A Better Finder Rename has existed for a very long time. It’s a batch renaming app that supports very simple renaming schemes all the way to very complicated ones. The only batch renaming functionality I have tried out so far, has been the one implemented in Path Finder which is quite powerful. It has Regex pattern replacement capabilities and allows you to rename your files in many ways, but A Better Finder Rename’s feature set is far more complete with some advanced functionality even I wouldn’t have thought possible.
First of all, A Better Finder Rename lets you rename files using one or several rules that you compound. For example, adding a date and time with a space at the end at the beginning of a file name is done with one rule. Adding that date and time and replacing all spaces with an underscore is done with two rules. A Better Finder Rename’s rules are order-specific by which I mean that, if you add the underscore before the date and time rule, the space you added will be replaced with the underscore but it will not if you add that rule below the date/time rule.
For photographers, the app lets you add metadata to your image names, long after you shot them. For music lovers and sound engineers, you can add metadata that is appropriate in your line of work, etc.
The app becomes really interesting when you start using its advanced features. For example, you can rearrange elements in a file name using Regex patterns. The way it works is that you create a search pattern and place it in a capture group, then use that group as a capture variable to rearrange parts of the file name.
For instance, if the file name is:
and you want to have the first number to sit in front of the text instead of right behind it, this is the Regex pattern you would enter in the Pattern field:
The round brackets represent the two variables $1 and $2 which you can now switch places to end up with 2020042201_SEQS_MatchEQ-_07_48Hz.aiff. With another rule, the now superfluous dash in the name can be easily removed.
Another advanced feature is the renaming of files based on a file list. For this, you use a text file with a simple file list with each line containing one “new” file name or a tab-delimited list with each line containing the current and new file name, or else a tab-delimited file list with each line containing the path to the file and new file name.
Other renaming schemes include the ability to include path components in the file name, the parent folder name, tags, image dimensions and much more. You can also make file names Windows NTFS/SMB compatible.
In short, A Better Finder Rename is an extremely powerful file renaming app that is very simple to use, with the exception of the Regex features that do require you to learn a bit about these very powerful search-and-replace patterns. If you have ever used BBEdit, you’ll have a complete overview of what you can do with Regex, but even A Better Finder Rename’s help file has instructions. It doesn’t take a nuclear physics degree to learn them.
So, what’s the conclusion? Do you need A Better Finder Rename? Well, if you’re serious about backing up and archiving files, you definitely need this app. It will allow you to keep naming your files in your day-to-day work as you’ve always done and quickly rename batches when it’s time to archive them. If you’re a photographer, it certainly has some very nifty features to instantly see some metadata right in the file name, without even having to select the file in the first place.
Even if you’re not sure you’ll be using it a lot, it certainly won’t break the bank as a single licence retails at €22.95. There are upgrade prices and family licences as well.