#rename #tool #command-line-tool

app pipe-rename

Rename your files using your favorite text editor

19 stable releases

1.6.5 Jun 28, 2023
1.6.2 Apr 4, 2023
1.6.1 Nov 6, 2022
1.5.0 Jul 10, 2022
1.1.4 Sep 14, 2020

#22 in Text editors

Download history 3/week @ 2024-02-16 17/week @ 2024-02-23 13/week @ 2024-03-01 12/week @ 2024-03-08 11/week @ 2024-03-15 2/week @ 2024-03-22 151/week @ 2024-03-29

177 downloads per month

MIT license

495 lines



pipe-rename takes a list of files as input, opens your $EDITOR of choice, then renames those files accordingly.


cargo install pipe-rename

This will install the renamer binary.


Usage is simple, just pipe a list of files into renamer. This will open your $EDITOR (or vim, if not set or passed with --editor), and once your editor exits it will detect which files were renamed:

ls | renamer

You can also supply filenames as positional arguments. To rename .txt files in the current directory:

renamer *.txt

The default behavior is to rename files, but you can override this. If you want to run git mv old new on each rename, you can do something like this:

ls | renamer --rename-command "git mv"


Takes a list of files and renames/moves them by piping them through an external editor

    renamer [OPTIONS] [FILES]...


    -c, --rename-command <COMMAND>
            Optionally set a custom rename command, like 'git mv'

    -e, --editor <EDITOR>
            Optionally set an editor, overriding EDITOR environment variable and default

    -f, --force
            Overwrite existing files

    -h, --help
            Print help information

    -n, --filenames-only
            Only rename filenames

    -p, --pretty-diff
            Prettify diffs

    -u, --undo
            Undo the previous renaming operation

    -V, --version
            Print version information

    -y, --yes
            Answer all prompts with yes

Caveat emptor

NB: it makes sense to be aware of the issues ls can cause in this context, depending on the ls flavor (or substitute, such as lsd, exa ...) used. Please read this document for more information.

While your shell will pass the file names individually, no matter if they contain whitespace, an ls that fails to detect the pipe and print one file name per line will cause issues. Unfortunately ls -Q also isn't a solution here, because unlike the shell -- which will strip quotes prior to passing them to invoked commands -- renamer won't handle the quoted names and will probably complain about non-existent files, too.

Advanced usage

If you have tools like GNU find at your disposal, you can also use the following method:

find -type f -exec renamer {} +

This would execute renamer with all of the files matched by find. You can use additional find predicates such as -name or -ipath to limit which files to rename. There is, however, one caveat: on large lists of files you may encounter multiple invocations of renamer -- and thus your editor -- due to how find ... -exec {} + works. It will pass as many file names on the command line as it can fit but it is limited by ARG_MAX (see getconf ARG_MAX output for how long the overall command line length can be on your system).

Other find flavors would allow the following, but it would invoke renamer -- and thus your editor -- once for every single found file:

find -type f -exec renamer {} \;

In order to sidestep this issue, you can employ xargs in conjunction with find like so (-print is implied for find):

find -type f | xargs renamer --editor vim

The part past xargs is the invocation of renamer without the file names. It exists just to demonstrate how you would pass arguments to renamer using this method.

If your files contain wonky characters you could also try:

find -type f -print0 | xargs -0 renamer --editor vim

Alas, this could be asking for trouble. If your file names contain line breaks, for example, this could confuse renamer which expects a single file name per line when re-reading the edited file.

Contributors ✨

Marcus Buffett

🤔 💻

Robin Krahl

🤔 💻 🐛

Max Timkovich

🤔 💻

Benoit de Chezelles


Oliver Schneider

🤔 💻

This project follows the all-contributors specification. Contributions of any kind welcome!


~204K SLoC