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Six Colors

by Jason Snell & Dan Moren

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By Dan Moren

Tip: Simple batch file renames in the Finder

Note: This story has not been updated for several years.

Isn’t it funny how you can use an operating system, day in, day out, for a year or more and not notice certain features?

The other day I had to rename a bunch of screenshots; in the past that would have sent me to a tool like Name Mangler or A Better Finder Rename, but I didn’t happen to have either of these tools installed on the Mac I was using at the time.

On a whim, I selected a bunch of the images and right clicked: imagine my surprise when I saw an option to “Rename 7 files…” Selecting that yielded a dialog box with a variety of simple transforms, including replacing one string in all those filenames with another–exactly what I was looking for. You can also opt to add text to all the file names, or format them all based on certain criteria: by name and index, name and counter, or name and date.

None of this will, of course, match the capabilities of the two aforementioned utilities, which provide all of those features and much, much more.1 But if you’re looking to make quick work of a folder of files without the hassle or expense of installing another app, the Finder’s built-in renaming powers can handle some basic renaming tasks without too much trouble.

  1. Or some mastery of the command line and grep

[Dan Moren is the East Coast Bureau Chief of Six Colors. You can find him on Mastodon at or reach him by email at His latest novel, the supernatural detective story All Souls Lost, is out now.]

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