Need a fast yet powerful way to rename large groups of files in Windows 10? Using Free Microsoft PowerToys, all this power is just a right click away thanks to the PowerRename module. Here is how to use it.
Install PowerToys and activate PowerRename
Before all of this exciting name change action can begin, you must first download PowerToys on the Microsoft website. To get it, visit this link in your favorite browser and look for the latest version at the top of the page, which will have a name similar to “PowerToysSetup-0.27.1-x64.exe. »Download this file and run it to install PowerToys.
Once you have installed PowerToys, launch PowerToys settings and click “PowerRename” in the sidebar. Make sure the switch next to “Enable PowerRename” is turned on.
After that, close the PowerToys Settings window.
Let the name change begin
Now that you’ve installed PowerToys, renaming a bunch of files is as easy as choosing a right-click menu. First, find the files you want to rename in File Explorer or on the desktop and select them.
Then right-click on the files and select “PowerRename” from the menu that appears.
The PowerRename window opens. This is where the magic happens.
First, enter the criteria that will determine what will be renamed. By default, PowerRename works with simple find and replace functionality. In the first text box, enter a search term. On the next line, enter what you want to replace it with. PowerRename will replace the first occurrence (or each occurrence if you check a box) of that term in all of the filenames you selected with the replacement text.
Here is an example where “P4” in each file name has been replaced by “photo_”. The interesting thing is that PowerRename provides a preview of what the renamed files will look like right there in the window. This way you don’t have to guess what the outcome might be.
Towards the middle of the window, you will see other options that change how PowerRename works. Consider each of them and tick the ones you want to use. Here’s what each option does:
Use regular expressions: This allows the use of powerful search strings called regular expressions, which can allow very in-depth or complex search and replace operations.
Case sensitive: This option makes searches sensitive, whether the letters are upper or lower case. For example, the term “dog” would match results other than “Dog”.
Match all occurrences: Normally, only the first instance of the search term is replaced (left to right). When this box is checked, all instances of the search term will be replaced.
Exclude files: If this box is checked, the operation will only apply to folders and not to files.
Exclude files: If this box is checked, the operation will only apply to files and not to folders.
Exclude items from subfolder: This excludes items in the selected subfolders from renaming operations. For example, if you select a directory that contains files in subfolders, these will not be affected.
List the elements: This will add a number, counting up, to the end of each renamed file.
Item name only: If this box is checked, the operation will only be applied to the name of the file or folder and not to its extension.
Article extension only: If this box is checked, the operation will only apply to the extension of the file or folder and not to its name.
When you are ready, click the “Rename” button and PowerRename will perform the operation you specified.
If you don’t like the result, you can press Ctrl + Z in File Explorer to undo the renaming process. Very useful!
A useful example: rename each file to something new
What if you don’t want to just replace a word in a file, but instead want to replace the entire file name with something completely new? In this case, you want a wildcard to match all of the files that you selected. To do this you will need to use a very simple regular expression, “. *”, Which stands for “all”.
In this example, we will replace all the selected file names with a gradually numbered base file name. First, enter “. *” In the “Find what” field, then enter the name you want to use in the “Replace with” field. Then check “Use regular expressions”, “List elements” and “Element name only”.
With all of that checked, you’ll end up with a series of files with the same name and numbered in sequential order. When you have finished configuring it, click on “Rename” and the operation will end. Have fun renaming things!
Need more power and options? Try these other batch fame tools for Windows.