Next up in my “series” of articles about Linux applications designed with KDE in mind, yet will work in GNOME as well, is a file renamer called KRename. I saw that it had recently been updated, so decided to take it for a spin.
First, a bit about file renamers. Most people probably don’t have an everyday use for a program like KRename. I know I don’t. If I have to rename a text file or folder, there’s no point in using anything other than the built-in rename function of my file browser. It would be a waste of time to open an entirely different program just to rename a file. And the same is true if I have to rename four or five files. But what about when that number gets higher? Let’s say I took 100 pictures at a church or family event? Those will probably come out of the camera will really generic names. Do I want to rename them individually? Or what if I have a huge number of MP3 files, with names like “track 1.mp3” and so on. Do I want to rename them individually?
No, I dont!
Which is where a batch file renamer like KRename comes in. With KRename, I can rename a large batch of files all at once. Of course, this only makes sense if the files really do belong in an identifiable group (such as a series of photos). If I’m trying to rename a movie, a folder and a tax return PDF… KRename isn’t a lot of help. But for those times when you need a powerful tool to rename dozens or hundreds of files all at once, it can be invaluable.
The way a batch renamer works is that you, the user, tell it what common traits, or specific patterns, should be used to rename your files. For instance, when renaming photos, you may want the date each photo was taken to be added to the file name. You may want the event the photo was taken at to be added to the file name. With MP3 files, it’s common to use the track number and song title as part of the file name. Again, this is all something you could do by hand, but if there is a way to automate it, why wouldn’t you take advantage of the speed?
To use KRename, simply start it up. Then add files to your batch, either by dragging them into the window or by selecting them via the file picker. Once you have your files, you can order them by name (ascending or descending), numerically, randomly, or in no order at all. If sorting items that would benefit from small preview thumbnails, such as videos or pictures, KRename can do that.
Next you’ll need to decide on a location to save your renamed files. In most cases, you’ll probably just save the old files with the new names, but if you want to leave the originals intact, you can save your new files, with their new names, to a different directory. You can also move your originals, with their new names, to a different directory.
KRename uses plugins for added features. These plugins help you access data that may be embedded in your files already. This includes exiv data for images, ID3 tag information for MP3 and Ogg Vorbis files, and more. KRename has the ability using the Transliteration plugin, to translate file names in a foreign language. It can access meta data from PDF files and change file permissions, as well as access date and system functions, such as date created, date modified or date accessed. There’s more, all available from the plugins tab. If you want a plugin to be active, simply check the Enable Plugin checkbox (some plugins are always on by default, while others are optional).
Now it’s time to change your filenames. There are simple and advanced interfaces to do this, each with benefits. If your files already have good names, but need to be ordered numerically, you can use KRename to do this. If your files were incorrectly named, for instance with “John’s Birthday” in the title instead of “Jane’s Birthday” you can do a search and replace to correct the mistake. All the plugins available come with slightly different options, meaning it’s easy to edit your filenames to your liking.
KRename is a very powerful batch file renamer. I love the plugin architecture, which should make it possible for others to add features the developer didn’t feel would be popular, or that required extra work not deemed necessary for the main release. The interface is simple to understand, yet very powerful. The tools available for renaming files are sufficient for all my needs (which admittedly aren’t exactly at the “power user” level!), and should be good for most users. KRename is a KDE application, yet when installed on my GNOME installation, felt fine. It uses the KDE file picker and buttons, but worked and behaved as expected. If you’re using KDE, or are a GNOME user looking for a powerful option for batch renaming your files, give KRename a try.