Rename Multiple Files Efficiently Using Excel or Google Docs

Published in: Google Docs - microsoft excel

Renaming multiples files on your Windows computer is easy. Select all the files, press F2 and type some descriptive text. Windows will append a unique sequence number to each of the file names.

That’s a fairly quick solution but not very flexible because you don’t get to specify any choices or criteria.

For instance, how do you append the current date to the filename ? Or you want to replace only certain words in the file names (like a spelling error)? Or you want files to follow a different renaming system like file-A.jpg instead of the default file(1).jpg.

To rename files in bulk more efficiently, you can either learn some complex shell scripting language (SED, AWK, Perl) or switch to something more simple   - a spreadsheet.

dos-commands Step 1: Type cmd and switch (using “cd” command) to the directory that contains the files you want to rename in bulk.

Step 2: Type “dir /b” to see a skeleton list of all files in the current directory. Copy that file list to the clipboard by selecting Mark from the contextual menu.

Step 3: The fun starts now. Fire your copy of Microsoft Excel or Google Docs Spreadsheets and paste those file names into the first spreadsheet column.

Step 4: In the blank adjacent column, add a corresponding Excel function - for instance, use SUBSTITUTE to change specific text in the filenames, use CONCATENATE() with DATE() if you want to add date to the filename, etc.

rename multiple files

*For more complex criteria, you may want to put the file extensions in a separate column by splitting the file name using period (.) as the delimiter.

Step 5: Your source filenames are now in column A while the Destination files are in column B - we will now convert this into a DOS rename command.

In Column C, type the following Excel formula and your command is ready to be executed.

\=CONCATENATE(“ren “,A1, ” ”, B1)


Copy paste the same formula across all cells in column C for which you have corresponding values in Column A or B.

We are almost done. Copy all the values from column C to the clipboard and paste them inside the DOS window or better still, put them inside a new text file and give it a name like rename.bat.

rename-batch-commandExecute and all files that match the criteria are renamed instantly.

More useful DOS Commands

📮  Subscribe to our Email Newsletter for Google tips and tutorials!
Published in: Google Docs - microsoft excel

Looking for something? Find here!

Meet the Author

Web Geek, Google Developer Expert
Amit Agarwal

Amit Agarwal is a Google Developer Expert in Google Workspace and Google Apps Script. He holds an engineering degree in Computer Science (I.I.T.) and is the first professional blogger in India. He is the developer of Mail Merge for Gmail and Document Studio. Read more on Lifehacker and YourStory

Get in touch

Google Add-ons

Do more with your Gmail and GSuite account

We build bespoke solutions that use the capabilities and the features of Google Workspace for automating business processes and driving work productivity.

  1. Mail Merge with Attachments
    Send personalized email to your Google Contact with a Google Sheet and Gmail
  2. Save Emails and Attachments
    Download email messages and file attachments from Gmail to your Google Drive
  3. Google Forms Email Notifications
    Send email notifications to multiple people when a new Google Form is submitted
  4. Document Studio
    Create beautiful pixel perfect documents merging data from Google Sheets and Google Forms
  5. Creator Studio for Google Slides
    Turn your Google Slides presentations into animated GIFs and videos for uploading to YouTube