Mac to Windows - Workflow Enhancements: Batch Renaming

Mac to Windows - Workflow Enhancements: Batch Renaming

In my switch from Mac to Windows, most things have worked smoothly while running Windows 10. I have always been very much into all the fine nuances and details of any workflow or program you are working within and I am a huge ambassador for really learning all the small details that can make your life easier and more efficient.

One of my favorite things about the Mac was all the small little apps that folks would help my workflow. Renaming files is a huge deal in my workflow - nobody likes the default DSC_XXXX filenames that come from your camera. And yes, you can change the 3-digit prefix in camera, but still, sometimes a different numbering structure is best. My favorite way to do it was an app called A Better Finder Rename. The great news? There's a version for Windows!

Powerful Renaming

More than Bridge's sequential numbering batch rename, Better File Rename offers some serious levels of customization. 

Just like in the Mac version, we are given powerful features like text, case conversion, truncation and more, including regular expression substitution. 

The interface is easy, just drag and drop your files onto the renaming window and you are given a live preview of what the file names will be when you confirm the task. Tag-based renaming even allows you to tap into file metadata and use values in your new renaming. Possibilities for that include bit depth, pixel dimensions, video frame rate and so forth.

To even further enhance the power of this program, is to create a droplet/preset. Once you define how you want to change your filenames, you can save a droplet that can run silently. Just drop your images onto the applet, and the task is done. I highly recommend this, as it keeps a level of consistency within your various sessions. Which for someone who embraces my OCD moments is a very welcomed thing. Consistency and organization is never a bad thing when we deal with the number of files that a photographer does.

There's no risk here, give the free trial a bash and I know you'll be incredibly pleased with this tool you may not have known existed but now you won't ever want to be without. It's definitely one of my favorite tools.

Check out the free trial on the official website.

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I'm able to name the image files whatever I want upon import with Capture One, and I think that's possible in Lightroom if I recall. Seems easier than having to go back and rename them afterward, which Capture One can handle as well. What image software are you using that can't do this?

If Bill Larkin is anything like me, he'd rather have everything renamed prior to culling and importing. That requires a tool external to Capture One, Lightroom, or Bridge. Also I don't think those programs are capable of as much customization as dedicated renaming software. :)

Capture One does allow quite a bit of customization, but I've never tried dedicated software to compare. What's the advantage with renaming prior to importing when the files still need to be imported? For me it's one step to copy/import from the card while using whatever customizable recipe I choose for naming, creating folders, etc. Not arguing, just curious at to why you prefer it as a separate process.

I think any advantages will be a product of your individual process. I often end up with some video clips mixed in with my photos, and those clips will have a different destination (not Lightroom). I still want those files to get the same renaming treatment, though.

When I import, I opt to have backups copied over to a local file server. While renaming during that process is something Lightroom can certainly do, those files aren't added to the catalog and any post-import name changes wouldn't apply to that remote location. If I wanted that synchronized, external software would be better.

Renaming after export is another situation where external software can be useful.

I've also found it useful when dealing with simple GoPro time-lapse clips. With the camera I have, the sequence naming is just odd enough that the 'clip from series' import option in Adobe Premiere just doesn't understand it. Having the external software lets me rename the whole series with a supportable numbering sequence.

Anyways, maybe you'll never need it, but now you know some of what it can do and where to get it. :)

Makes sense, especially for your workflow, though probably not for mine. [cue "Different Strokes" theme song] Thanks for the explanation.

Ant Renamer has been my go-to bulk renamer for several years, and is free + open source. I think the only feature Better File Rename may have an edge with is the Droplets option. Either way, bulk rename software is something I can't live without these days.

Yes, I also use Ant Renamer if I need to do something like this. +1 for Open Source Software!

Another infomercial/article...

Scott Spellman's picture

I find the Lightroom Export tool to have a very flexible rename function so you can export and rename into a new folder with maximum efficiency all at one time. I just keep the original files from the shoot in a folder completely untouched and export selected final photos only into another folder with the exposure adjustments, white balance, dimensions, color space, and name all at once. I don't see any reason to rename before the export process.

A Better Finder Rename is a good tool, but the Mac Finder has had built in batch renaming since Leopard, and works very well for handling batch renaming of photos before import.

I used to use ABFR a lot, mainly for its droplets and also because of its recipe format. Having a lot of variable naming structures at the same time was a real nightmare before I started using it. This was in the processing of thousands of images from several photographers at one time, so perhaps a bit more niche than some users.

Something about macOS Security -

david squire's picture

i don't get ur comment... is it an insinuation that the application(s) is/are vulnerable somehow? maybe calling out the irony the author was able to use "bash" in his article? or maybe even further out there, some sort of subliminal suggestion to folks to create their own script for batch renaming and maybe (i'm not sure if it's possible; i'm new to the mac world) just maybe write against ExifData? not trying to harsh ur fstoppers experience whatsoever; i seriously don't get ur comment though.

Actually it was more general about the Windows vs. macOS case. Usually one of the most used arguments was security. It seems now that Windows is, to the least, as secure as the alternatives.

david squire's picture

oic; yeah, i was like, "seems a little outta context" haha... yeah, that "great debate", haha. to this date there's still a "great debate" around the chevy and ford o.g.'s. haha but yeah, i read that entire page and even google'd that dude (i forget his name...), but uh... good link though, right on.