Renaming with File Lists
You can rename files based on names contained in a special "file list" file by selecting "Rename from file list" from the "Action:" popup menu.
This feature can be useful if you need to import names from a third-party application, such as a spreadsheet or database or when you want to create the names in an unusual manner.
You can use "file list" files in two different formats:
Mac OS X's built-in text editor called "TextEdit" is capable of working with plain text, but you will need to set it up appropriately to save "UTF8 plain text"
The simple file list format
You simply create a text file with a plain text editor (see above for some popular ones) as in the example below:
Each line in the file list corresponds to a new file name.
Tab-delimited file list format
This format, also known as tab-separated text, can be manipulated by many commercial applications including:
A Better Finder Rename requires two columns:
Both columns are separated by a tab character and each line is terminated by a carriage return and/or new line character.
A Better Finder Rename changes the name of the file specified by the full path to the new name specified in the second column.
Make sure that you put the absolute file path to the file or folder you want to rename into the first column in POSIX format. An absolute file path describes how you get from the "root" of the file system to an individual file or folder. Every file and folder has a unique absolute file path.
Understanding file paths is essential to getting this feature to work, so you might want to find out more about them at wikipedia.
The second column needs to have only the new file name in it; not a path!
You can create the file list by hand or you can let A Better Finder Rename help you with the task by using the "Save File List" feature.
Starting from version 7.5 an additional checkbox allows the case of the path name to be ignored (e.g. "/Users/smith/" = "/users/smith/") for use with case insensitive file systems.
Important! There is one entirely unintuitive detail about how Mac OS X handles POSIX file names on the default HFS+ file system that you need to know about.
Because POSIX uses the forward slash "/" as the path separator and HFS+ uses the colon ":" for the same purpose, Mac OS X does some "clever" translation between both symbols.
Say you have a file called "My file name with a /", in the POSIX part, the slash will be replaced by a colon:
In other words, forward slashes must be replaced by a colon in the POSIX path, but they are fine in the "new name" part. You may not however have any colons in the new name.
Working with file lists
You import the file list into A Better Finder Rename by opening it with the "Browse..." button in the "Parameter" section of the "Rename from file list" action.
If you use a simple file list, A Better Finder Rename will assign each selected file its new name based on the order of the selected files. It is therefore a good idea to create your file list in the same order as the files you want to rename appear in the Preview list.
Tab-delimited file lists assign the names in the second column of the file list to the files identified by POSIX file path in the first column. The sorting order is thus not important.
You can reload the data in the currently selected file list by clicking the "Reload" button.
Tab-delimited usage example
Step 1: Create a list file
We now have a "skeleton" file list file in the proper format
Step 2: Make changes to the list file
In this example, we will use the BBEdit Lite text editor to make changes to the file list.
Step 3: Apply changes using A Better Finder Rename
You can now see the old and the new file names from your file list.
Editing tab-delimited files in Microsoft Excel
You can now edit the file in Microsoft Excel within the constraints imposed by the tab delimited data file format.
When you have finished, save the file but make sure that its format is not changed.
Using non-US characters
When using non-US character sets (including accented characters, characters with umlauts, etc) make sure that you save the file using the UTF8 character encoding.
A Better Finder Rename supports the entire unicode character sets and should thus be able to cope with all possible symbols and writing systems.
Using non-US characters within plain text files is, however, a complicated topic in its own right. If you experience problems, take a minute to read the information on unicode and UTF8 linked in this text.
How exactly you go about producing UTF8 encoded plain text files from your particular text editor, word processor or spreadsheet is beyond the scope of this documentation, but should be covered in the program's own documentation.
Mac OS X 10.7 Lion compatible
Version 8 is a free upgrade for customers who purchased after the 1st of January 2007 or own a forever upgrade.
Downloads for current and older versions of Mac OS X.
Detailed Video Walkthroughs
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18th June 2013
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Our Better File Rename for Windows product offers similar functionality for Windows users.
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