Batch Renaming Photos in Windows
Have you ever had a folder full of site photos with names like “IMG_1234.jpg” or “DSC_5678.jpg”? Finding a specific photo becomes a pain because you have to manually open each photo to see what it’s of. To solve this problem, many people use folders to organize their project photos (often using the date and/or the location in the folder names). This system works well, but as soon as a photo is attached to an email or passed around, all references to the folder structure will be lost. This is when it may make sense to rename each photo with a more descriptive name.
But what if you have hundreds of photos dumped into a folder? Don’t sweat. You don’t have to rename each photo one by one. In this article, we will show you a couple of ways to quickly batch rename your photos in Windows.
Table of Contents
Renaming Multiple Files in Windows Explorer
I’m sure you already know that you can rename a file in Windows by simply Right-Clicking > Rename (or pressing the shortcut F2 key), but did you know you can select multiple files and rename them in one go?
All the files that you rename will have the same base name with a number suffix added to the end. eg. FileName(1), FileName(2), FileName(3)…
In some cases, this is all you need. However, there’s no way to control the number suffix at the end of the file name. Also, if you have thousands of photos to process, this may not be the most efficient process.
Introduction to Bulk Rename Utility
This is where Bulk Rename Utility comes in handy! Bulk Rename Utility is a simple yet powerful file renaming program for Windows.
The User Interface may look a bit intimidating at first, but it’s actualy pretty straightforward to learn and use.
Basic Renaming Workflow
Before we dive into some practical examples, it’s worth understanding the basic process of using Bulk Rename Utility.
1. Open Bulk Rename Utility
2. Browse to the folder where your photos are located and select the files to rename.
Alternatively, you can select the photos in Windows File Explorer, Right Click > Bulk Rename Here. This will open Bulk Rename Utility with the photos already selected.
3. Next, start specifying the rules for the new filename in the user interface.
4. Preview the new file names to make sure you are happy with the result.
In this example, we are replacing the text “IMG” in the original file names with “ProjectName_Location”.
5. Click on the Rename button to actually rename the files.
Bulk Rename Utility has many different renaming functions available. If you are interested, you can read the comprehensive manual here.
Batch Renaming Photos using Timestamp
A nice feature in Bulk Rename Utility is the ability to rename files using the timestamp information stored in each file’s metadata. This allows you to quickly organize photos in the order that it was captured.
1. To do this, first go to Renaming Options > ID3 / Exif Data / File Properties > Extract Exif Data (Photos) on the top menu bar. The “Taken (Original)” column should get updated with the metadata information.
2. Next, go to the “Auto Date (8)” section and change the Mode dropdown from “None” to either “Prefix” or “Suffix”. Prefix will put the timestamp at the front of the filename and Suffix will place it at the end of the filename.
3. Set the Type dropdown to one of the available options. For construction documentation purposes, “Taken (Original)” is probably the one you want to choose. This will use the date and time data that is recorded when the photo was captured on site.
4. Next, go to the Fmt (format) dropdown and set the timestamp format from one the available options. In this example, we will use the YMD preset (Year Month Day).
5. Finally, there are a few remaining options to look at:
- Sep allows you to specify the character to go after the date text. For example, putting an underscore (_) in this field, you should see “220404_Filename”.
- Seg allows you to specify the character to put between each date/time segment. For example, if you put a hyphen (-) in this field, you should see “22-04-22”.
- Custom allows you to specify your own Date/Time formats. For example if you type “%a %d %B %Y ” in this field, you should see something like “Sat 02 Apirl 2022”.
- Cent checkbox when selected will change the default year formating to have 4 digits (2022) instead of 2 digits (22).
6. Once you are happy with the filename preview. Press the “Rename” button.
Batch Renaming Photos using Folder Structure
One of the most useful features of Bulk Renaming Utility is the ability to use the folder structure to name your files. If you’ve been organizing your project photos in a folder structure like Project Name > Level > Room, this feature will allow you to rename your photos like: “ProjectName_Level_Room_1.jpg”.
1. When you use the folder structure to name your photos, it is recommended to first remove the existing filename to reduce the length of the new name. To do this, go to the “Name (2)” section and set the Name dropdown to “Remove”.
2. Next, go to the “Append Folder Name (9)” section and set the Name drop-down to “Prefix” and the Sep. to an underscore (_) character. Set the Level value based on how deep your folder structure goes. In our example, we have 3 levels.
3. Finally, go to the “Numbering (10)” section and set the Mode to Suffix. This will add a number suffix to each of your photos. There are many options here but for our example we will leave it as default.
4. When you are happy with the preview, press the “Rename” button.
A Better Way to Manage Construction Photos
Staying organized and managing your site photos can often feel like a chore but it can save your company valuable time (and money) in the future. This is why we designed SiteCam. SiteCam allows you to quickly capture and organize photos while you are on site. You can pin the precise location of a photo onto a plan or a map and also add tags/notes associated with the capture. The photo can then be shared via a URL and all the information will be available to the recipient.
When your teammates also use SiteCam it pools your site photos together for instant access. As a bonus, this cloud access means your photos are available on any device, so no more plugging your phone in to transfer files!
You can try out SiteCam for free and see the benefits for yourself, it only takes a couple of minutes to set up. Sign-up using the form below.