Rename sequential files in the Finder

15 October, 2010 by Whitson Gordon
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Renaming a batch of files in the Finder can be hassle, if the new names change their position in the folder’s alphabetical order. After you rename the first one, the Finder will follow it to its new location in the list, leaving the others behind. Mac OS X Hints reader HairyPotter explains a way to avoid this:

Let’s say you have three sequential files – ray01.jpg, ray02.jpg and ray03.jpg, for example – and you want to rename them array01.jpg, array02.jpg and array03.jpg, respectively. You select the first file, press Return to enter renaming mode, and type in a new name. As soon as you press Return again to confirm that new name, the other files will disappear: because the renamed file now begins with a and the others still start with r, the Finder will move the focus of the window to the first file’s new position, and you will have to go down the list again to find the other two.

But you can prevent that from happening: as soon as you press Return to confirm the name-change, press the down arrow key. That will change the file-selection to the next file – in this case, ray2.jpg. The renamed file will move to its proper order, but you will still be in the same spot on the list.

You have to be quick about hitting that down arrow key, or else you’ll lose your chance. And there are a few other ways to do this as well. If you don’t mind reaching over to the mouse, you can just type in the new filename, then click on the next file in the list. The first file’s new name will be saved, but the Finder won’t jump to its new spot. If the files were created in sequence, you could also try sorting the Finder window by date instead of alphabetically.

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