Renaming a group of images is a really useful thing to be able to do quickly. You may want to send several images to a client and not show the generic IMG_1234.jpg file name or you might want to upload a batch of images to a gallery and give each image a consecutive number.
Both these options and many more are available in Adobe Bridge.
To rename a batch of images gather all the files into one folder and open that folder in Bridge.
With version CS4 and above of Bridge you need to select all the images in the main window. You can choose “Select All” from the edit menu but a much quicker option is to press Command+A (Control+A on a PC). Learning keyboard shortcuts is always time well spent.
Once you have selected all your images in Bridge you can choose “Batch Rename” form the Tools menu.
Bridge will remember your last settings in the dialogue box that appears but if this is the first time you have used the batch rename function you will be presented with the default setting.
There are quite a lot of options here and you will only use a few of them most of the time.
For the time being ignore the “Preset” drop down list in the first section of the dialogue box.
The second section offers you a choice of where you want your renamed files to end up. Most of the time you will want to rename the images in the same folder but you could choose to copy or move the renamed files somewhere else. Remember that Bridge will only rename the files that you have selected so you can make a specific selection and move (or copy) those files elsewhere.
Next you have the options for the new file name. The example shown has four different things set but you can remove any option by clicking the minus sign to the right of that option. You can also add new options by clicking the plus sign.
If you click on the drop down list to the left of each option you will see a list of all the things you can do. Most of the options are self explanatory but one or two could use a little explanation
You can give each of you images a unique number in sequence.
You need to put a little thought into this. You have a choice of the number of digits you want to use, so if you have more than 100 images make sure that you use the “Three Digits” option and with more than one thousand images use the “Four Digits” option.
You can see the result of the renaming action in the bottom of the dialogue box, so in this example the images would be called 001.jpg, 002.jpg etc.
You don’t have to start from 1. You can type any number into the box as your starting point. Bridge will also remember the last number you got up to so if you want consecutive numbers in different folders you don’t have to remember the last file name you go to.
You can’t use text on it’s own. If you just used the word “Sample” as the new file name Bridge would throw up an error as soon as it tried to rename the second file. All the files in your folder can’t have the same name!
Text is very useful to give some meaning to your images and can be used in conjunction with the other options.
Here we have used the word “Sample” with a three digit number so that all the images will have a different file name.
Note the underscore “_” after the word sample. It is good practice to have no spaces in your file names. Images used on the web should have no spaces and the best thing to do is separate different words, or words and numbers, with an underscore.
Here is a really useful function in the Batch Rename dialogue.
If you look at the files in the original image some of them are named IMG_1234.jpg and some are renamed IMG_4321 copy.jpg.
When you run an action in photoshop your files can sometimes be saved with the word “copy” in the file name. This can be a bit confusing, particularly if you are sending the images to a client.
The “String Substitution” option will let you remove, or change, certain words or phrases. For those of you who aren’t computer programmers the word “String” means a “text or number”, normally used in a file name.
The “String Substitution” option works very much like the find and replace function in most text editing programmes. Here we want to replace ” copy” with nothing at all. This way the word copy will be removed from any image name in which it occurs. Note that we have put a space in before the word “copy”; this will make sure that there are no unwanted spaces left behind in the file name.
String substitution can be a little tricky and it’s easy to make a mistake. If you are not 100% sure of what you are doing then tick “Preserve current filename in XMP Metadata”. There is no “Undo” option for renaming files so this is a handy way of letting you go back to your original filenames if it all goes horribly wrong!
So if everything has gone horribly wrong and you have mucked up your file renaming somehow how do you go back?
This is covered with the “Previous Filename” option.
Selecting “Previous Filename” will only work if you had “Preserve current filename in XMP Metadata” ticked when you did you last batch rename, so it’s a good idea to keep this option ticked any time you are doing something new or particularly vital!
If you find yourself renaming files in a particular way time and time again you can set up a preset for your renaming favourite options.
First set up the options in the “Batch Rename” that you use frequently.
Once you have everything set correctly click the “Save” button in the top right of the dialogue box, next to the “Preset” drop down list.
Give your preset a sensible name that you will understand in the future and click OK. From now on your preset has been saved and you can call it up from the Preset drop down list any time you like.
These are just some of the options available under the Batch Rename function in Adobe Bridge. It’s a good idea to make a copy of one of your existing folders and try out a few of the options. After a while you will wonder how you ever managed without the Batch Rename function.