XDA Basics: How to batch rename files in Windows 11

Renaming files can be a very tedious task when you have a whole folder full of photos or whatever it may be. If you’re renaming them one at a time, you might be there for a while. Thankfully, if have a bunch of files you want to rename, there are more efficient ways to do it on Windows 11. In fact, there are a ton of apps or programs you can use to batch rename files in Windows 11, but even the OS itself makes it relative easy to change the names of multiple files in one go.

In this article, we’ll show you a couple of ways you can rename your files if you want to save some time and make it easier to find what you’re looking for in the future. Again, there are other ways to do it, but these should have you covered for most of your needs. Let’s get into it.

Rename files using the Windows 11 File Explorer

While it’s not immediately obvious, the File Explorer in Windows 11 actually does make it possible to rename a batch of files in one go. This doesn’t give you a ton of options, but if all you want is to rename a bunch of files to be in a standardized format, then this may be all you need. Here’s how you can do it:

  • Open File Explorer and navigate to the folder with the files you want to rename.
  • Select all the files you want to rename. If you don’t want to select every file, you can hold the Shift key and individually select the files.
  • Click the Rename button on the toolbar or right-click one of the selected files and then choose the Rename option in the context menu.
    File Explorer and context menu with Rename option highlighted
  • Only one of the files will show an editable text box, but that name will apply to every file you selected. Write the file name you want and then press Enter on your keyboard.
    Renaming multiple files in Windows 11 File Explorer
  • Your files will now all have the name you chose, followed by a number.
    File Explorer showing files with the new name

It’s a fairly straightforward process and as we’ve mentioned, you don’t get a ton of options, but it probably does the job just fine for a lot of people.

Rename files using PowerToys

If you want a bit more options for how your files are renamed, then a great option is to use Microsoft’s own PowerToys software. The modern iteration of PowerToys (the original PowerToys was designed for Windows 95 and then XP) comes with a tool called PowerRename, which you can use to batch rename your files on Windows 11 using a series of conditions to get the exact format you want. It’s a bit more convoluted, but it may be worth it to get the results you want. First off, you’ll need to install PowerToys and make sure PowerRename is running:

  • Download the latest PowerToys installer from GitHub (you’ll need to scroll down to the bottom of the page to find the setup file) and install the program. A “Welcome to PowerToys” window should automatically open once it finishes installing.
  • Choose PowerRename from the side menu and then click Open Settings. If you don’t see the welcome window, open PowerToys from your Start menu and then choose PowerRename from the sidebar on the left.
  • Ensure the PowerRename feature is set to On (it should be by default).
    PowerToys Setting with PowerRename enabled

With PowerRename enabled, you can now go to your files and start renaming them. PowerRename is far more capable than the simple renaming tool in Windows 11. You can match any word or character in the original file name and replace it with something else, so you can change only a part of the name to make a file easier to identify. You can also use regular expressions (RegEx) to create certain conditions for matching file names and changing them to something else. Here’s how to do it:

  • Use the File Explorer to navigate to the folder where your files are.
  • Select all the files you want to rename, then right-click them and choose See more options in the context menu. Then, choose PowerRename in the second context menu.

    File Explorer context menu with Show more options highlighted
    Classic context menu with PowerRename option highlighted

  • You’ll now see the PowerRename interface with all your selected files. For example, the images below are camera samples from a smartphone, and they’re all named “IMG” followed by a date and time. Let’s say we want to keep the time stamp and only replace the “IMG” part with something more identifiable. Simply write “IMG” in the box at the top for the text you want to match.
    PowerRename window with text reading "IMG" in the box for text to be replaced
    Note: Here, you can use all kinds of conditions to rename the files you want. You can match any bit of text in the original name, use regular expressions to match entire words and numbers, and so on. You can click the information icon next to the text box to see what kinds of expressions are supported.
  • In the bottom box, you can choose what the matched text will be replaced by. These are pictures taken for our Lenovo Yoga 6 review, so let’s name the files after the laptop. We’ll also add an extra space at the end so the timestamp is separated from the words themselves.
    PowerRename window with text reading "Lenovo Yoga 6" set to replace "IMG" in file names
    As we’ve mentioned, there are a lot of options here, including adding a date and time to the file name, if there isn’t one already. You can also enumerate items if you’re naming them all the same thing. You can see what the final file names will look like before applying the changes, so make sure everything is how you want it.
  • Click Apply and the file names will change according to your criteria. You can see the new names in the File Explorer.

And that should have you covered if you want to rename a batch of files on your Windows 11 PC. There are other ways to go about it, but these two should cover most people’s needs. We’d argue the method built into Windows probably works well enough for almost everyone, but PowerToys definitely offers some more powerful customization to get the exact file names you want.

If you’re looking to learn about other Windows 11 features, why not check out how to enable God Mode so you can get quick access to various Windows settings? Or maybe learn how to turn off Recommended content in the Windows 11 Start menu.

The post XDA Basics: How to batch rename files in Windows 11 appeared first on XDA.

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