One of the most painstaking jobs there is to do with a computer is to change a large number of file names. You’ve all seen it, when images are downloaded directly from a digital camera to your computer, they arrive with names like:
What that probably means is that the model of the camera is the DPH1280, that you took the picture on 2008-03-21 (March 21, 2008), and that the picture was number 45 in the sequence of photographs you took that day.
Now, that may tell you exactly what you need to know about when the picture was taken, but I think it’s safe to say that if you were given that file title, you likely wouldn’t remember exactly which picture you took at exactly that moment.
Something like this would probably be a little better:
Now, it sure doesn’t tell you exactly what was going on in that picture (were presents being opened? was ice cream being served? was pin the tale on the donkey being played?), but it’s still a lot more descriptive than the first.
Now, if that was the only image you needed to change (for emailing to Grandma), then it’s not so bad. But imagine having to change every single image title. Talk about a pain!
Thankfully, a free program for Mac OSX called NameChanger exists.
NameChanger, as you might have guessed (clever name, right?), was written solely for the purpose of changing file names, and I have to say, it does it very well.
Since many of the file names you’ll ever find yourself needing to change are very consistent (either you downloaded a bunch of MP3 files that are all similarly named, or else images, as discussed above, changing them can easily be accomplished in one easy step.
For instance, as you can see in the screen shot, I had 12 images, all named quite similarly, except for the last bit. I wanted to replace the first part with something more descriptive (like “Birthday_Party”), so all I did was have NameChanger search the files for the string of letters/numbers I wanted to replace, and switch it with what I wanted to use instead. That’s it; I’m done! Now just save the changes, and get back to using the files.
Of course, that’s an easy example. Sometimes you have more difficult changes to accomplish, and NameChanger can help there as well. A quick glance at the program’s feature page shows NameChanger can do the following:
Replace the first occurrence of a string of letters or numbers
Replace the last occurrence of a string of letters or numbers
Replace all occurrences of a string of letters or numbers
Append new text to the end of a file name
Prepend text to the begging of a file name
Add the date to a file name
Put images and other files in sequence
Remove particular characters from a file name
As you’re entering the text you’re searching for and the text you want to switch it to, you’ll see those changes applied immediately in the NameChanger window. Don’t worry, though, no changes are final until you hit the Rename button in the toolbar. Until you hit that, all changes can be wiped clear without affecting anything.
All in all, I think NameChanger is a really nice program. It certainly has a lot more features than I’d ever use, but it’s nice to know they’re available, just in case. If this is something you think you might need, head on over to the NameChanger home page. NameChanger is free software, but if you feel like contributing, a box on the website mentions that donations are always happily accepted.