I recently ran into the situation on my Mac where I needed to rename a large number of files. I’d downloaded a collection of photographs, but found that many of them were named incorrectly, and although all the photographs were from the same general time, they were given completely different names.
Now, you’d never know it by looking around my apartment, but deep down inside, I’m a fairly organized person. So this misnaming and hodge podge of naming schemes bothered me. But I wasn’t insane enough to want to go through each of the more than 100 photos and rename them all by hand.
At the same time, I have quite a bit of music on my hard drive, all organized into folders by Artist and then by Album. It’s nice for organization, and most of the time it works great. Sometimes, however, I don’t want to just listen to a single song. I want to listen to a whole album, but I don’t want to use iTunes. I want something smaller. Apple’s Quicktime Player can play playlists (m3u, for instance), but there’s no built-in way of creating those.
Enter a simple, free utility for Mac called File List that takes care of both my problems! File List is all about manipulating lists of files, for lack of a better definition. Got a bunch of files you want to name sequentially? File List can do that. Want to perform search and replace functions on file names? File List can do that. Want to create playlists from all your favorite MP3s? File List can do that as well.
To use File List, simply double-click on its icon to open the program, or drag a folder full of files onto the icon, or onto the open window. You can also highlight a number of files in the Finder, open File List, and then tell File List to start working with the selected files. This also works with the Finder replacement called Path Finder, as well.
Once you’ve selected your files, you’ll want to perform actions on them… modify them, if you will. File List has quite a few options for you. Including the aforementioned options, you can also batch change the case of your items, set the extension (MP3, TIF, JPG, DOC), to something else. You can use regular expressions as well, along with having File List ignore, or pay attention to, the case of the letters. As you’re making your changes, Files List shows you a list of what the new file names will look like, along with how many of your files will be affected.
As I mentioned, File List can also be used to create playlists from music files, just as easily as it can change file names. To make a playlist, again simply drag the files into File List. From there, you have options as to what type of playlist to design (ASX, M3U, SMIL… among others), as well as whether to create a Playlist or a Playtainer. A playlist simply points to the music files, while a playtainer either copies the files or moves them. To be honest, I’ve not found much use for the Playtainer format, since I keep all my music together and don’t need a second copy, but there you are.
Probably the best feature about File List, in all honesty, is its ability to create droplets. Let’s say you have a batch of files that you’ve tweaked until they’re just perfect. That’s all well and good, but what about later, when you’ll have to do the exact same routine to perfect a second group of files? Simply save what you did to batch one as a droplet, and when you’re ready to modify batch two, drag them onto the droplet, and all you’ll need to do is okay the changes. Awesome.
As I mentioned, File List is a free utility from the same developer who brought you Butler (a file launcher) and yFlicks (it’s like iTunes for your videos), along with Desktop Curtain (hide your cluttered desktop) and Witch (a cool application switcher). I can’t say enough about the applications put out by Many Tricks Software, but suffice it to say, they’re great. If you’d like to try out File List, head on over to Many Tricks and give it a try. You’ll be glad you did!