File renaming utility

Perform sophisticated bulk-renaming tasks but budget time to understand the cryptic interface.

Bulk Rename Utility takes the pain out of renaming and managing files and folders, assuming you can get past the frightening user interface. This free application can handle everything from simple search-and-replace to Perl 5 regular expressions, but it suffers from a cluttered user interface that fails to offer tool tips and, somewhat incredibly, abbreviates labels and button names.

The application window offers 13 primary functions, including inserting and appending text, auto-numbering, cropping characters, and moving/copying files. Additional menu bar drop-downs let you set global options, such as time stamp formats, color-coding, and activity logging. Bulk Rename Utility tries to help by offering a comprehensive Help file (although it hardly sets the mind at ease when the Getting Started section starts with DO NOT PANIC!!!! in large red letters). The application also pops Confirmation dialogs by default. But we found that experimentation was the best way to learn the program: The interface displays both the original file name along with what the end product would be if you were to make the changes you have proposed. The target file name is updated as you fill in the application's poorly labeled text fields, drop-down menus, and check boxes, but no changes are made until you click the Rename button.

Bulk Rename Utility provides a great and lightning-fast way to manipulate file and folder names in bulk. Its capability to handle file attributes, metadata, and sophisticated regular expressions make it appropriate for power users as well as those with simpler needs. Unfortunately, its poor interface means that new users will likely lack the fortitude to learn the ins and outs of this program.

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