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How to Rename Multiple Files at Once on a Mac

I Used to Rename Files One by One, but This Mac Hack Lets You Do It All at Once

Young woman video calling using a laptop sitting on a sofa wearing earphones

Image Source: Getty / Youngoldman

I work with a lot of content. Between my writing-heavy day job, freelance side hustle as a lifestyle journalist, and amateur photography hobby, I handle a lot of files. Word docs, JPGs, PDFs, PNGs — you get the picture. As you can imagine, I'm always looking for ways to make my workflow more efficient to save myself some time. I recently discovered CNN Underscored's hack for renaming multiple files at once on a Mac on TikTok, and now I feel silly for having manually renamed files one by one for years.

I'll be the first to admit that I'm one of those people who can be easily intimidated by savvy computer hacks. But this one looked simple enough that even tech-intimidated me decided to give it a try. As it turns out, this hack couldn't be any simpler. I know that I'm personally going to start using this little trick whenever I'm batching photos together by event or if I'm using a specific set of images for a blog post. Eager to learn this file-naming hack? Here's how it's done:

First, hold down the shift key and use your mouse to select all of the files you wish to rename.

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Once your files are selected, right click and select "Rename."

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In the "Custom Format" field, type in the name you'd like to use for your batch of files. Then, in the "Start numbers at" field, type in the numeric value you'd like your file naming to begin with. In most cases, this will probably be the number one. You'll notice that the window generates a handy little preview of how your file names will appear in the bottom left corner.

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Once you have those two fields filled in, click "Rename." All that's left to do now is stand back and behold the magic that is this file-naming hack!

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