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Batch rename files in PSE 15

Community Beginner ,
Dec 22, 2018

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Hello,

I am quite new to Photoshop but not to computers. I am running PSE15 on a windows 10 computer.  I am switching from Picasa to PSE 15, so far so good. 

My question: I have thousands of photos already within an existing file structure.  I would like to totally replace the original filename for each file in a folder with a base name that represents the folder it resides in followed by a sequential number and I would like to do it as a batch process, one folder at a time, from within PSE 15.  Is this possible?  A google search turned up many references to a Photoshop menu item called "Process multiple files" in PSE 12 and earlier, and it sounded like just what I needed but I can not find that menu in PSE 15.  Was it removed?  Replaced with something else?  Am I just missing it? 

Thanks in advance for any assistance.

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Correct answer by Peru Bob | Adobe Community Professional

File > Process multiple files from the Editor in Expert Mode.

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Batch rename files in PSE 15

Community Beginner ,
Dec 22, 2018

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Hello,

I am quite new to Photoshop but not to computers. I am running PSE15 on a windows 10 computer.  I am switching from Picasa to PSE 15, so far so good. 

My question: I have thousands of photos already within an existing file structure.  I would like to totally replace the original filename for each file in a folder with a base name that represents the folder it resides in followed by a sequential number and I would like to do it as a batch process, one folder at a time, from within PSE 15.  Is this possible?  A google search turned up many references to a Photoshop menu item called "Process multiple files" in PSE 12 and earlier, and it sounded like just what I needed but I can not find that menu in PSE 15.  Was it removed?  Replaced with something else?  Am I just missing it? 

Thanks in advance for any assistance.

Adobe Community Professional
Correct answer by Peru Bob | Adobe Community Professional

File > Process multiple files from the Editor in Expert Mode.

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Dec 22, 2018 0
Adobe Community Professional ,
Dec 22, 2018

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File > Process multiple files from the Editor in Expert Mode.

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Dec 22, 2018 1
Community Beginner ,
Dec 22, 2018

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Thank you very much for your quick answer, Peru Bob.  I was attempting to do this in the Elements Organizer, but apparently it can't be done there.  I will experiment with it in the Editor and see if it will do what I want.

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Dec 22, 2018 0
Adobe Community Professional ,
Dec 22, 2018

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What is your reason for changing the file name structure?  If you intend to use the Organizer as it is designed, it really doesn't matter where you store your files or what you call them.  The Organizer maintains a database of your files, and if you use its tools, you can find any photo on your computer almost instantaneously.

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Dec 22, 2018 0
Community Beginner ,
Dec 22, 2018

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Greg,

I have several reasons to want descriptive and sequential names for photo files within folders.  The primary one is to maintain the original location and order of scanned photos removed from old albums.  (To enable me to easily find the original hard copy in the future, if necessary)  I started scanning old photos almost 10 years ago and did not pay much attention to filenames in the beginning, now I want to retroactively commonize my filename structure so individual photo files will be identifiable by filename even if the original file has been moved or copies have been exported and shared with others. I do use tagging and albums within Photoshop and it works well...as long as I am working in Photoshop.  Secondly, I previously invested a lot of time and effort using Picasa only to have Google discontinue supporting it, which can only mean some day it will not work at all.  I used Picasa face tags and albums as my "structure", neither of which can be exported, so all that work was lost!  That is why I am switching to Photoshop and also why I want a robust file and folder naming scheme, in case I have to move on again.

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Dec 22, 2018 0
Adobe Community Professional ,
Dec 22, 2018

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Thanks for the explanation - all good reasons for doing what you are doing.  In case you are not aware, it is best to conduct all file renaming and moving within Elements.  Otherwise, your catalog will have "missing files" which then need to be reconnected.

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Dec 22, 2018 0
Community Beginner ,
Dec 22, 2018

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Thanks Greg, yes I am aware of that.  That is what prompted my original question, otherwise I would just do renaming in Windows Explorer.  BTW, I have tried the "Process multiple files" menu in PSE Editor (as Peru Bob suggested) and I can only get it to create copies of files with new names, not rename the original file.  So I went back to the organizer and I am having success with the "File>Rename" function.  It will allow me to select just the files I want and then it will replace the original file name with a new "common name" followed by a sequential number.  It also seems to maintain the original sort order when renaming, so that is good.  I have done several folders now and I think it will serve my purpose.

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Dec 22, 2018 1
Adobe Community Professional ,
Dec 23, 2018

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The organizer itself has only the renaming with a common starting text string plus a sort order. The editor 'process multiple files' has more renaming templates, but the only flexible renaming tool is the downloader, when you download from camera or card reader.

The main reason to rename is to be able to keep your custom sort order defined in albums for use in another catalog or third-party software, like slideshow editor. So, exporting is adequate most of the time.

I'd like to suggest that the organizer has the ability to 'reconnect' renamed files (with a bit of luck...)

Beware, never try this without doing a full backup first! However, it's easy, quick and safe to rename files via another third-party tool and to reconnect immediately if you are in a single subfolder.

You can use more flexible free tools like FastStone or Irfanview to rename your files with various templates, even overwriting the files in their original folder tree. Obviously, this disconnects all the files in the catalog(s) they are in.

I have succeeded to rename all files in a folder tree like this and to get them reconnected, but I suspect this will become tricky with a big folder tree.

Another suggestion which is useful in some cases is to use the downloader. I am happy with the automatic 'advanced' feature which allows to create a date based folder tree (my choice is "2018 12 23") while renaming files if needed. Lets say I want to import files from different dates which are already on my computer, not in a card. This is frequent when I get photos from Dropbox for my camera or from Google Photos for my wife. The synced photos I get in my computer  can be copied to a camera card and nicely reimported into my standard date hierarchy, and renamed flexibly if I need to (not necessary for me, as stressed by Greg_S).

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Dec 23, 2018 1
Community Beginner ,
Dec 23, 2018

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Thank you for the suggestions Michel,

I have not actually used the PSE "downloader" function yet but it looks to be useful for renaming files as you suggest. I do not have a "card reader" on my computer, but I presume I could use my camera connected via USB in the same way. (although slow transfer rate)  When it comes to photography I am strictly a hobbyist and take my photos with my iPhone or Canon Elph 340HS.

I am only beginning with Photoshop and only have a small fraction of my photos imported so far.  Once I am more comfortable using the program I will begin importing the remainder of my photos, (many, many thousands) which I currently still view and edit using Picasa.  At that point I may want to rename many, if not most, of them.  Doing the renaming during the import process seems to make sense at this point.  Over the years my photos have been taken with a variety of cameras and thus have a variety of filename conventions.  I do, however have them sorted in folders by year and month so some kind of date based naming scheme would seem to be the best.  For that many photos I would prefer to do a direct import from my hard drive rather than move them to an external card first.  I will do more research and thinking before I begin that task. 

PS:I have a couple of questions about Picasa files and processes, relating to preparation of files for import into Photoshop.  Since I am now a member of this community is there an appropriate forum for these questions?  I promise not to whine (much) about having to leaving Picasa!

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Dec 23, 2018 0
Adobe Community Professional ,
Dec 23, 2018

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kenf51  wrote

I do not have a "card reader" on my computer, but I presume I could use my camera connected via USB in the same way. (although slow transfer rate)

You can always use a USB external card reader.  They are very cheap.  Importing a card written on your computer through your camera may be problematic.  On occasion, I have found that a camera does always read a card that has not been formatted by that camera.

Doing the renaming during the import process seems to make sense at this point.  Over the years my photos have been taken with a variety of cameras and thus have a variety of filename conventions.  I do, however have them sorted in folders by year and month so some kind of date based naming scheme would seem to be the best.  For that many photos I would prefer to do a direct import from my hard drive rather than move them to an external card first.

I agree that it would probably make sense to rename your photos before importing into the Organizer.  One other tool you may want to consider as part of your reorganization is watched folders.  If you make the top of your tree a watched folder, whenever you rename or move a file/folder under the tree, it will be automatically seen and imported into the catalog.

MichelBParis​, I use the same naming convention as you do (YYYY MM  DD).  Although it makes no difference to the Organizer database, it can be helpful for other reasons. 

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Dec 23, 2018 1
Adobe Community Professional ,
Dec 23, 2018

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MichelBParis , I use the same naming convention as you do (YYYY MM  DD).  Although it makes no difference to the Organizer database, it can be helpful for other reasons. 

This means that the subfolders with that template YYYY MM DD are automatically created when needed. I take care to specify a new master folder at the beginning of each year to avoid a master folder with thousands of subfolders by days. For instance, I have already about 130 days subfolders this year 2018 !  I have to set the default master year folder in my preferences and in the downloader advanced dialog. We must  have some kind of folders organization, and the date criteria is by far the most common and the most useful when browsing from the Explorer/Finder or another  browser without the organizer catalog.

I don't rename the files themselves, but some have good reasons to do so. I might do so in a near future because I have more and more photos from my smartphone and my wifes' smartphone beside those from my cameras. The Android file naming is date based, and the file names don't tell whose photos they are... Adding a distinct character at download time may be a good idea, even if the organizer knows which camera has taken the photos. The very frequent situation when I do rename files is when I export files from the organizer to keep the 'custom' sort order in my albums (for a slideshow, for sharing...).

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Dec 23, 2018 1
Explorer ,
May 23, 2020

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MichelBParis said:

I have succeeded to rename all files in a folder tree like this and to get them reconnected, but I suspect this will become tricky with a big folder tree.

 

How did you manage to reconnect the renamed files?

 

I renamed photos already in the catalog, from Canon format IMG_xxx.jpg to YYYYMMDD_HHMMSS IMG_xxx.jpg and Elements could not reconnect, even though it was a single folder with 6 items and the date modified was preserved during renaming (done with ExifTool). So I guess this is all I could do given that Elements does not seem to allow me to do the renaming within Elements itself. I sort of cannot believe that within a single folder with very few photos Elements cannot reconnect to files which are completely similiar apart from the filename.

 

Many thanks in advance for your hint!

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May 23, 2020 0
Adobe Community Professional ,
May 23, 2020

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How did you manage to reconnect the renamed files?

As a matter of fact, I just tested to rename a folder outside of the catalog, and I did not succeed. That folder contained both the originals and the version sets. I tried again with the same folder (313 files) after removing the files from version sets. All the files were reconnected in a few seconds.

So, I'll need more tests to see the conditions for reconnecting renamed files successfully.

 

I recommended  before to to a backup before trying the rename/reconnect. It's quicker to simply keep:

- a simple copy of the original folder

- a simple copy of the whole catalog folder.

 

If anything fails, replace the faulty folder and start again with the catalog copy.

 

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May 23, 2020 0
Neb1 LATEST
Explorer ,
May 24, 2020

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MichelBParis said:

I have succeeded to rename all files in a folder tree like this and to get them reconnected [...] As a matter of fact, I just tested to rename a folder outside of the catalog, and I did not succeed.

 

Hmm, I didn't really get it...

 

For anyone coming along this renaming-and-reconneting-thing: I did some time-consuming tests on reconnecting renamed files, it works reliably (for me), as long as only the filename (!) is changed, nothing else, especially not any metadata or the case (!) of the file extension.

 

Interestingly, there is a tag in the Exif specification called DocumentName which is meant for situations like this where you derive a photo from a source with a different name. If you use ExifToolGUI for renaming of files, the original filename is written into this tag by default making reconnecting not work, so you have to switch that off. I find this very strange, as such a thing would be of great help for reconnecting, so I am really wondering why this inhibits reconnecting rather than helping it a lot. Only Adobe knows...

 

Second, if the filename changes and the case (!) of the extension changes at the same time, reconnecting also fails. At the same time, if you change only the case for photos already connected with the filename remaining as is, Elements doesn't even notice, that you changed the case of the extension. So the workflow is, in case you want to change filename and case of extension: Change filename first, reconnect, change case of extension. Only Adobe know, why...

 

As you can see, the reconnecting algorithm is very powerful, robust, well-designed, intuitive, transparent, simply a masterpiece of excellent software engineering so that it brings pure pleasure working with it. Pleasure is by the way the only reason to work with it, there is no real need, as the file and folder processing capabilities of Elements are so powerful that there will never be a need to do anything like this outside of Elements. Only very, very exotic options such as batch file renaming based on Date Time Original can't be found that really no one has ever asked for anywhere.

 

Seriously, I can't believe this...

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May 24, 2020 0