By Scott Trudeau


September 12, 2007

The new school year is upon us. The year will bring new students, new experiences, and new memories. Of course you will want to preserve your memories using a digital camera.
The way digital cameras name photographs has always bugged me. DC45000.jpg offers little clue to what event was being photographed. Renaming the photo to something like soccer-001.jpg offers a more descriptive name that will also prove more helpful down the road when you want to find the photos. Of course you can use the camera to set up the file name, but have your tried navigating your camera’s preferences to do this? What a pain!
I often take multiple pictures of a single event (say…a soccer game) and the Adobe Bridge helps me easily and quickly batch rename the files.
Here’s how:
1. Open Adobe Bridge
2. Navigate to the folder that contains the images that you wish to batch rename
3. You can select all of the images (Edit > Select All) or you can be more selective by Ctrl + Clicking (CMD + Click -Mac) on specific images.
4. After you select the images that you want to include in the batch rename select Tools > Batch Rename. You can also right click (CMD + Click) on any of the selected files and choose Batch Rename.
5. The Batch Rename dialogue box will open.
6. Select your Destination Folder. I almost always use the Rename in same folder option.
7. Create a filename. I like to use a text field followed by either a date or sequenced number (or both). You can add or subtract filename choices by clicking the plus or minus buttons. Look at the bottom of the dialogue for an example of how the new filename will look.
8. The following example will create a file name that looks something like this: July_4th_2006_001.jpg
9. Don’t worry about the Options section of the dialogue. I have never had to use any of these options.
10. Click the Rename button.
11. Done! That was easy. Now…get to renaming.


  • By valerie Lapthorne - 10:02 AM on May 13, 2011  

    Has anyone any ideas please? I did all of the above but the majority of my files although renamed in Bridge, all disappeared, showing grey thumbnails with exec on them. In a list they show as UNIX executable file. Where I went wrong, I think is that I had a mix of CR2 and Tiff files in the batch and none were given a CR or Tiff extension. The first six CR images show as thumbnails although they are horizontal instead of vertical at which point it got indigestion and the remaining thumbnails are grey except for the new names. The four Tiff files are fine. Happily I have the originals backed up, but I would like to know where I went wrong and whether I can get the exec ones back again. Thanks VL

    • By Merly Cuza - 2:56 AM on August 24, 2011  

      That just happened to me on my PC. I had to create a Restore point and luckily retrieved all of the photos from a previous state.

  • By CK - 3:56 AM on August 31, 2011  

    LOL! I lost all my pictures too! Don’t try this at home!

  • By LH - 6:20 AM on September 5, 2011  

    I think I figured it out. This same problem was happening to me until I went back in and put a period at the end of the new file name. When you include the period, you can see below in the preview section of the Batch Rename window that Bridge includes the CR2/Tiff/JPG extension at the end, where before it was leaving it off. This worked for me, I hope it works for you too. Good Luck!

  • By Courtney - 5:54 AM on January 25, 2012  

    LH – you got it right! Although, I couldn’t batch rename them bc I had to put the . and JPG at the end of each name. A little work to save my photos!

    I tested and I believe the reason for this issue is because I used numbers with periods separating the dates (01.24.2011) rather than using 01242011 or jan242011 as the name. It must have triggered some kind of UNIX file extention…

    I hope this solves the mystery for all who thought their photos were lost!

  • By Jim - 7:12 PM on February 20, 2012  

    I have batch re- named several hundred files in Bridge over the years (currently using CS4) I rename to the following format


    Some of my files being renamed are .jpg and some .tiff

    Until a couple of days ago I NEVER had a problem. Now when I rename I get gray boxes in place of the images with the green letters EXEC. They can be recovered by simply changing the extension to .jpg – obviously totally impractical with a lot of files. However, I did discover that the system works if you put a period at the end of the file name as previously reported.

    My problem is I don’t care for “work arounds” without knowing what is going on. When searching the web since yesterday I find that this problem has been around for several years; yet nobody seems to know the cause. You would think that Adobe would have addressed by now.

    Would appreciate hearing from others on this.

  • By Kathy Roberts - 7:01 PM on March 20, 2012  

    When I use the batch rename, the cursor jumps to the beginning of the photos instead of leaving off where I renamed. Can you help?

  • By JDC - 7:07 PM on October 12, 2012  

    Helpful if you want to change entire name but for Professionals we like keeping the Orig File Number so when posted it matches originals. The problem is it is DSC_5677 for example.
    I want to get rid of the DSC and just name the event and date and use 5677.
    How do you only use part of original File Number?

  • By Liberonet - 5:36 PM on November 2, 2012  

    I couldn’t remember how to batch rename on bridge for a second my mind went blank, did a quick search on google and found your post and helped me out, so thanks

  • By mattdc - 9:40 PM on December 8, 2012  

    I have a quick question. I’m on Mac CS 5.5. I have a ton of files to rename and sequence, but when I pull up the bridge menu, every time it wants to start at the number I left off on.

    For example, when I rename 100 files, the next time it wants to start from 101. Is there a way to default to 1 each time? I have tried saving my profile, but to no avail.

    Just a little annoyance I would like to remedy! Thanks.

  • By Chris - 7:13 PM on May 23, 2013  

    Quick question to whoever knows: Whenever I batch rename a group of photos, the files are renamed with a space in front of whatever I want the file to be named. There is no space in front of any characters when I type in what I want, but it always shows up. With this space in front, I am not able to open the photos in certain programs. Someone please let me know if you have any solutions or ideas to try!