Software & Apps File Types Using Automator to Rename Files and Folders Save yourself some time by Tom Nelson Writer Tom Nelson is an engineer, programmer, network manager, and computer network and systems designer who has written for Other World Computing,and others. our editorial process Facebook Twitter Tom Nelson Updated on January 20, 2020 Justin Sullivan / Getty Images News / Getty Images File Types Design Cryptocurrency MS Office Windows Linux Google Drive Apps File Types Backup & Utilities View More Tweet Share Email Automator is Apple's application for creating workflows. You can think of it as a way to perform the same repetitive tasks over and over. Automator is often overlooked, especially by new Mac users, but it has some powerful capabilities that can make using your Mac even easier than it already is. Instructions in this article apply to Mac OS X 10.7 and newer. How to Create the Rename File and Folders Workflow The Rename File and Folders workflow in Automator can create sequential file or folder names. It's easy to use this workflow as a starting point and modify it to meet your needs. Launch the Automator application, located in the Applications folder. Select New Document in the window that pops up when you first open Automator. Older versions of Mac OS X don't have the New Document step. You can click on Application first. Click Workflow. Select Choose. In the Library list on the left of Automator, select Files & Folders. Drag the Get Specified Finder Items workflow item to the workflow pane or double-click it. Drag the Rename Finder Items workflow item to the workflow pane and drop it just below the Get Specified Finder Items workflow. A dialog box will appear, asking if you wish to add a Copy Finder Items action to the workflow. This message appears to ensure that you understand that your workflow is making changes to Finder items, and to ask whether you want to work with copies instead of the originals. In this case, click the Don't Add button. You've set up the basic workflow, but you need to make some changes to ensure it does what you want it to do. Start by clicking Options in the Get Specified Finder Items box. Place a checkmark in the Show this action when the workflow runs box. This option opens a dialog box open separately from the workflow so that it's obvious that you need to add files and folders for the flow to use. In the Rename Finder Items box, click the dropdown menu that's currently showing Add Date or Time. Select Make Sequential from the list of available options. Click the new name radio button to the right of the Add number to option. Type the root name you want to use for your files in the text box. Click the Options button at the bottom of the action box. Select the checkbox next to Show this action when the workflow runs. Adjust the other settings in the action box. These options include: where the number appears in the file name (before or after the name you typed)which number the first file you rename containswhether to separate the name from the number by a dash, period, space, underscore, or nothinghow many digits the numbers will contain The Example field gives a preview of how the files will look based on your choices. The Rename Files and Folders workflow is complete. Now it's time to run the workflow to see if it works properly. To do so, click the Run button located in the top right corner. The Get Specified Finder Items dialog box will open. Click the Add button. Browse to and select the folders you want to rename. Click Add. Click Continue. The Make Finder Item Names Sequential dialog box will open. This window contains the same options you set in the action window, but you'll have a chance to review them to ensure everything looks how you want. Click Continue to run the workflow. The workflow will run. The renamed files will appear in the same folder you selected them from. How to Save the Workflow as an Application Typically, you'll run workflows within Automator. But to make them even more convenient, you can save them to your computer as standalone applications. Here's what to do to convert this workflow into a drag-and-drop app. Click the Options button in the Get Specified Finder Items action box if the options aren't already visible. Remove the checkmark from Show this action when the workflow runs. Leave this box marked in the Rename Finder Items action box so you can customize the new file names before you run the workflow. To save the workflow, select File, Save. The keyboard shortcut is Command+S. Enter a name for the workflow and a location to save it to. Use the dropdown menu to set the file format to Application. Click the Save button. Now, you can drag and drop files onto this application icon to run the workflow automatically.