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File Name Replacement Utility

May 05, 2015

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Airfield Models ( Name Replacement Utility

The File Name Replacement Utility works in a similar fashion to the replace feature of a word processor.  It allows you to select groups of files and replace characters in the file names with other characters.

I’ve ripped my entire CD collection to my portable hard drive because my component CD player died and my laptop is now connected to my amplifier.  Other than the disadvantage of my laptop being a very expensive CD player, I have the advantage of never having to change CDs.

Unfortunately, some of the software I used to rip my CDs gave them very strange titles that didn’t match the titles from the original CD.

I did an extensive internet search for a utility that would do what this one does and couldn’t find anything.  File renaming utilities are available in abundance — some better than others — but they all do essentially the same thing — rename a group of files to have the same name with sequential numbers.

What I needed was a utility that would strip away or replace certain parts of file names while leaving the rest intact.  Renaming files manually gets very tedious very fast.

Characters in file names can be removed by entering the characters you want removed in the “Replace This” box and not entering anything in the “With This” box.

You can replace underscores between words with spaces in one or a group of file names in seconds.  You can strip away prefixes to a group of files just as quickly.  You can perform several distinct replacement operations in one shot as described in the section Multiple Replacement Operations on the Same Files.

This is a freeware utility application for Microsoft Windows versions 9x through XP.  It has not been tested on Windows Vista.  This utility is as simple to use as possible.  It is supplied “as is” with no warranty for its use, misuse or any damage to or loss of files on your system or any other damage or discomfort it may cause in your life.

The primary purpose of this utility is to correct file names of media (audio, video, image and document) files.  Do not use this utility on system files or files of installed software unless you enjoy reinstalling operating systems and software.

I strongly suggest that you back up files you intend to rename before you use this utility.  If things don’t turn out like you want you can restore the backup and try again.


Using the File Name Replacement Utility

First and foremost, if you have any concerns about this utility or renaming choices you plan to make, click the Preview button first.  It will show you the original filenames and the new file names but the actual files will not be renamed.  You can choose to continue with the renaming operation or cancel it if you don’t like the results — no harm done.

When you select a file in the “Before” list in the Preview Window, the corresponding renamed file in the “After” list will be highlighted.  This is particularly helpful if you have selected a large group of files and you want to see how an individual file will be affected.

Example: You ripped a CD to your hard drive and ended up with song titles like this:

Depeche Mode - 01 - Master And Servant (Black And Blue Mix).mp3

Depeche Mode - 02 - Strangelove (Pain Mix).mp3

Depeche Mode - 03 - Behind The Wheel (Shep Pettibone Remix).mp3

Depeche Mode - 04 - Route 66 (Beatmasters).mp3

Depeche Mode - 05 - Everything Counts (Bomb The Bass).mp3

Depeche Mode - 06 - Personal Jesus (Pump Mix).mp3

Depeche Mode - 07 - Dangerous (Hazchemix).mp3

Depeche Mode - 08 - Enjoy The Silence (Bass Line Mix).mp3

Follow these steps to correct the song titles:

  1. Type “Depeche Mode – “ (without the quotes) in the "Replace This" box.
  2. Leave the "With This" box empty (clear any text or spaces).
  3. Select the File Name Case and Extension Case options you want.
  4. Select the files you want to apply the changes to.
  5. Click the Preview or Replace button.

This is how the files will be named in a matter of seconds:

01 - Master And Servant (Black And Blue Mix).mp3

02 - Strangelove (Pain Mix).mp3

03 - Behind The Wheel (Shep Pettibone Remix).mp3

04 - Route 66 (Beatmasters).mp3

05 - Everything Counts (Bomb The Bass).mp3

06 - Personal Jesus (Pump Mix).mp3

07 - Dangerous (Hazchemix).mp3

08 - Enjoy The Silence (Bass Line Mix).mp3

To replace underscores with spaces, type an underscore in the “Replace This” box and a space in the “With This” box.  Select the files and click Replace.

  • Original File Name: 01 - Master_And_Servant_(Black_And_Blue_Mix).mp3
  • New File Name: 01 - Master And Servant (Black And Blue Mix).mp3

You do not have to enter anything in the “With This” box, but there must be text entered in the “Replace This” box because there is no such thing as a null character in a file name and thus nothing would be replaced.


Selecting Files

If the files you want to work with don’t show up in the file list, be sure to select the correct type of file from the file type box below the file list. If the type of file you want to change isn’t listed in the box, you can type asterisk dot whatever to find the files you want to work with. A single asterisk (*) finds all files except hidden files.

Select or de-select multiple files by dragging with your mouse or holding the Ctrl key while selecting files with your mouse.


File Extensions

This utility does not rename file extensions. If you enter “mp3” in the “Replace This” box, it will not change .mp3 file extensions.

If you select a file named mp3.mp3 and you enter mp3 in the “Replace This” box and enter “R2D2” in the “With This” box the file will be renamed, R2D2.mp3.


Changing Text Case

There are several options for the text case of the file name and file extension:

  • Don’t Change
  • Lower Case
  • Upper Case
  • Proper Case

I like file names to be in proper case (the first letter of each word is capitalized) and I like file extensions to be lower case. Note that Proper Case isn’t always “proper.” Words such as, “the”, “and”, “of”, etc. should be in lower case unless they are the first word of a sentence. In this application proper case capitalizes the first letter of every word. Also note that if words are not separated by a space they are not considered a separate word.

If you have these two file names and you change them both to proper case, this is what you’ll get.

File 1:

  • Before changing to proper case: a fistfull of dollars
  • After changing to proper case: A Fistfull Of Dollars

File 2:

  • Before changing to proper case: a_fistfull_of_dollars
  • After changing to proper case: A_fistfull_of_dollars (Because it’s seen as one word only the first letter is capitalized.)

The lower case and upper case options should be self explanatory every letter in the file name becomes upper or lower case per your selection.

The “Don’t Change” option will leave the text case of the file name as is. What you type in the “With This” box will be added to the file name just as you typed it (upper, lower, proper or mixed case).


Multiple Replacement Operations on the Same Files

There are likely to be instances when you will need to perform more than one replace operation to get what you want.

You can handle this one of two ways. The long way is to perform a distinct replace operation for each change you want to make.

The easy way is to enter multiple “Replace This” terms with an equal number “With This” terms. Colons (:) separate terms in both the “Replace This” and “With This” boxes. The number of colons must be identical in both boxes.

Again, you must always enter text that you want to replace. There must be text (any character that can legally be used in a file name) before and after every colon in the “Replace This” box.

Replacements occur in the order entered. Each replacement operation is performed to the entire file name. Then the next operation changes the new file name, and so on until all operations you requested are complete. File names on disk are not changed until the new names are completely generated.

If file names have a prefix you want removed, underscores you want replaced with spaces and dashes you want removed you can perform three separate replace operations to make the corrections. But the easiest way is to do it is all at once.

To try it out, perform the following steps:

  1. Create a new text file on your hard drive someplace where you can find it. Give it this filename: Depeche_Mode_01 - Master_And_Servant_(Black_And_Blue_Mix).txt

  2. Type the following in the “Replace This” box. Depeche_Mode_:-:  :_

    (There are two spaces between the second and third colons)

  3. Type the following in the “With This” box. :: :

    (That's colon colon space colon space.  The last space won't be copied if you try to copy the above in your web browser so you have to manually type it in.)

  4. Navigate to the text file you created and select it.

  5. Click Preview or Rename and watch it work.

Here’s what happened:

  • “Depeche_Mode_” is replaced by nothing because there was nothing before the first colon in the “With This” box.  The term is simply stripped away.

  • “-“ is replaced by nothing because there was nothing between the first and second colons in the “With This” box.

  • Double-spaces are replaced by a single space because there was a double space between the second and third colons in the “Replace This” box and a single space between the second and third colons in the “With This” box.

  • Underscores are replaced by a single space because there was a single space after the third colon in the “With This” box.

If you're not comfortable with multiple operations then there's no reason you can't do them one at a time.

Lastly, all characters in the “With This” box must be characters that are legal for Windows file names.  If you enter any of the following characters in the “With This” box an error will be generated:

 \ / * ? “ < > |


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Copyright © 2007 Paul K. Johnson