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I work at a printing company and we are constantly copying/repeating previous job folders containing multiple files that begin with a job number. We go through the filenames manually and update the numbers by just copy/pasting. Just wondering if there is a solution of some kind available to automate this process?

EXAMPLE

We use a simple file system e.g. a folder named "41777 Co. Name – (Business Cards)" which contains usually about 5 files with the same name, having just some simple variations, e.g. "41777 Co. Name – (Business Cards) PROOF" or "41777 Co. Name – (Business Cards) PLATE", etc. For a lot of jobs, we simply copy the folder and then manually update the number for the folder and files.

Since we do this every day, many times, I was just wondering if there is any way to somehow only once enter the new number and have the files automatically update with that number.

  • 1
    You could use a bash script or automator, but as your question is written, it's quite difficult to discern exactly what your requirements are. Can you elaborate on exactly what you are trying to accomplish? – Allan Mar 21 '17 at 19:39
  • @alxmntrvl Could you give a few examples? – Cullub Mar 21 '17 at 19:51
  • Sorry about that – basically we use a simple file system e.g. a folder named "41777 Co. Name – (Business Cards)" which contains usually about 5 files with the same name, having just some simple variations, e.g. "41777 Co. Name – (Business Cards) PROOF" or "41777 Co. Name – (Business Cards) PLATE", etc. For a lot of jobs, we simply copy the folder and then manually update the number for the folder and files. But since we do this every day, many times, I was just wondering if there is any way to somehow only once enter the new number and have the files automatically update with that number. – Alex Monterville Mar 21 '17 at 20:01
  • @alxmntrvl I've edited your question to include the example you gave in the above comment. For future reference, you can use the edit link below the question to add more details to your question. – Monomeeth Mar 22 '17 at 3:42
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There are a number of ways you could do this. Below I explain two possibilities.

Do this natively within the Finder

You don't specify what version of macOS you're running. But a feature that was first introduced in Mac OS X Yosemite will do exactly what you need. To use this feature you would use the following basic steps:

  1. Copy the folder named "41777 Co. Name – (Business Cards)" and rename it to "52888 Co. Name – (Business Cards)"
  2. Open the "52888 Co. Name – (Business Cards)" folder
  3. Select all five files within the folder
  4. Right-click on the files
  5. Select the Rename 5 items... option from the context menu that appears (obviously, the '5' will be whatever number of files you selected at Step 3)
  6. Select the Replace Text option from the drop-down menu in the window that appears
  7. In the Find field, enter 41777
  8. In the Replace field enter 52888
  9. Click on Rename

Note: You may want to also check out the Add Text and Format options to explore the other possibilities.

A Better Finder Rename

If you're looking for much more advanced options, or are still using an older version of macOS, then A Better Finder Rename is an option worthy of consideration.

This software provides a huge range of renaming options - too many to cover here - but it's been a well supported package for at least ten years now. You can also download a free trial (assuming you have Mac OS X Lion or above).

Other native options

Mac OS also provides AppleScript, Automator and Terminal, all of which could be used to batch rename files in the manner you want. Since it's most likely that you'll be able to use the Finder option, and because using AppleScript, Automator and/or Terminal is a bit more involved, I won't go into any detail here.

However, should you wish to have more info on these options instead, let me know and I'll update my answer.

  • Thank you – A Better Finder Rename seems perfect, can't believe I never heard of it. Which of the 3 other options would you say is the most user-friendly? I know some of the basics of all 3 but haven't used them much, but have used Automator the most. Batch rename right in Finder also does the trick, exactly what I wanted. – Alex Monterville Mar 22 '17 at 14:29

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