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Question Detail

There are multiple files in a directory that begin with prefix fgh, for example:

fghfilea
fghfileb
fghfilec

I want to rename all of them to begin with prefix jkl. Is there a single command to do that instead of renaming each file individually?

Question Answer

There are several ways, but using rename will probably be the easiest.

Using one version of rename:

rename 's/^fgh/jkl/' fgh*

Using another version of rename (same as Judy2K’s answer):

rename fgh jkl fgh*

You should check your platform’s man page to see which of the above applies.

This is how sed and mv can be used together to do rename:

for f in fgh*; do mv "$f" $(echo "$f" | sed 's/^fgh/jkl/g'); done

As per comment below, if the file names have spaces in them, quotes may need to surround the sub-function that returns the name to move the files to:

for f in fgh*; do mv "$f" "$(echo $f | sed 's/^fgh/jkl/g')"; done

rename might not be in every system. so if you don’t have it, use the shell
this example in bash shell

for f in fgh*; do mv "$f" "${f/fgh/xxx}";done

Using mmv:

mmv "fgh*" "jkl#1"

There are many ways to do it (not all of these will work on all unixy systems):

  • ls | cut -c4- | xargs -I§ mv fgh§ jkl§

    The § may be replaced by anything you find convenient. You could do this with find -exec too but that behaves subtly different on many systems, so I usually avoid that

  • for f in fgh*; do mv "$f" "${f/fgh/jkl}";done

    Crude but effective as they say

  • rename 's/^fgh/jkl/' fgh*

    Real pretty, but rename is not present on BSD, which is the most common unix system afaik.

  • rename fgh jkl fgh*

  • ls | perl -ne 'chomp; next unless -e; $o = $_; s/fgh/jkl/; next if -e; rename $o, $_';

    If you insist on using Perl, but there is no rename on your system, you can use this monster.

Some of those are a bit convoluted and the list is far from complete, but you will find what you want here for pretty much all unix systems.

rename fgh jkl fgh*

Using find, xargs and sed:

find . -name "fgh*" -type f -print0 | xargs -0 -I {} sh -c 'mv "{}" "$(dirname "{}")/`echo $(basename "{}") | sed 's/^fgh/jkl/g'`"'

It’s more complex than @nik’s solution but it allows to rename files recursively. For instance, the structure,

.
├── fghdir
│   ├── fdhfilea
│   └── fghfilea
├── fghfile\ e
├── fghfilea
├── fghfileb
├── fghfilec
└── other
    ├── fghfile\ e
    ├── fghfilea
    ├── fghfileb
    └── fghfilec

would be transformed to this,

.
├── fghdir
│   ├── fdhfilea
│   └── jklfilea
├── jklfile\ e
├── jklfilea
├── jklfileb
├── jklfilec
└── other
    ├── jklfile\ e
    ├── jklfilea
    ├── jklfileb
    └── jklfilec

The key to make it work with xargs is to invoke the shell from xargs.

To install the Perl rename script:

sudo cpan install File::Rename

There are two renames as mentioned in the comments in Stephan202’s answer.
Debian based distros have the Perl rename. Redhat/rpm distros have the C rename.
OS X doesn’t have one installed by default (at least in 10.8), neither does Windows/Cygwin.

Here’s a way to do it using command-line Groovy:

groovy -e 'new File(".").eachFileMatch(~/fgh.*/) {it.renameTo(it.name.replaceFirst("fgh", "jkl"))}'

Generic command would be

find /path/to/files -name '<search>*' -exec bash -c 'mv $0 ${0/<search>/<replace>}' {} \;

where <search> and <replace> should be replaced with your source and target respectively.

As a more specific example tailored to your problem (should be run from the same folder where your files are), the above command would look like:

find . -name 'gfh*' -exec bash -c 'mv $0 ${0/gfh/jkl}' {} \;

For a “dry run” add echo before mv, so that you’d see what commands are generated:

find . -name 'gfh*' -exec bash -c 'echo mv $0 ${0/gfh/jkl}' {} \;

On Solaris you can try:

for file in `find ./ -name "*TextForRename*"`; do 
    mv -f "$file" "${file/TextForRename/NewText}"
done

#!/bin/sh

#replace all files ended witn .f77 to .f90 in a directory

for filename in *.f77
do 
    #echo $filename
    #b= echo $filename | cut -d. -f1
    #echo $b    
    mv "${filename}" "${filename%.f77}.f90"    
done

This script worked for me for recursive renaming with directories/file names possibly containing white-spaces:

find . -type f -name "*\;*" | while read fname; do
    dirname=`dirname "$fname"`
    filename=`basename "$fname"`
    newname=`echo "$filename" | sed -e "s/;/ /g"`
    mv "${dirname}/$filename" "${dirname}/$newname"
done

Notice the sed expression which in this example replaces all occurrences of ; with space . This should of course be replaced according to the specific needs.

Using StringSolver tools (windows & Linux bash) which process by examples:

filter fghfilea ok fghreport ok notfghfile notok; mv --all --filter fghfilea jklfilea

It first computes a filter based on examples, where the input is the file names and the output (ok and notok, arbitrary strings). If filter had the option –auto or was invoked alone after this command, it would create a folder ok and a folder notok and push files respectively to them.

Then using the filter, the mv command is a semi-automatic move which becomes automatic with the modifier –auto. Using the previous filter thanks to –filter, it finds a mapping from fghfilea to jklfilea and then applies it on all filtered files.


Other one-line solutions

Other equivalent ways of doing the same (each line is equivalent), so you can choose your favorite way of doing it.

filter fghfilea ok fghreport ok notfghfile notok; mv --filter fghfilea jklfilea; mv
filter fghfilea ok fghreport ok notfghfile notok; auto --all --filter fghfilea "mv fghfilea jklfilea"
# Even better, automatically infers the file name
filter fghfilea ok fghreport ok notfghfile notok; auto --all --filter "mv fghfilea jklfilea"

Multi-step solution

To carefully find if the commands are performing well, you can type the following:

filter fghfilea ok
filter fghfileb ok
filter fghfileb notok

and when you are confident that the filter is good, perform the first move:

mv fghfilea jklfilea

If you want to test, and use the previous filter, type:

mv --test --filter

If the transformation is not what you wanted (e.g. even with mv --explain you see that something is wrong), you can type mv --clear to restart moving files, or add more examples mv input1 input2 where input1 and input2 are other examples

When you are confident, just type

mv --filter

and voilà! All the renaming is done using the filter.

DISCLAIMER: I am a co-author of this work made for academic purposes. There might also be a bash-producing feature soon.

It was much easier (on my Mac) to do this in Ruby. Here are 2 examples:

# for your fgh example. renames all files from "fgh..." to "jkl..."
files = Dir['fgh*']

files.each do |f|
  f2 = f.gsub('fgh', 'jkl')
  system("mv #{f} #{f2}")
end

# renames all files in directory from "021roman.rb" to "021_roman.rb"
files = Dir['*rb'].select {|f| f =~ /^[0-9]{3}[a-zA-Z]+/}

files.each do |f|
  f1 = f.clone
  f2 = f.insert(3, '_')
  system("mv #{f1} #{f2}")
end

Using renamer:

$ renamer --find /^fgh/ --replace jkl * --dry-run

Remove the --dry-run flag once you’re happy the output looks correct.

My version of renaming mass files:

for i in *; do
    echo "mv $i $i"
done |
sed -e "s#from_pattern#to_pattern#g” > result1.sh
sh result1.sh

Another possible parameter expansion:

for f in fgh*; do mv -- "$f" "jkl${f:3}"; done

I would recommend using my own script, which solves this problem. It also has options to change the encoding of the file names, and to convert combining diacriticals to precomposed characters, a problem I always have when I copy files from my Mac.

#!/usr/bin/perl

# Copyright (c) 2014 André von Kugland

# Permission is hereby granted, free of charge, to any person obtaining a
# copy of this software and associated documentation files (the "Software"),
# to deal in the Software without restriction, including without limitation
# the rights to use, copy, modify, merge, publish, distribute, sublicense,
# and/or sell copies of the Software, and to permit persons to whom the
# Software is furnished to do so, subject to the following conditions:

# The above copyright notice and this permission notice shall be included in
# all copies or substantial portions of the Software.

# THE SOFTWARE IS PROVIDED "AS IS", WITHOUT WARRANTY OF ANY KIND, EXPRESS OR
# IMPLIED, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO THE WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY,
# FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE AND NONINFRINGEMENT. IN NO EVENT SHALL THE
# AUTHORS OR COPYRIGHT HOLDERS BE LIABLE FOR ANY CLAIM, DAMAGES OR OTHER
# LIABILITY, WHETHER IN AN ACTION OF CONTRACT, TORT OR OTHERWISE, ARISING
# FROM, OUT OF OR IN CONNECTION WITH THE SOFTWARE OR THE USE OR OTHER
# DEALINGS IN THE SOFTWARE.

$help_msg =
"rename.pl, a script to rename files in batches, using Perl
           expressions to transform their names.
Usage:
    rename.pl [options] FILE1 [FILE2 ...]
Where options can be:
    -v                      Verbose.
    -vv                     Very verbose.
    --apply                 Really apply modifications.
    -e PERLCODE             Execute PERLCODE. (e.g. 's/a/b/g')
    --from-charset=CS       Source charset. (e.g. \"iso-8859-1\")
    --to-charset=CS         Destination charset. (e.g. \"utf-8\")
    --unicode-normalize=NF  Unicode normalization form. (e.g. \"KD\")
    --basename              Modifies only the last element of the path.
";

use Encode;
use Getopt::Long;
use Unicode::Normalize 'normalize';
use File::Basename;
use I18N::Langinfo qw(langinfo CODESET);

Getopt::Long::Configure ("bundling");

# ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- #
#                                           Our variables.                                        #
# ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- #

my $apply = 0;
my $verbose = 0;
my $help = 0;
my $debug = 0;
my $basename = 0;
my $unicode_normalize = "";
my @scripts;
my $from_charset = "";
my $to_charset = "";
my $codeset = "";

# ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- #
#                                        Get cmdline options.                                     #
# ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- #

$result = GetOptions ("apply" => \$apply,
                      "verbose|v+" => \$verbose,
                      "execute|e=s" => \@scripts,
                      "from-charset=s" => \$from_charset,
                      "to-charset=s" => \$to_charset,
                      "unicode-normalize=s" => \$unicode_normalize,
                      "basename" => \$basename,
                      "help|h|?" => \$help,
                      "debug" => \$debug);

# If not going to apply, then be verbose.
if (!$apply && $verbose == 0) {
  $verbose = 1;
}

if ((($#scripts == -1)
  && (($from_charset eq "") || ($to_charset eq ""))
  && $unicode_normalize eq "")
  || ($#ARGV == -1) || ($help)) {
  print $help_msg;
  exit(0);
}

if (($to_charset ne "" && $from_charset eq "")
  ||($from_charset eq "" && $to_charset ne "")
  ||($to_charset eq "" && $from_charset eq "" && $unicode_normalize ne "")) {
  $codeset = langinfo(CODESET);
  $to_charset = $codeset if $from_charset ne "" && $to_charset eq "";
  $from_charset = $codeset if $from_charset eq "" && $to_charset ne "";
}

# ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- #
#         Composes the filter function using the @scripts array and possibly other options.       #
# ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- #

$f = "sub filterfunc() {\n    my \$s = shift;\n";
$f .= "    my \$d = dirname(\$s);\n    my \$s = basename(\$s);\n" if ($basename != 0);
$f .= "    for (\$s) {\n";
$f .= "        $_;\n" foreach (@scripts);   # Get scripts from '-e' opt. #
# Handle charset translation and normalization.
if (($from_charset ne "") && ($to_charset ne "")) {
  if ($unicode_normalize eq "") {
    $f .= "        \$_ = encode(\"$to_charset\", decode(\"$from_charset\", \$_));\n";
  } else {
    $f .= "        \$_ = encode(\"$to_charset\", normalize(\"$unicode_normalize\", decode(\"$from_charset\", \$_)));\n"
  }
} elsif (($from_charset ne "") || ($to_charset ne "")) {
    die "You can't use `from-charset' nor `to-charset' alone";
} elsif ($unicode_normalize ne "") {
  $f .= "        \$_ = encode(\"$codeset\", normalize(\"$unicode_normalize\", decode(\"$codeset\", \$_)));\n"
}
$f .= "    }\n";
$f .= "    \$s = \$d . '/' . \$s;\n" if ($basename != 0);
$f .= "    return \$s;\n}\n";
print "Generated function:\n\n$f" if ($debug);

# ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- #
#                 Evaluates the filter function body, so to define it in our scope.               #
# ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- #

eval $f;

# ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- #
#                  Main loop, which passes names through filters and renames files.               #
# ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- #

foreach (@ARGV) {
  $old_name = $_;
  $new_name = filterfunc($_);

  if ($old_name ne $new_name) {
    if (!$apply or (rename $old_name, $new_name)) {
      print "`$old_name' => `$new_name'\n" if ($verbose);
    } else {
      print "Cannot rename `$old_name' to `$new_name'.\n";
    }
  } else {
    print "`$old_name' unchanged.\n" if ($verbose > 1);
  }
}

This worked for me using regexp:

I wanted files to be renamed like this:

file0001.txt -> 1.txt
ofile0002.txt -> 2.txt 
f_i_l_e0003.txt -> 3.txt

usig the [a-z|_]+0*([0-9]+.) regexp where ([0-9]+.) is a group substring to use on the rename command

ls -1 | awk 'match($0, /[a-z|\_]+0*([0-9]+.*)/, arr) { print   arr[0]  " "  arr[1] }'|xargs  -l mv

Produces:

mv file0001.txt 1.txt
mv ofile0002.txt 2.txt
mv f_i_l_e0003.txt 3.txt

Another example:

file001abc.txt -> abc1.txt
ofile0002abcd.txt -> abcd2.txt 

ls -1 | awk 'match($0, /[a-z|\_]+0*([0-9]+.*)([a-z]+)/, arr) { print   arr[0]  " "  arr[2] arr[1] }'|xargs  -l mv

Produces:

  mv file001abc.txt abc1.txt
  mv ofile0002abcd.txt abcd2.txt 

Warning, be careful.

I wrote this script to search for all .mkv files recursively renaming found files to .avi. You can customize it to your neeeds. I’ve added some other things such as getting file directory, extension, file name from a file path just incase you need to refer to something in the future.

find . -type f -name "*.mkv" | while read fp; do 
fd=$(dirname "${fp}");
fn=$(basename "${fp}");
ext="${fn##*.}";
f="${fn%.*}";
new_fp="${fd}/${f}.avi"
mv -v "$fp" "$new_fp" 
done;

A generic script to run a sed expression on a list of files (combines the sed solution with the rename solution):

#!/bin/sh

e=$1
shift

for f in $*; do
    fNew=$(echo "$f" | sed "$e")
    mv "$f" "$fNew";
done

Invoke by passing the script a sed expression, and then any list of files, just like a version of rename:

script.sh 's/^fgh/jkl/' fgh*

You can also use below script. it is very easy to run on terminal…

//Rename multiple files at a time

for file in  FILE_NAME*
do
    mv -i "${file}" "${file/FILE_NAME/RENAMED_FILE_NAME}"
done

Example:-

for file in  hello*
do
    mv -i "${file}" "${file/hello/JAISHREE}"
done

This is an extended version of the find + sed + xargs solution.

Original solutions: this and this.

Requirements: search, prune, regex, rename

  1. I want to rename multiple files in many folders.
  2. Some folders should be pruned/excluded.
  3. I am on cygwin and cannot get perl rename to work, which is required for the most popular solution (and I assume it to be slow, since it does not seem to have a pruning option?)

Solution

  1. Use find to get files effectively (with pruning), and with many customization options.
  2. Use sed for regex replacement.
  3. Use xargs to funnel the result into the final command.

Example 1: rename *.js files but ignore node_modules

This example finds files and echos the found file and the renamed file. For safety reasons, it does not move anything for now. You have to replace echo with mv for that.

set -x # stop on error
set -e # verbose mode (echo all commands)

find "." -type f -not \( -path "**/node_modules/**" -prune \) -name "*.js" | 
  sed -nE "s/(.*)\/my(.*)/& \1\/YOUR\2/p" |
  xargs -n 2 echo  # echo first (replace with `mv` later)

The above script turns this:

./x/y/my-abc.js

Into this:

./x/y/YOUR-abc.js

Breakdown of Solution

  1. find "." -type f -not \( -path "**/node_modules/**" -prune \) -name "*.js"
    • Searches for files (-type f).
    • The -not part excludes (and, importantly does not traverse!) the (notoriously ginormous) node_modules folder.
    • File name must match "*.js".
    • You can add more include and exclude clauses.
    • Refs:
      • This post discusses recursive file finding alternatives.
      • This post discusses aspects of pruning and excluding.
      • man find
  2. sed -nE "s/(.*)\/my\-(.*\.js)/& \1\/YOUR-\2/p"
    • NOTE: sed always takes some getting used to.
    • -E enables “extended” (i.e. more modern) regex syntax.
    • -n is used in combination with the trailing /p flag: -n hides all results, while /p will print only matching results. This way, we only see/move files that need changing, and ignore all others.
    • Replacement regex with sed (and other regex tools) is always of the format: s/regex/replacement/FLAGS
    • In replacement, the & represents the matched input string. This will be the first argument to mv.
    • Refs:
      • linux regex tutorial
      • man sed
  3. xargs -n 2 echo
    • Run the command echo with (the first two strings of) the replaced string.
    • Refs: man xargs

Good luck!

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