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5. Batch renaming multiple files

From: Bridge: 10 Things Designers Need to Know

Video: 5. Batch renaming multiple files

Is there anything more tedious than having to rename thousands of computer files? Well, there probably is, but it's got to be up there in the top 10. If you go to Google, as I have done here, and enter batch rename, you can see that there are about 524,000 hits of different programs or tips and techniques that will help you rename series of pictures, rename files. So batch renaming is when you need to quickly rename hundreds of files and Bridge has a Batch Rename feature built right in. So let's take a look.

5. Batch renaming multiple files

Is there anything more tedious than having to rename thousands of computer files? Well, there probably is, but it's got to be up there in the top 10. If you go to Google, as I have done here, and enter batch rename, you can see that there are about 524,000 hits of different programs or tips and techniques that will help you rename series of pictures, rename files. So batch renaming is when you need to quickly rename hundreds of files and Bridge has a Batch Rename feature built right in. So let's take a look.

Let's switch over to Bridge and we are looking inside a folder of pictures of some snaps that I took when I was visiting a client and I really liked the architecture. It's a famous Chicago building, but you can see that my digital camera added the date that I took the picture to each one and I would rather it say like you know elevator on the inside, interior, skylight and so on. Now you can easily rename any file folder or any file in Bridge simply by selecting it in the Content pane and then clicking once on a name field. As you can see that the name automatically gets highlighted but it leaves the extension alone which is perfect. So I could call this interior1 and then to rename the next one, just press the Tab key and it jumps over to the next picture in the list and I will call this interior2.

And the reason by the way that it's resorting is because currently I am sorting by filename at this point, as you can see, over here it's Sorted by Filename, so if I don't like it, I would just leave it at Manually and so I can call this interior corner and press Tab and then the pictures don't jump around a lot, skylight and so on. When I rename files here in Bridge; interior offices, I always remember this one guy who was so upset because he said that he renamed hundreds of files in Bridge and then when he went to Windows Explorer, he found that they were renamed there too.

If I right-click on this and I choose Reveal in Finder because right now, I am in the Mac, you can see that yes it actually renamed them in the Finder and that is a feature not a bug. People need to be clear that whatever you do in Bridge is done to the file on your computer. It's not in a special location, you are not working on a special kind of file, you are working on the actual file itself. So that is a feature, it's also a strength to the program and something to be aware of. But what if you were confronted with say a folder that had many more pictures than those 10 or 12 there, like say I don't know here, there is a whole pile of them from Lynda.com that I took one time when I was on site recording, some from some of the people who worked there, somebody outside of the office, some of the view from my hotel and the restaurants that we went to.

What if I wanted to rename all these with something just like say Lynda.com and then some kind of sequence number? I don't need to really named every individual photo interior, bathroom, outside view, but I do want to give that the name Lynda, so that when I do a search for Lynda, I will come across these. Well that's when you would use Batch Rename. Now Batch Rename is available right from here, from the Tools menu, choose Batch Rename and it has also got a keyboard shortcut and Batch Rename will affect all the files that are currently being shown in the Content panel, if you didn't leave any selected. So you can see at the bottom of the Batch Rename dialog box, it says 56 files will be renamed, that so many are in here.

If I canceled here and I selected just one and then went to Batch Rename and I have done this so many times and I think, I am going to rename everything I am looking at, but actually it's only going to work on one, because I have selected one, right. So I am going to click Cancel and then press Command+A or Ctrl+A to Select All or go backwards a level and then go forward to that level again, so that nothing is selected. In other words, everything is selected in the language of Bridge. We go back up to Batch Rename, double check that it's going to rename all these files and now your choices are, do you want to rename these exact files as though you would manually rename them like how I just showed you or do you want to put the renamed files in a different folder either move them to different folder or copy to another folder.

So imagine a scenario where you have a folder full of images say from a photo shoot and 30 of them are from a particular model, so you select those 30 images; maybe those 30 images after you rename them you want to move to different folder and then you are left with the 70 or so that you still have to rename of the other models. So there are different reasons why you choose one of these. I am just going to actually rename them in the same folder. And then this little part is confusing to a lot of people but actually it's pretty neat. This is just starting out with how do you want to rename the file and it shows you an example.

Currently, there is a file here called 20090105_0044.JPG, this one that I took in the horrible fluorescent lights and if I go according to these settings, that file will be named project and then it's going to have the date and 001.JPG. So I would rather rename this Lynda not project, so in the text field I am typing Lynda and I don't care about the date or time that it was created so I am going remove that and the underscore is fine and then the Sequence Number, I am just going to say two digits. So you can see Lynda_01.

Now you can always add more, like if I want to add another field here, I could say text and then keep the Current Filename and when I say Current Filename do I mean the Extension as well or just the name, and do I want to keep the Original Case or just Upper Case or Lower Case. So you see there is a lot of things you can play with here and I encourage you to take some time and experiment. But normally I just want to do something really simple like this Lynda_01, maybe I want to add the year. I think, I will add year. So I am going to say, instead of trying figure out like from Date and Time, I will just say Text and I will say the year, I am going to say a -2009.

And then you see immediately how it's going to be renamed. If for some reason, you need to preserve the current filename in the metadata for the file, you can turn that on, I usually just leave this off and then just click Rename. Bam! Was that fast enough for you? Now you should know that you cannot undo this. Once it's renamed, you can't undo it. So if you accidentally screw it up and you choose Undo Rename, nothing happens. Alright, so don't rely on being able to undo or redo when you do a batch rename.

One more little tip I want to tell you about with renaming is people often want to rename them in a certain order. For example, let me see in this folder and I will sort it by filename. I have three images from when I visited a client. Now let's say that I want the middle one to be sequence number 1 and this one number 2 and this one number 3. There is no way that I can say name the second picture 1 and then the other one 2. Instead Bridge is going to rename them according to the Sort Order that it's looking at in the content.

So before you go to Batch Rename, sort them according to how you want it. If you want to rename them with Sequence Numbers, chronologically speaking, then you need to sort them chronologically speaking, before you go to Batch Rename. If you want a specific sort order that you can't get with any of these automatic sort orders, then you need to sort it manually. So for example, I could just drag-and-drop this guy over to the left and then Bridge automatically says Sort Manually kind of like a custom setting and it remembers this sort by the way. If I go back to Pictures and then go back to Penn State, it remembers that sort. And so now if I went like this and then deselect it all and then went to Batch Rename and say, let's call this PennState and we want to start with Sequence 01. Sometimes you are going to do a Sequence up to like 56 pictures, like I did before and it thinks now I want to start with number 57, so that was a feature not a bug, that it's at 57.

I am going to add one more dash here; I wish that I had done that last time too. Now I will just say Rename and you'll see the picture that I wanted to be number 1, it kept it in the first position, because it just went according to the sorting. So that's a couple of little tips for doing Batch Renaming and just manual renaming in Adobe Bridge CS4. It's not the most powerful renaming utility in the world, but it does come in very handy when you are working with lots of images that came from digital cameras, or that were downloaded from a stock photography site and it's probably one of the most frequently accessed commands in Bridge.

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Bridge: 10 Things Designers Need to Know

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Anne-Marie Concepción
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