How to Rename File Linux: A Comprehensive Guide

rename file linux

Introduction to Rename File Linux

In the world of Linux, file management is an essential skill. One common task that Linux users frequently encounter is renaming files. Whether you want to change the name of a single file or rename multiple files in one go, knowing the right commands and techniques can save you time and effort. In this article, we will explore various methods to rename file Linux, providing you with a comprehensive guide to mastering this important skill.

Understanding File Renaming in Linux

File renaming in Linux involves changing the name of a file or modifying its extension. This process is essential for organizing files, making them more descriptive, and ensuring they adhere to a particular naming convention. Linux offers various methods to accomplish this task, ranging from command-line utilities to graphical tools.

Renaming a Single File

To rename a single file in Linux, you can use the mv command, which stands for “move.” Despite its name, mv is also used for renaming files. The basic syntax of the mv command for renaming a file is as follows:

mv <current_file_name> <new_file_name>

For example, if you want to rename a file named “old_file.txt” to “new_file.txt,” you would use the following command:

mv old_file.txt new_file.txt

Remember to navigate to the directory where the file is located or provide the absolute path to the file.

Renaming Multiple Files

Renaming multiple files in Linux can be a cumbersome task if done manually. However, there are efficient ways to accomplish this using various techniques. One common approach is to use a combination of loops and commands like mv or `rename`. Another method is to employ wildcards for advanced renaming.

Using Wildcards for Advanced Renaming

Wildcards are characters that represent one or more other characters. They can be used to match multiple files or directories based on a specified pattern. The two most commonly used wildcards in Linux are the asterisk (*) and question mark (?).

To rename multiple files using wildcards, you can utilize the rename command. The syntax for the rename command is as follows:

rename 's/<old_pattern>/<new_pattern>/' <files_to_rename>

For instance, to rename all files ending with “.jpg” to have a “.png” extension, you can use the following command:

rename 's/.jpg$/.png/' *.jpg

Renaming Files in Bulk with Batch Scripts

If you frequently encounter situations where you need to rename multiple files following a specific pattern, it might be more efficient to create a batch script. Batch scripts allow you to automate repetitive tasks and provide more flexibility in file renaming operations.

To create a batch script for renaming files, you can use a text editor to write a series of commands. Save the script with a .sh extension, make it executable using the chmod command, and then execute it using ./

Using the ‘mv’ Command

The mv command in Linux not only allows you to rename files but also enables you to move them between directories. If you want to rename a file and move it to a different location simultaneously, you can specify the destination directory along with the new name. Here’s an example:

mv old_file.txt /path/to/new_directory/new_file.txt

This command will rename the file “old_file.txt” to “new_file.txt” and move it to the directory specified.

Renaming Files with GUI Tools

Linux also provides several graphical tools that offer a user-friendly interface for renaming files. These tools allow you to perform bulk renaming operations, preview changes before applying them, and utilize various renaming patterns.

Some popular GUI tools for renaming files in Linux include:

  • Thunar Bulk Rename: A lightweight file manager with a built-in bulk renaming feature.
  • KRename: A powerful batch renamer with advanced options for customization.
  • GPRename: A simple yet effective tool for renaming multiple files at once.

Using Third-Party Applications

Apart from the built-in tools and utilities in Linux, there are third-party applications that offer more specialized and feature-rich options for file renaming. These applications often provide a graphical interface and additional functionality that can streamline the renaming process.

One such application is “pyRenamer,” which is a cross-platform tool that allows you to rename multiple files using various criteria, such as numbering, timestamps, and regular expressions. Another popular tool is “Metamorphose2,” which offers a comprehensive set of features for bulk file renaming.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I rename a file extension in Linux?

To rename a file extension in Linux, you can use the mv command. Specify the current filename along with the new name and extension. For example, to change a file named “file.txt” to “file.docx,” use the following command:

mv file.txt file.docx

Can I use regular expressions to rename files in Linux?

Yes, you can use regular expressions to rename files in Linux. Tools like rename and third-party applications such as “pyRenamer” and “Metamorphose2” support regular expressions for advanced file renaming.

What are some precautions I should take before renaming files?

Before renaming files, it’s important to make sure you have a backup of the files in case something goes wrong. Additionally, double-check the renaming command or tool to ensure the desired changes will be applied correctly.

Is it possible to undo a file renaming operation?

Once a file has been renamed, the original name is overwritten, and the process is irreversible. Therefore, it’s crucial to exercise caution when renaming files and double-check your commands or actions before proceeding.

Can I rename files using a specific pattern or format?

Yes, you can rename files using a specific pattern or format by leveraging tools that support pattern matching or regular expressions. These tools allow you to define complex renaming rules and apply them to multiple files simultaneously.

Are there any graphical tools available for renaming files in Linux?

Yes, Linux provides several graphical tools for renaming files. Some popular options include Thunar Bulk Rename, KRename, and GPRename. These tools offer intuitive interfaces and advanced features for efficient file renaming.


Mastering the art of file renaming in Linux is a valuable skill that can enhance your productivity and organization. Whether you need to rename a single file or perform bulk renaming operations, the various methods and tools available in Linux make the process straightforward and efficient. By following the techniques outlined in this guide, you can become proficient in renaming files and take full control of your Linux file management tasks.

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