {
		ERROR { "'$old' not $VERB->{pastp}: '$_' already exists" };
	if ( $opt_dryrun ) {
		INFO { "'$old' would be $VERB->{pastp} to '$_'" };
	if ( $opt_interactive ) {
		print "\u$VERB->{inf} '$old' to '$_'? [n] ";
		if (  !~ /^y(?:es)?$/i ) {
			DEBUG { "Skipping '$old'." };
	my ( $success, @made_dirs );
	++$success if $VERB->{ 'exec' }->( $old, $_ );
	if ( !$success and $opt_mkpath ) {
		@made_dirs = mkpath( [ dirname( $_ ) ], $msglevel > 1, 0755 );
		++$success if $VERB->{ 'exec' }->( $old, $_ );
	if ( !$success ) {
		ERROR { "Can't $VERB->{inf} '$old' to '$_': $!" };
		rmdir $_ for reverse @made_dirs;
	INFO { "'$old' $VERB->{pastp} to '$_'" };
=head1 NAME
rename - renames multiple files
=head1 VERSION
version 1.600
=over 1
=item B<-0>/B<--null> (when reading from STDIN)
=item B<-f>/B<--force>EorEB<-i>/B<--interactive> (proceed or prompt when overwriting)
=item B<-g>/B<--glob> (expand C<*> etc. in filenames, useful in WindowsE F)
=item B<-k>/B<--backwards>/B<--reverse-order>
=item B<-l>/B<--symlink>EorEB<-L>/B<--hardlink>
=item B<-M>/B<--use=I>
=item B<-n>/B<--just-print>/B<--dry-run>
=item B<-N>/B<--counter-format>
=item B<-p>/B<--mkpath>/B<--make-dirs>
=item B<--stdin>/B<--no-stdin>
=item B<-t>/B<--sort-time>
=item B<-T>/B<--transcode=I>
=item B<-v>/B<--verbose>
Transforms, applied sequentially:
=over 1
=item B<-a>/B<--append=I>
=item B<-A>/B<--prepend=I>
=item B<-c>/B<--lower-case>
=item B<-C>/B<--upper-case>
=item B<-d>/B<--delete=I>
=item B<-D>/B<--delete-all=I>
=item B&lt;-e&gt;/B&lt;--expr=I<code>&gt;
=item B&lt;-P&gt;/B&lt;--pipe=I&gt;
=item B&lt;-s&gt;/B&lt;--subst I I&gt;
=item B&lt;-S&gt;/B&lt;--subst-all I I&gt;
=item B&lt;-x&gt;/B&lt;--remove-extension&gt;
=item B&lt;-X&gt;/B&lt;--keep-extension&gt;
=item B&lt;-z&gt;/B&lt;--sanitize&gt;
=item B&lt;--camelcase&gt;EB&lt;--urlesc&gt;EB&lt;--nows&gt;EB&lt;--rews&gt;EB&lt;--noctrl&gt;EB&lt;--nometa&gt;EB&lt;--trim&gt; (see manual)
This program renames files according to modification rules specified on the command line. If no filenames are given on the command line, a list of filenames will be expected on standard input.
The documentation contains a L.
=head1 OPTIONS
=head2 Switches
=over 4
=item B&lt;-h&gt;, B&lt;--help&gt;
See a synopsis.
=item B&lt;--man&gt;
Browse the manpage.
=item B&lt;-0&gt;, B&lt;--null&gt;
When reading file names from C, split on NUL bytes instead of newlines. This is useful in combination with GNU find's C&lt;-print0&gt; option, GNU grep's C&lt;-Z&gt; option, and GNU sort's C&lt;-z&gt; option, to name just a few. B
=item B&lt;-f&gt;, B&lt;--force&gt;
Rename even when a file with the destination name already exists.
=item B&lt;-g&gt;, B&lt;--glob&gt;
Glob filename arguments. This is useful if you're using a braindead shell such as F which won't expand wildcards on behalf of the user.
=item B&lt;-i&gt;, B&lt;--interactive&gt;
Ask the user to confirm every action before it is taken.
=item B&lt;-k&gt;, B&lt;--backwards&gt;, B&lt;--reverse-order&gt;
Process the list of files in reverse order, last file first. This prevents conflicts when renaming files to names which are currently taken but would be freed later during the process of renaming.
=item B&lt;-l&gt;, B&lt;--symlink&gt;
Create symlinks from the new names to the existing ones, instead of renaming the files. B.&gt;
=item B&lt;-L&gt;, B&lt;--hardlink&gt;
Create hard links from the new names to the existing ones, instead of renaming the files. B.&gt;
=item B&lt;-M&gt;, B&lt;--use&gt;
Like perl's own C&lt;-M&gt; switch. Loads the named modules at the beginning of the rename, and can pass import options separated by commata after an equals sign, i.e. C&lt;Module=foo,bar&gt; will pass the C and C import options to C.
You may load multiple modules by using this option multiple times.
=item B&lt;-n&gt;, B&lt;--dry-run&gt;, B&lt;--just-print&gt;
Show how the files would be renamed, but don't actually do anything.
=item B&lt;-N&gt;/B&lt;--counter-format&gt;
Format and set the C&lt;$N&gt; counter variable according to the given template.
E.g. C&lt;-N 001&gt; will make C&lt;$N&gt; start at 1 and be zero-padded to 3 digits, whereas C&lt;-N 0099&gt; will start the counter at 99 and zero-pad it to 4 digits. And so forth. Only digits are allowed in this simple form.
As a special form, you can prefix the template with C&lt;...0&gt; to indicate that C should determine the width automatically based upon the number of files. E.g. if you pass C&lt;-N ...01&gt; along with 300 files, C&lt;$N&gt; will range from C&lt;001&gt; to C&lt;300&gt;.
=item B&lt;-p&gt;, B&lt;--mkpath&gt;, B&lt;--make-dirs&gt;
Create any non-existent directories in the target path. This is very handy if you want to scatter a pile of files into subdirectories based on some part of their name (eg. the first two letters or the extension): you don't need to make all necessary directories beforehand, just tell C to create them as necessary.
=item B&lt;--stdin&gt;, B&lt;--no-stdin&gt;
Always E or never E read the list of filenames from STDIN; do not guess based on the presence or absence of filename arguments. B.&gt;
=item B&lt;-T&gt;, B&lt;--transcode&gt;
Decode each filename before processing and encode it after processing, according to the given encoding supplied.
To encode output in a different encoding than input was decoded, supply two encoding names, separated by a colon, e.g. C&lt;-T latin1:utf-8&gt;.
Only the last C&lt;-T&gt; parameter on the command line is effective.
=item B&lt;-v&gt;, B&lt;--verbose&gt;
Print additional information about the operations (not) executed.
=head2 Transforms
Transforms are applied to filenames sequentially. You can use them multiple times; their effects will accrue.
=over 4
=item B&lt;-a&gt;, B&lt;--append&gt;
Append the string argument you supply to every filename.
=item B&lt;-A&gt;, B&lt;--prepend&gt;
Prepend the string argument you supply to every filename.
=item B&lt;-c&gt;, B&lt;--lower-case&gt;
Convert file names to all lower case.
=item B&lt;-C&gt;, B&lt;--upper-case&gt;
Convert file names to all upper case.
=item B&lt;-e&gt;, B&lt;--expr&gt;
The C<code> argument to this option should be a Perl expression that assumes the filename in the C&lt;$_&gt; variable and modifies it for the filenames to be renamed. When no other C&lt;-c&gt;, C&lt;-C&gt;, C&lt;-e&gt;, C&lt;-s&gt;, or C&lt;-z&gt; options are given, you can omit the C&lt;-e&gt; from infront of the code.
=item B&lt;-P&gt;, B&lt;--pipe&gt;
Pass the filename to an external command on its standard input and read back the transformed filename on its standard output.
=item B&lt;-s&gt;, B&lt;--subst&gt;
Perform a simple textual substitution of C to C. The C and C parameters must immediately follow the argument.
=item B&lt;-S&gt;, B&lt;--subst-all&gt;
Same as C&lt;-s&gt;, but replaces I instance of the C text by the C text.
=item B&lt;-x&gt;, B&lt;--remove-extension&gt;
Remove the last extension from a filename, if there is any.
=item B&lt;-X&gt;, B&lt;--keep-extension&gt;
Save and remove the last extension from a filename, if there is any. The saved extension will be appended back to the filename at the end of the rest of the operations.
Repeating this option will save multiple levels of extension in the right order.
=item B&lt;-z&gt;, B&lt;--sanitize&gt;
A shortcut for passing C&lt;--nows --noctrl --nometa --trim&gt;.
=item B&lt;--camelcase&gt;
Capitalise every separate word within the filename.
=item B&lt;--urlesc&gt;
Decode URL-escaped filenames, such as wget(1) used to produce.
=item B&lt;--nows&gt;
Replace all sequences of whitespace in the filename with single underscore characters.
=item B&lt;--rews&gt;
Reverse C&lt;--nows&gt;: replace each underscore in the filename with a space.
=item B&lt;--noctrl&gt;
Replace all sequences of control characters in the filename with single underscore characters.
=item B&lt;--nometa&gt;
Replace every shell meta-character with an underscore.
=item B&lt;--trim&gt;
Remove any sequence of spaces and underscores at the left and right ends of the filename.
These predefined variables are available for use within any C&lt;-e&gt; expressions you pass.
=over 4
=item B&lt;$N&gt;
A counter that increments for each file in the list. By default, counts up from 1.
The C&lt;-N&gt; switch takes a template that specifies the padding and starting value of C&lt;$N&gt;; see L.
=item B&lt;$EXT&gt;
A string containing the accumulated extensions saved by C&lt;-X&gt; switches, without a leading dot. See L.
=item B&lt;@EXT&gt;
An array containing the accumulated extensions saved by C&lt;-X&gt; switches, from right to left, without any dots.
The right-most extension is always C&lt;$EXT[0]&gt;, the left-most (if any) is C&lt;$EXT[-1]&gt;.
F takes a list of filenames, runs a list of modification rules against each filename, checks if the result is different from the original filename, and if so, renames the file. The most I way to use it is to pass a line of Perl code as the rule; the most I way is to employ the many switches available to supply rules for common tasks such as stripping extensions.
For example, to strip the extension from all C&lt;.bak&gt; files, you might use either of these command lines:
 rename -x *.bak
 rename 's/\.bak\z//' *
These do not achive their results in exactly the same way: the former only takes the files that match C&lt;*.bak&gt; in the first place, then strips their last extension; the latter takes all files and strips a C&lt;.bak&gt; from the end of those filenames that have it. As another alternative, if you are confident that none of the filenames has C&lt;.bak&gt; anywhere else than at the end, you might instead choose to write the latter approach using the C&lt;-s&gt; switch:
 rename -s .bak '' *
Of course you can do multiple changes in one go:
 rename -s .tgz .tar.gz -s .tbz2 .tar.bz2 *.t?z*
But note that transforms are order sensitive. The following will not do what you probably meant:
 rename -s foo bar -s bar baz *
Because rules are cumulative, this would first substitute F with F; in the resulting filenames, it would then substitute F with F. So in most cases, it would end up substituting F with F E probably not your intention. So you need to consider the order of rules.
If you are unsure that your modification rules will do the right thing, try doing a verbose dry run to check what its results would be. A dry run is requested by passing C&lt;-n&gt;:
 rename -n -s bar baz -s foo bar *
You can combine the various transforms to suit your needs. E.g. files from MicrosoftE WindowsE systems often have blanks and (sometimes nothing but) capital letters in their names. Let's say you have a heap of such files to clean up, I you also want to move them to subdirectories based on extension. The following command will do this for you:
 rename -p -c -z -X -e '$_ = "$EXT/$_" if @EXT' *
Here, C&lt;-p&gt; tells F to create directories if necessary; C&lt;-c&gt; tells it to lower-case the filename; C&lt;-X&gt; remembers the file extension in the C&lt;$EXT&gt; and C&lt;@EXT&gt; variables; and finally, the C&lt;-e&gt; expression uses those to prepend the extension to the filename as a directory, I there is one.
That brings us to the secret weapon in F's arsenal: the C&lt;-X&gt; switch. This is a transform that clips the extension off the filename and stows it away at that point during the application of the rules. After all rules are finished, the remembered extension is appended back onto the filename. (You can use multiple C&lt;-X&gt; switches, and they will accumulate multiple extensions as you would expect.) This allows you to do use simple way for doing many things that would get much trickier if you had to make sure to not affect the extension. E.g.:
 rename -X -c --rews --camelcase --nows *
This will uppercase the first letter of every word in every filename while leaving its extension exactly as before. Or, consider this:
 rename -N ...01 -X -e '$_ = "File-$N"' *
This will throw away all the existing filenames and simply number the files from 1 through however many files there are E except that it will preserve their extensions.
Incidentally, note the C&lt;-N&gt; switch and the C&lt;$N&gt; variable used in the Perl expression. See L and L for documentation.
Using the C&lt;-M&gt; switch, you can quickly put F to use for just about everything the CPAN offers:
=head3 Coarsely latinize a directory full of files with non-Latin characters
 rename -T utf8 -MText::Unidecode '$_ = unidecode $_' *
See L.
=head3 Sort a directory of pictures into monthwise subdirectories
 rename -p -MImage::EXIF '$_ = "$1-$2/$_" if Image::EXIF-&gt;new-&gt;file_name($_)
   -&gt;get_image_info-&gt;{"Image Created"} =~ /(\d\d\d\d):(\d\d)/' *.jpeg
See L.
=head1 SEE ALSO
mv(1), perl(1), find(1), grep(1), sort(1)
=head1 BUGS
None currently known.
=head1 AUTHORS
Aristotle Pagaltzis
Idea, inspiration and original code from Larry Wall and Robin Barker.
This script is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the same terms as Perl itself.

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132 comments… add one
  • Jose Nov 9, 2007 @ 2:01

    Very Good job dude with that examples.. was helpfull thanks

  • tcw Mar 16, 2008 @ 17:25

    The ‘rename’ command seems not working for me.. 🙁

    • kamran in ciit and haji shahid sahab and haji shehriyar Apr 5, 2011 @ 6:58

      “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
      • JOHN Apr 5, 2011 @ 7:01


  • leopinzon May 12, 2008 @ 16:35


    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/"

    • zougi Jan 17, 2012 @ 14:55

      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/" {} ;

  • marco Sep 3, 2008 @ 2:49

    I knew only the crapy mv method, i never thought that linux has a “rename”. 😛 Thanks! 🙂

  • mikoto Sep 10, 2008 @ 9:57

    Wow, thank you!

  • fatma Nov 18, 2008 @ 14:40

    Thanks! Did help a lot!

  • Ankur Feb 6, 2009 @ 9:27

    thanx a ton……its amazing, i though linux dont hav rename……but does.

  • bassam Mar 10, 2009 @ 23:24

    but how i can rename
    thanks again

    • Scott Jul 20, 2011 @ 20:11

      rename “s/foo*/bar/g” *.a

      Renames any file with an .a extension that contains “foo” to “bar” in the directory.

  • Name Mar 11, 2009 @ 20:41

    rename 's/foo/xxx/' foo*.a

  • diepes Mar 19, 2009 @ 21:02

    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.

  • Luka Mar 23, 2009 @ 14:12

    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.)

    • Aarthi Jun 8, 2011 @ 12:11

      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.

    • Kalleguld Oct 12, 2011 @ 15:29

      A little late , but here goes:


      removes everything after the dash and before the .mp3 (dash included)

  • Paul Feakins Mar 24, 2009 @ 11:37

    How about:

    rename ‘s/-*//’ *.mp3

    Hopefully that should remove everything after the first hyphen. It’s a guess though, try it on a small sample first 😉


    • Aarthi Jun 8, 2011 @ 12:10

      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…

      • Zinc Jun 11, 2011 @ 11:23

        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

  • Henry Apr 30, 2009 @ 18:52

    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)

    • 🐧 nixCraft Apr 30, 2009 @ 19:05

      It should work 2.13 was around for sometime and 2.14 is latest. Can paste your example here..

  • Henry Apr 30, 2009 @ 19:17

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

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

    • Owen Feb 1, 2011 @ 17:58


      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.

  • V.Balaviswanathan May 5, 2009 @ 14:11

    Cool one… Thanks a lot… Good job… Keep this good work going 🙂

  • Henry May 29, 2009 @ 17:33

    It seems to be a Debian vs. other distros issue. Debian uses prename, perl rename, which it maps to /usr/bin/rename. I found the source for one version of perl rename online at and using that, my regex above works as desired.

    • Callum Dec 23, 2010 @ 14:18

      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! 🙂

  • newbie Jun 5, 2009 @ 12:41

    how can we rename 100 files in folder
    1 fooo1.txt
    2 fooo2.txt
    3 fooo3.txt

    to :-

  • b0nUx3R Jun 30, 2009 @ 15:15

    I have a lot of .png file with extension “*.png;1” but I want to rename all in time to “*.png” how to do that?

    Thanks 🙂

  • b0nUx3R Jun 30, 2009 @ 15:17

    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

  • Richard Jul 2, 2009 @ 9:02

    abd now his one :





  • Natan Jul 14, 2009 @ 10:02

    so :

    for i in *.txt.gz; do mv $i `echo $i |cut -c1-23,30-55` ; done

  • miguel Jul 18, 2009 @ 11:20

    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..)

  • miguel Jul 18, 2009 @ 11:20

    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..)

  • konstantin Jul 20, 2009 @ 15:17

    hello does somebody knows how to rename the following??



    thanks a lot in advance!!


    • SHARYAR AND KAMRAN Mar 25, 2011 @ 11:41

      for i in *.txt
      mv $i file$j.bak
      j=`expr $j + 1`

  • pir Jul 24, 2009 @ 13:34

    rename ‘s/konstantin/georg/’*

  • JimmyNY Jul 30, 2009 @ 6:03

    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.

    • Sakiwi Oct 7, 2011 @ 12:52

      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

  • pd Aug 4, 2009 @ 0:32

    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.

  • Wonky Sep 2, 2009 @ 21:35

    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

  • sheeep Mar 19, 2010 @ 14:04


  • strAlan Apr 5, 2010 @ 10:54

    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 🙁

  • khedron May 15, 2010 @ 10:27

    strAlan: rename’s probably not the best here, try:

    for file in *; do
    mv "$file" "$file".mp3;
  • jingo Jun 3, 2010 @ 7:30

    cat OPs_taste_in_music > /dev/null

  • vx11 Jul 10, 2010 @ 13:00

    thanks…, good information

  • Tarique Jul 27, 2010 @ 6:52

    Didn’t worked for me. My file name consists spaces 🙁


    Report July 2010.xls

  • gazmanic Aug 26, 2010 @ 5:59

    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

  • gazmanic Aug 26, 2010 @ 7:47

    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.

  • ejoftiduttu Aug 28, 2010 @ 8:16


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

    • 🐧 nixCraft Aug 28, 2010 @ 8:45
      for j in *.jpg; do mv "$j" "$i.jpg" ;(( i++ )); done

      Backup files before running above code.

      • Jake Dec 13, 2010 @ 20:10

        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…..

  • Maarten Sep 2, 2010 @ 8:07

    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.

    • Tarique Sep 5, 2010 @ 4:31

      Adjust this with your script and then try –



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

      Then Run-

      $./ text Text

  • Shang Oct 1, 2010 @ 7:42

    how to rename -file to file?

  • willem19 Nov 4, 2010 @ 12:00


    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?

  • André Nov 22, 2010 @ 14:52

    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

    • willem19 Dec 19, 2010 @ 13:59

      This only removes *.mp3 🙁

  • Jake Dec 13, 2010 @ 20:13

    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…

  • willem19 Dec 19, 2010 @ 14:12

    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 😉

  • shaded Jan 30, 2011 @ 1:42

    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?

  • vogueestylee May 30, 2011 @ 13:34

    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!

    • Muhammad El-Sergani Jun 20, 2011 @ 11:50

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

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

      • vogueestylee Feb 24, 2012 @ 8:43

        thank you, I will try 🙂

  • Muhammad El-Sergani Jun 20, 2011 @ 10:23

    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!!

  • Vijay Jun 30, 2011 @ 9:37

    $ rename .bak .txt *.bak – command worked for me to rename all *.bak to *.txt

    Many Thanks

  • Chary Aug 20, 2011 @ 6:04

    Very Helpful. Thank You 🙂

  • koma931 Aug 26, 2011 @ 9:29

    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.

  • swain Sep 6, 2011 @ 5:44

    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.

  • Gary Sep 6, 2011 @ 16:01

    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!

    • paxpacis Sep 7, 2011 @ 12:58

      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.

  • Gary Sep 12, 2011 @ 18:38

    @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?

  • Lord Jaguar Oct 16, 2011 @ 8:15


    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 !

  • LinuxFTW Nov 25, 2011 @ 6:25

    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

  • Bummer Dec 13, 2011 @ 13:53

    “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 “:”.

  • Nasp Dec 23, 2011 @ 21:03

    Well god points, but how about this :

    rename muiltiple files in subfolders… (.nfo to movie.nfo )

  • praveen Feb 16, 2012 @ 18:50

    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

  • zaphod Mar 13, 2012 @ 17:13

    my trials to rename files from pic_1.jpg pic_2.jpg … to pic_1500.jpg 1501.jpg … failed 🙁

    Hope to get some help

    • sakiwi Mar 13, 2012 @ 20:04

      rename -n ‘s/pic_(d+)/”pic_” . ( $1 + 1500 )/e’ *.jpg

      • zaphod Mar 14, 2012 @ 18:56

        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.


        • sakiwi Mar 14, 2012 @ 19:58

          It works for me, what linux are you using and which version of util-linux are you using? Mine is:
          user@host > lsb_release -a
          No LSB modules are available.
          Distributor ID: Ubuntu
          Description: Ubuntu 10.04.4 LTS
          Release: 10.04
          Codename: lucid
          user@host > 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.

          • zaphod Mar 15, 2012 @ 22:21

            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 !!!

            • sakiwi Mar 15, 2012 @ 22:26

              Glad it is working for you now, and glad I could help.

  • gabby Mar 16, 2012 @ 18:38

    How to add a prefix to original file names..
    eg: moon.jpg –> Pic_moon.jpg
    flowers.jpg –> Pic_flowers.jpg

    • SaKiwi Mar 16, 2012 @ 21:58

      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

  • tony Apr 1, 2012 @ 11:57

    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

    • tony Apr 1, 2012 @ 12:00

      s/in all files/in the names of all files/g


  • Ethan May 29, 2012 @ 5:29

    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

  • Michael May 30, 2012 @ 18:15

    Hi there. Would love some help on this:


    to become…


    Thank you for any suggestions!

  • 🐧 nixCraft May 30, 2012 @ 20:07


     ## first make backup of files ##
    for f in *
     set -- $f
     mv "$1.$2.$3" "$1.$3.$2"
  • sakiwi May 30, 2012 @ 20:59

    rename ‘s/(.*).(.*).(d+)/$1.$3.$2/’ *.[0-9]

  • Cr0t Jun 25, 2012 @ 15:02


    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/$$

  • Ben Altman Jul 19, 2012 @ 16:28

    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.

  • Ralph Eichelberger Sep 12, 2012 @ 14:05

    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
  • dntel Nov 9, 2012 @ 7:44

    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

    • sakiwi Nov 11, 2012 @ 19:39

      rename -v ‘s/.* – .* – (dd) (.*)/$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 “(dd)” as $1 and then a space and then everything else “(.*)”.

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

  • mert Nov 11, 2012 @ 22:58

    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

    • Ben Altman Nov 12, 2012 @ 15:52

      for i in *; do mv $i photo-${i#avatar}; done

    • sakiwi Nov 12, 2012 @ 19:27

      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

      • mert Nov 12, 2012 @ 19:45

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

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

        [root@test tet]# rename –help
        call: rename from to files…

        • sakiwi Nov 12, 2012 @ 19:58

          mert – are you using the “util-linux” rename utility? I am using ubuntu, and this is the details of my “rename” utility:
          clive@dogmatix > which rename
          clive@dogmatix > apt-file search /usr/bin/rename
          ladr4-apps: /usr/bin/renamer
          util-linux: /usr/bin/rename.ul
          clive@dogmatix > 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:
          clive@dogmatix > sudo apt-get install util-linux

  • mert Nov 12, 2012 @ 16:07

    Hello Adam ,

    It functions up to a level
    but it converts the file as photo-XXX_1.gif

    Is there any way to get rid of _1 ?

  • Carry Nov 29, 2012 @ 18:19

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

  • Enshala Apr 26, 2013 @ 15:22

    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.

  • jui Apr 29, 2013 @ 2:28

    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.

  • Kasumi Miyano Jun 25, 2013 @ 14:35

    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.
  • Johnny Jun 26, 2013 @ 7:31

    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.

  • wayne Jul 14, 2013 @ 16:33

    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.

    • ben altman Jul 18, 2013 @ 2:09

      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.

  • mohsen Sep 16, 2013 @ 14:46

    To change all file with ‘php’ format to ‘jpg’ in a folder:

    rename ‘s/.php$/.jpg/’ *.php

  • javi Oct 23, 2013 @ 12:54

    for i in `ls`; do `mv $i $i.orig`; done

  • bala May 14, 2014 @ 6:58

    ls * | while read line; do mv $line $line.txt; done
    will rename all files in that folder to .txt extension

  • harry May 16, 2014 @ 15:12

    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

  • kesavan Jul 21, 2014 @ 10:18

    hw could i rename files in a directory such as s ser sde to 1s 2ser 3sde like tat could u please help me out ?

  • canaillou Aug 25, 2014 @ 12:32

    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

  • Ben Altman Aug 28, 2014 @ 2:52

    for i in F4200*; do mv $i OLD_$i; done

  • MOHANA SUNDARI M K Sep 11, 2014 @ 9:45


    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???

  • Jonathan Nov 5, 2014 @ 17:22

    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.

  • Ankit Feb 16, 2015 @ 17:04


    I want to change:

    Input: changing_colorlow_actual_take000000
    Output: changing_colorlow_expected

    What is the Code for it??

  • Ben Altman Mar 1, 2015 @ 0:39

    Ankit: mv changing_colorlow_actual_take000000 changing_colorlow_expected

  • Bernhard Mar 27, 2015 @ 15:30

    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.

  • black Aug 24, 2015 @ 16:56

    how about
    mv *.{bak,txt}

  • Alessio Sep 2, 2015 @ 3:21

    Hi, sorry, I just moved to Linux.

    what would be the easyest equivalent of

    rename *.pptx *.ppt


  • phuong Nov 28, 2015 @ 7:34

    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!

  • Maria Jan 4, 2016 @ 8:26

    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

  • Leticia Sep 8, 2016 @ 15:35

    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!

  • Nirmal Jul 31, 2017 @ 20:43

    Please help me in renaming below file using bash script.

    Please don’t suggest using “rename” cmd . “rename” cmd not working in my linux server.

    Thank you

  • Nirmal Jul 31, 2017 @ 20:45

    Please help me in renaming below file using bash script.
    I have multiple files in one directory with same format, so i want to rename all like below

    Please don’t suggest using “rename” cmd . “rename” cmd not working in my linux server.

    Thank you

  • Bikram Kishor Rout Dec 2, 2017 @ 4:10

    Kindly help me on the below details.

    i have a file ,named as a_file.20167654 and now i want to rename it as a_file_20167654.txt

    kindly help me on this.

    • 🐧 Vivek Gite Dec 2, 2017 @ 10:37

      For single file just use the mv command:
      mv -v a_file.20167654 a_file_20167654.txt

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