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.