It just goes to show what happens when you don’t search hard enough, I suppose. A few years ago, I went through a period where I used Xubuntu, the xfce-centric version of Ubuntu. While I was using it, I came to really love the built-in bulk renamer that comes with Thunar, the xfce file manager. I absolutely like the GNOME environment better than xfce (and Nautilus, the GNOME file manager, better than Thunar), but Nautilus has no bulk rename function, so I’ve tended to keep Thunar installed (along with quite a few xfce libraries which I use solely for the bulk renamer), but that may be about to end.
For who knows how long, Ubuntu has had in its repositories a program called GPRename, which I’ve been trying out lately, and finding out that I like it almost as much as the bulk rename functions of Thunar. If I’d only looked harder at the software I had access to all this time!
GPRename isn’t just for Ubuntu, however. It’s built on Perl, and is available for Linux in general, with just a few dependencies and a very quick compile and installation process. Once installed, simply start it up and you’ll see two main windows up top, with a tabbed interface below. The large areas above are for navigating to the files you wish to rename (that area is on the left), while the other area (on the right), is where those files will appear, and where you’ll see the effects of any renaming schemes.
The first set up options you’ll see in the tabbed interface is to change the case of the file names. You can choose all caps, all lowercase, only the first letter capitalized, or a fourth option with the first letter capitalized and then any letter following a space, underscore, slash, left bracket or left parentheses. In effect, this fourth option is what is commonly known as title case, where the first letter of every word is capitalized.
The second set of renaming options is where you can insert text into a particular position of every file, or similarly, how you can delete certain characters from position “x” and position “y” (this allows you to remove a label someone previously inserted into the file name.
You can also do a search and replace (case sensitive or not, as well as taking advantage of regular expressions), so if every file has a particular phrase you want to remove (simply search for the phrase and replace it with nothing), or else you want to change it to something else, this is the tool to use.
Finally, you can order your file numerically. You can start the series on whichever number you want, and the series can increase by one, or by any interval of your choosing. You can choose to keep the existing name or not (before or after the numbers you add to the file name), along with a couple other options.
GPRename was a revelation to me. As I said, once I found Thunar’s bulk rename options in xfce, I’d stuck with it. But it always bugged me how installing a single application to perform one task dragged in so many other support libraries. GPRename doesn’t come with much extra baggage at all. It’s lean and mean, and does exactly what I want. The only feature missing from it that Thunar had was the ability to use ID3 data from MP3 files, which was useful for renaming songs, but a feature I rarely, if ever, used. If I did take advantage of that, GPRename would be of little use, but as I didn’t, it’s a near perfect replacement for me, and probably for others.
GPRename works on folders as well as files, and can be downloaded from its Sourceforge website, or Ubuntu users (and likely users of other distributions as well), will find it in the official software repositories.