Five Ways To Rename Files On a Mac

You can rename a file many different ways on a Mac. In the Finder, you can click the file name after a file is selected, press the Return key, or choose File, Rename. You can also rename files in the app that you are using to view or edit it. You can click on the name in the title bar or choose File, Rename. You can rename files in the Finder or an app and the other will understand the change and follow along without a problem.
Video Transcript / Captions
Closed captioning for this video is available on YouTube: Five Ways To Rename Files On a Mac.

When users switch from Windows to Mac sometimes they have the question, how do you rename files? There are several ways to do it on the Mac. One of them is pretty much the same as how you do it on Windows.

So here I am in the Finder and I've got a file here called Letter.pdf. I'm going to select that. Then you can see the name has a highlight on it. Now if I click again, right on the name, you can see now I'm editing the name. It automatically just gives you the portion of the name to left of the dot. In other words not including the extension. If you want to include the extension you can, of course, select the entire thing by clicking and dragging. Or you can use Command A, to select all. So you can rename the entire thing, including the extension, if you want.

But there are other ways to do it as well. For instance, I can select a file and instead of having to click very carefully on the name I can simply hit the return key. Now in Windows I know that opens up the file or tries to open up the document. But here on Mac it actually brings you into a file renaming mode and you can type the new name.

In addition once you have a file selected you can go to File, Rename and select that as well. It's a lot easier to just hit Return or to click again there. If you click too quickly sometimes it's counted as a double click. So you want to make sure you click once, and then click again with purpose with a little space between the clicks.

There's another way to rename files on the Mac which is extremely handy. You can do it while you're actually working with the file. So I've opened it up and I can rename it now by going to the title bar up here. I can click in there and it comes up with Name, Tags, and other things. I can actually rename it here.

Now the cool thing is I'm actually renaming the file while it's opened. So I'm working on it, I'm editing it, I'm viewing it, and doing whatever and I change the name. Notice that it changes the name right here as well. So there will be no conflict with this. Changing the name while you have it open isn't going to mess anything up. As a matter of fact, not only can you change the name, but you look and you see where it says Where, I can actually move to another location while I'm working on the document on a Mac and it won't conflict with anything. I'll be able to continue working with the file while it's open. The Finder keeps up with it. Everything works fine.

So there are several different ways to rename files on your Mac. You can also go to File, Rename in the app that you're working on it on. So I'm in Preview here. So I can go and rename and you can see it selects it there at the top. I can now change it and the change is reflected there in the Finder.

In addition, if I were to have renamed this in the Finder here while I'm working on it, you can see it updates here in the Dock. It doesn't trip up the app by renaming it outside of the app. So I've renamed it outside of the app. The app is smart enough to know there's a new name and everything is fine.

Comments: 5 Responses to “Five Ways To Rename Files On a Mac”

    Ryan Smith
    2 years ago

    Would you please do a videos, or point me to video on how to rename multiple files at the same time.

    Richard Fuhr
    2 years ago

    A sixth way to rename a file on a Mac is to use the Terminal utility, which provides you with a Unix command line environment. To rename oldname.txt to newname.txt invoke the mv command, using the form: mv oldname.txt newname.txt

    Brad Smith
    2 years ago

    I rename files often but had no idea about the ‘Return Key’ option. Fantastic. Thanks Gary.

    2 years ago

    And another way is to use Get Info, in the finder window or on the desktop, and change the name in the Info panel that pops up.

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