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Using Automator to Rename Files and Folders

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Using Automator: Creating the Rename File and Folders Workflow
Automator - Using Automator to Rename Files and Folders

The two actions that will make up our workflow.

The Rename File and Folders Automator workflow we will create can be used to create sequential file or folder names. It's easy to use this workflow as a starting point and modify it to meet your needs.

Creating the Rename File and Folders Workflow

  1. Launch the Automator application, located at: /Applications/.

  2. A dropdown sheet with a list of available templates will display. Select the Workflow (OS X 10.6.x) or Custom (10.5.x or earlier) template from the list, then click the 'Choose' button.

  3. In the Library pane, make sure that Actions is selected, and then click the Files & Folders entry under the Library list. This will filter all the available workflow actions to show just those related to working with files and folders.

  4. In the filtered list, scroll down and find the Get Specified Finder Items workflow item.

  5. Drag the Get Specified Finder Items workflow item to the workflow pane.

  6. In the same filtered list, scroll down and find the Rename Finder Items workflow item.

  7. Drag the Rename Finder Items workflow item to the workflow pane and drop it just below the Get Specified Finder Items workflow.

  8. A dialog box will appear, asking if you wish to add a Copy Finder Items action to the workflow. This message is displayed to ensure that you understand that your workflow is making changes to Finder items, and to ask whether you want to work with copies instead of the originals. In this case, we don't want to create copies, so click the 'Don't Add' button.

  9. The Rename Finder Items action is added to our workflow, however, it now has a different name. The new name is Add Date or Time to Finder Item Names. This is the default name for the Rename Finder Items action. The action can actually perform one of six different functions; its name reflects the function you selected. We will change this shortly.

That's a basic workflow. The workflow starts by having Automator ask us for a list of Finder items we want the workflow to use. Automator then passes that list of Finder items, one at a time, to the Rename Finder Items workflow action. The Rename Finder Items action then performs its task of changing the names of the files or folders, and the workflow is completed.

Before we actually run this workflow, there are some options for each item in the workflow that we need to set.

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