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Author Topic: Review of File Renamers — let's make a list  (Read 31470 times)
rjbull
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« Reply #25 on: April 04, 2006, 03:32:27 AM »

Please let's not overlook drawbacks and problems.

The company I work for have gimmicked the networked computers so that many applications are unable to see the C: drive (IT Dept. trying to force you to use networked drives only).  This is true of both Bulk Rename Utility (BRU) and Oscar's, for example.  I e-mailed Jim Willsher, BRU's author, and he replied:

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Yes, they will have implemented Group Policy to restrict access to the drive. My utility reads the Shell Namespace, which will honour the restrictions. Your other utilities will operate on the drive directly.

My "other" relevant utilities that do work are the multi-rename tool built into Total Commander (thank goodness), 1-4a and Lupas Rename.

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rjbull
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« Reply #26 on: April 04, 2006, 03:40:14 AM »

Here's another interesting sideline from TinyApps blog

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Question about drag & drop with auto incrementing of filenames #
Is there a method for dragging and dropping a list of files with the same name into a new folder and have them automatically increment the filenames rather than give an overwrite warning? Two instances where I've seen this work: when dragging files from a search result window into Nero (screenshot) and when dragging email messages from Outlook Express into Explorer. I'm not looking for a renamer to change the original filenames, but rather a way to create new files with incremented names. Answers sent to "mail AT tinyapps DOT org" will be appended to this post.

UPDATE: Jorg Kliemann has kindly crafted a solution.

Continuing, here's the solution:

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DROP++ #
Jorg Kliemann has generously crafted DROP++ (source available here) using AutoIt (itself a mostly open source project) to address the drag & drop overwrite problem mentioned recently. Simply drag and drop a group of files from search results or any other Explorer window onto its icon; DROP++ will copy the files and autoincrement the resulting filenames. If you're tired of seeing "Confirm File Replace - This folder already contains a file named foo. Would you like to replace the existing file with this one?", give DROP++ a try. (By the way, holding Shift while clicking No to the above dialog behaves like "No to All", which is otherwise not provided.)



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zridling
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« Reply #27 on: April 04, 2006, 05:05:17 AM »

RJ, I'm at a disadvantage, since I'm neither on a networked computer nor can I imagine why a rename utility would need to override permissions on a network. Virtually every corporation/company I've ever worked for severely restricts what users can see and do these days. Also, I don't understand what the TinyApps blog entry quote is trying to say with regard to file rename utilities. Help me out. Finally, any idea if there are other utilities exist other than 1-4a and Lupas Rename that can do what you say?

Let us know, thanks!
« Last Edit: April 04, 2006, 05:11:58 AM by zridling » Logged

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rjbull
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« Reply #28 on: April 04, 2006, 09:08:57 AM »

Virtually every corporation/company I've ever worked for severely restricts what users can see and do

Security is a common justification for paranoia, but in this case I don't think its strictly speaking a security (as in hack attack) issue.  The IT Dept. try to force us to use networked directories beause they claim to back those up, whereas they can't back up the directories on your local hard disk.  But they don't understand what real users need to do.

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I don't understand what the TinyApps blog entry quote is trying to say with regard to file rename utilities.

I think he's trying to say, suppose you have a directory with a file called foo.bar in it, and you're about to copy it to another directory.  But, that directory already contains a different file with the same name, and you want to keep both of them intact.  The idea is to avoid conflicts or overwrites by renaming files on the fly, adding suffix numbers to the file names if source and target names are the same.  Rather a specialised trick.

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any idea if there are other utilities exist other than 1-4a and Lupas Rename that can do what you say?

I haven't looked at many other renamers.  RenameFiles 2.42 at http://renamefiles.it-falke.com  can see my C: drive, though it's more basic than some mentioned so far (but available in German as well as English, for our small but honourable German contingent).  Many other sorts of programs work fine, such as the excellent DoubleKiller.  In both these cases you can just type in the path you want, and the program will go there.  This doesn't work with BRU, where nothing happens.


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zridling
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« Reply #29 on: April 04, 2006, 06:57:26 PM »

Thanks RJ, that's clearer to me now. It's a shame that any company/IT fool would restrict all access to your C-drive. Hey, and some of my favorite software (and operas) originate from Deutschland! One thing that is that Bulk Rename Utility admits is its limitations when reading its forum or Help File. For example, BRU cannot rename files using mp3 track information. Its developer, Jim Willsher, holds that mp3 extraction slows down the program too much and recommends specific mp3 renamers for that purpose.

For many, that's a significant negative; for others, it's good because the program doesn't sacrifice speed. It's funny you mention Jan Falke's RenameFiles utility. When you open it up, it does 90% of what most people do with a renamer on the fly. I love his description of Preview: (for cowards!)

       
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« Reply #30 on: April 04, 2006, 07:24:26 PM »

AbteriX mentioned the utility I use,

Renamer 6.0 Final - F - Albert Bertilsson - www.albert.nu

It's very much freeware, light, and fast.  Plus, after using it for a few years, I've never wanted it to do something more than it already does.

I highly recommend it.
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mouser
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« Reply #31 on: April 04, 2006, 08:08:37 PM »

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I love his description of Preview: (for cowards!)

 Grin Grin Grin Grin Grin
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« Reply #32 on: April 04, 2006, 11:33:13 PM »

Maybe this upcoming renamers review could somehow be the first part of a "mass file maintenance" overview. For example, I use a cool (free) tool called "Directify!" that auto-creates subdirs based on existing filename patterns and then moves the files to them. Truly indispensable if you've ever needed something like that.  Kiss

Here're the current command options if you're interested...
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mouser
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« Reply #33 on: April 05, 2006, 03:05:59 AM »

great find Cavalcader!
i'd love to see a list of similar programs - i've been looking for such a tool myself.
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« Reply #34 on: April 05, 2006, 04:12:36 AM »

I use the rename mod in Directory Opus 8, but before that, I used Name It Your Way which was very nice in my usage.

ReNamer is a nice free tool as well, just updated in fact.

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« Reply #35 on: April 08, 2006, 10:25:20 PM »

I see that Ant Renamer was briefly mentioned earlier. I have been really impressed by this one and have been using it for quite some time. Admittedly I haven't tried many others, but I think that is because I've been very happy with Ant. So hopefully it can make it to the list in the top post, and perhaps into the review itself.

You're asking for a mini-review, Zaine, I'll do my best and will try to do a write up of what I like about this one at least.

First of all, unlike some other renamers it hasn't got a big, cluttered interface where everything is forced upon the user at once, in a big window with lots of information. Ant uses a different approach with two different main views, Files view and Actions view, that you toggle between. I find the application interface very thoughtfully laid out, with a focus on user friendliness that should work well for both beginners and advanced users.

You start by adding files through drag & drop or by using standard Windows "open" menus. Sort files using the columns or by dragging files to the desired position if the order is important, ie for number renaming.

Then change to Actions view where you select the desired action to take. By default you choose only one action from a list. I think this is a good way to approach file renaming, because most users will only have one thing they want to change about a set of files at a given time. While configuring your action you will see a live preview of the what this action will do to the file that is currently selected in the Files view. Also displayed are notes and tips about what the current action can do. Text boxes have a drop down feature where you can select previously entered strings. Neat.

Of course you can also do complex renaming with several actions at once by clicking to activate the batch feature. If you have a procedure that you want to repeat regularly you can save the batch actions to a file (xml-style) and load it later on a different file set. Personally, I like this approach to do complex file renaming by sort of reducing all the changes you want to make into a comprehensible list of separate changes. Saved batch files can be used with the program as a command line tool by loading files and performing the actions in the batch file on them - I haven't tried this myself though.

There is also a third view, the Log view, where it's possible to see all the renaming operations that was performed. Here you can filter to show only errors or successes in the renaming operation.

One thing that deserves mention is the use of keyboard shortcuts throughout the program, for me that is welcome in any program. Tip: Hit F5 when in Actions view to see an update of the renaming previews in Files view.

Ant Renamer is one of the programs where the author has taken the time to provide a well-written help file. Even if I could figure out most of the program without it as a new user without file renaming experiences, I still found it a pleasure to see such a good overview of the functions in the help file.

There is now a new beta version out with RegExp support. I've read about RegExp before, looks interesting, slightly difficult but very powerful. Guess I'll have to check it out eventually.

The program is freeware (GPL), sure doesn't hurt either.

I hope you will find time to check it out as a candidate to the review, Zaine. You obviously have a lot more experience than me with file renamers, so I'm a little curious as to how you feel my favorite stacks up with the best of them. Unfortunately I don't see Ant Renamer mentioned very often when people recommend file renamers, but I suspect this is not related to the quality of the software, but rather to low publicity.

By the way, big thanks to allen for letting me know about Oscar's Renamer, great tool. A mighty fine complement to Ant Renamer for my uses.
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zridling
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« Reply #36 on: April 08, 2006, 11:50:07 PM »

Wow, thanks womtag, that helps out a lot, and I'm happy to add it. I hope you added this to the Mini-Review section, too!
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zridling
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« Reply #37 on: April 08, 2006, 11:54:40 PM »

Just noticed, we're up to 18 solid programs, great!
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rjbull
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« Reply #38 on: April 09, 2006, 02:27:14 PM »

For example, BRU cannot rename files using mp3 track information. Its developer, Jim Willsher, holds that mp3 extraction slows down the program too much and recommends specific mp3 renamers for that purpose.

That's not a bug, that's a feature  smiley

Quote
Jan Falke's RenameFiles utility. When you open it up, it does 90% of what most people do with a renamer on the fly. I love his description of Preview: (for cowards!)

A place I go on holiday has several coats of arms in its stained-glass windows.  The motto of one of them reads "Non timeo sed caveo," which my rusty Latin translates as "I am not afraid, but I am cautious"  cheesy

I think you're right that Jan Falke's program does most of what most people want, but it isn't as visual as some of the others.  I mostly now use the multi-rename tool built into Total Commander, which remembers the "macros" for inserting text at specific points, remembers search-and-replace strings, etc., in pull-downs  This seems similar to what's been said above about Ant Renamer, which I haven't tried.

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zridling
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« Reply #39 on: April 09, 2006, 10:42:13 PM »

RJ, your comment is quite common in my email this week. Seems most people use other tools, viz., their file managers like Total Commander or Directory Opus to rename files on the fly. This fact of utilization will need to be noted within the review, I believe.
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« Reply #40 on: April 10, 2006, 04:29:46 AM »

RJ, your comment is quite common in my email this week. Seems most people use other tools, viz., their file managers like Total Commander or Directory Opus to rename files on the fly. This fact of utilization will need to be noted within the review, I believe.

The Epilog to The AWK Programming Language by Aho, Kernighan and Weinberger says they were astonished at seeing people writing AWK scripts that were more than one page long, as they had conceived of AWK as one-liners or very short scripts.  It seemed that
Quote
rather than writing in a "real" programming language, [people] were stretching the tools they liked.

Perhaps the built-in, ready-to-hand, familiar tools are adequate for most people, most of the time?

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zridling
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« Reply #41 on: April 10, 2006, 04:42:31 PM »

I think so. For example, I download massive photo sets from models' galleries, which are updated once or twice a week. Problem is, you either have to rename the files or put them all in separate folders most of the time. I'd rather just rename them with the padded number, such as "file_0001.jpg, file_0002.jpg, file_0003.jpg," etc. The other renaming I do most of the time is cleaning up file names. So it makes sense that if a renamer is integrated into another program, such as your file manager, that you would look to use that because it's so close at hand.
« Last Edit: April 11, 2006, 04:23:33 PM by zridling » Logged

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« Reply #42 on: April 11, 2006, 04:26:51 PM »

JUST AN UPDATE. It looks like we have most all of the renamers listed for this review, and I can begin working with them one by one. If anyone else knows of a good or great renamer application, share it with us here. As always, thanks for your help with this.
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« Reply #43 on: April 13, 2006, 03:48:50 AM »

Added NIYoW, Name It Your Way as perhaps the last app considered for the review. That gives us an even 20 apps and we'll see if we can make it interesting.
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« Reply #44 on: April 13, 2006, 08:31:59 AM »

Perhaps the built-in, ready-to-hand, familiar tools are adequate for most people, most of the time?
Most of the familiar tools are adequate for most people all the time - because they just don't care to search for a better solution.
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« Reply #45 on: April 13, 2006, 08:34:00 AM »

Added NIYoW, Name It Your Way as perhaps the last app considered for the review. That gives us an even 20 apps and we'll see if we can make it interesting.
I'm really looking forward to the review! While I don't rename files every day such a tool can save huge amounts of time and reduce your stress-level at the same moment.

smiley
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superboyac
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« Reply #46 on: April 13, 2006, 10:43:07 AM »

Quote
RJ, your comment is quite common in my email this week. Seems most people use other tools, viz., their file managers like Total Commander or Directory Opus to rename files on the fly. This fact of utilization will need to be noted within the review, I believe.

True.  I use Directory Opus for my renaming needs, and befor that, I used Total Commander.  I'm sure, that the standalone apps are more powerful, but since I've used it, I've never had to go beyond the ability of Dopus or TC. 
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zridling
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« Reply #47 on: April 13, 2006, 04:40:57 PM »

Once again, superboyac makes a good point that must be acknowledged: What tool do people use to rename files? I'll include a brief section on this, and superboyac, et al. if you will send me a note on what you like, and what is good about the renaming component of Total Commander, Directory Opus, and so on, I'd be grateful for the info.

Although its another review of utility software (for me), like brotherS made me think about, I think a file renamer gives you direct control over your files and folders. If you know where to find it or its name, then you can use either your desktop search client or a utility like FileLocator Pro to get there fast.
« Last Edit: April 13, 2006, 04:44:38 PM by zridling » Logged

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superboyac
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« Reply #48 on: April 13, 2006, 06:27:57 PM »

Yeah, sometimes I find myself to be a little hypocritical.  If you read my posts, you'll often see me violently opposed to all-in-one applications, and I always generalize that single-task power applications are always better than one application that tries to do everything.  That's just the nature of things.  You can't do everything well, but it's easy to do one thing really well.

So, I guess I sound like a hypocrite when I say I use my file manager as my file renamer.  But, upon closer inspection, it's not as hypocritical as it seems.  I still believe that a standalone file renamer is probably much better than what is available in DOpus or TC.  But the reason I use DOpus is because it does what I need it to do perfectly well, so I have no desire to explore or even use a separate application for it.

To answer your request, zridling, I'll describe how the renaming works in DOpus.  Once you open the window, you have all sorts of options of how to rename the file using regxp, or just search and replace, or series numbering, etc.  Basic stuff.  There's a preview pane to see the results before you commit.  It's pretty powerful, I would say I've only used about 10% of what is capable of doing.  I can't even relate to people who need something more powerful, but I acknowledge that my needs are much simpler than some other people.

The renamer for Total Commander is pretty much the same as DOpus, it seems like they are equally powerful.  I'll say this much, I thought the interface for TC was slightly easier to use and understand that DOpus.  That's about all I can say about file renaming from my experience.
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zridling
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« Reply #49 on: April 13, 2006, 10:05:04 PM »

...the reason I use DOpus is because it does what I need it to do perfectly well,....

Exactly, and if it fills your needs, then it is perfect for you. Many people search for alternatives to programs like Microsoft Word because they don't need to write dissertations; just memos, letters, and short documents. Thanks for the description, that's a great help. I just noticed that the Rename feature in Directory Opus is so powerful because it not only uses Regular Expressions, but autofills them for you! Freakin' awesome! It even allows you to input and save any other form of renaming you want if you want.

          

         
« Last Edit: April 13, 2006, 10:11:09 PM by zridling » Logged

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