rename — rename files

Examples (TL;DR)


rename [options] expression replacement file...


rename will rename the specified files by replacing the first occurrence of expression in their name by replacement.


-s, --symlink

Do not rename a symlink but its target.

-v, --verbose

Show which files were renamed, if any.

-n, --no-act

Do not make any changes; add --verbose to see what would be made.

-o, --no-overwrite

Do not overwrite existing files.  When --symlink is active, do not overwrite symlinks pointing to existing targets.

-i, --interactive

Ask before overwriting existing files.

-V, --version

Display version information and exit.

-h, --help

Display help text and exit.


Given the files foo1, ..., foo9, foo10, ..., foo278, the commands

rename foo foo00 foo?
rename foo foo0 foo??

will turn them into foo001, ..., foo009, foo010, ..., foo278. And

rename .htm .html *.htm

will fix the extension of your html files. Provide an empty string for shortening:

rename '_with_long_name' '' file_with_long_name.*

will remove the substring in the filenames.


The renaming has no safeguards by default or without any one of the options --no-overwrite, --interactive or --no-act. If the user has permission to rewrite file names, the command will perform the action without any questions.  For example, the result can be quite drastic when the command is run as root in the /lib directory.  Always make a backup before running the command, unless you truly know what you are doing.

Interactive Mode

As most standard utilities rename can be used with a terminal device (tty in short) in canonical mode, where the line is buffered by the tty and you press ENTER to validate the user input.  If you put your tty in cbreak mode however, rename requires only a single key press to answer the prompt.  To set cbreak mode, run for example:

sh -c 'stty -icanon min 1; "$0" "$@"; stty icanon' rename -i from to files

Exit Status


all requested rename operations were successful


all rename operations failed


some rename operations failed


nothing was renamed


unanticipated error occurred

See Also



The rename command is part of the util-linux package and is available from

Referenced By

gdcmgendir(1), strverscmp(3).

June 2011 util-linux