An ever-growing cheatsheet for rename. I add things that I think are useful but difficult to unearth or understand.

General resources that I find helpful for rename:


  1. Install rename
  2. Batch renaming files

This macOS Terminal utility is based off the Perl script of the same name. Refer to Perl documentation if you get stuck.

This cheatsheet is a work-in-progress. I’m still new to rename, so some things might be off.

Install rename

You can install rename with Homebrew:

brew install rename

Batch rename files

Use -N or --counter-format Here’s how to set to zero-padded to three digits:

rename --counter-format 001 *.jpg
rename --counter-format 000001 --lower-case --keep-extension --expr='$_ = "$N" if @EXT' *

Problematic as it reads step-11.jpg before step-2.jpg.

Preview changes

Passing -n (or --dry-run or --just-print) will just show the changes in Terminal without applying them to the actual files.

rename -n # rest of command to preview

I use it almost every time I use rename; first running the desired command with -n (and usually fixing one or two things) and then, when I’m happy, running the real thing without -n.