How to Search & Replace File Names


There are many reasons to search and replace parts of file names, such as replacing spaces with underscores before uploading the files to the Internet or renaming batches of MP3 files. Windows does not include this utility, but many free software applications exist with this function. This software makes the process of renaming files fast and often allows previewing so that you do not accidentally rename them in an unintended way.

  • Download an application for searching and replacing parts of file names. Choose one listed on a reputable software database that certifies all downloads, such as, to ensure that you do not download any malicious software. Three options are listed in References.

  • Install the file renamer you download. You may receive a warning asking if you wish to run the file; confirm that you want to run it.

  • Place all the files you want to run the search and replace on in a single folder.

  • Run the renamer and direct it to the folder you moved the files to.

  • Check or select all the files you want to be included in the search and rename.

  • Click on the "Find/Replace" tab. If you're using Oscar's File Renamer, click the "Replace" button. Enter the characters you want to search for in the text box next to "Find," which is called "this" in File Renamer, and the characters you want to replace them with in the text box next to "Replace," which is called "with" in File Renamer. To delete the characters, leave the "Replace" text box blank, or in File Renamer select "Remove" instead of "Replace."

  • Click "Preview" to view the changes and then "Apply" to change the file names. You will receive a message that the files have been successfully renamed. Oscar's File Renamer offers no preview; simply click on "replace all." Click "Exit" to close the program.

Tips & Warnings

  • Wild cards are denoted by an asterisk and represent any letters or numbers. For example *od could be food, good or prod. Wild cards cannot be used in the find-text box.
  • File name changes are done as soon as you click apply.
  • If you change the file extensions, the files may no longer open unless you change them back.

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  • Photo Credit success folder image by Yurok Aleksandrovich from
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