RENAME(1) User Commands RENAME(1)

rename - rename files

rename [options] expression replacement file...

rename will rename the specified files by replacing the first occurrence of expression in their name by replacement.

-s, --symlink

Do not rename a symlink but change where it points.

-v, --verbose

Show which files were renamed, if any.

-n, --no-act

Do not make any changes; add --verbose to see what would be made.

-a, --all

Replace all occurrences of expression rather than only the first one.

-l, --last

Replace the last occurrence of expression rather than the first one.

-o, --no-overwrite

Do not overwrite existing files. When --symlink is active, do not overwrite symlinks pointing to existing targets.

-i, --interactive

Ask before overwriting existing files.

-h, --help

Display help text and exit.

-V, --version

Print version and exit.

The renaming has no safeguards by default or without any one of the options --no-overwrite, --interactive or --no-act. If the user has permission to rewrite file names, the command will perform the action without any questions. For example, the result can be quite drastic when the command is run as root in the /lib directory. Always make a backup before running the command, unless you truly know what you are doing.

If the expression is empty, then by default replacement will be added to the start of the filename. With --all, replacement will be inserted in between every two characters of the filename, as well as at the start and end.

Normally, only the final path component of a filename is updated. (Or with --symlink, only the final path component of the link.) But if either expression or replacement contains a /, the full path is updated. This can cause a file to be moved between folders. Creating folders, and moving files between filesystems, is not supported.

As most standard utilities rename can be used with a terminal device (tty in short) in canonical mode, where the line is buffered by the tty and you press ENTER to validate the user input. If you put your tty in cbreak mode however, rename requires only a single key press to answer the prompt. To set cbreak mode, run for example:

sh -c 'stty -icanon min 1; "$0" "$@"; stty icanon' rename -i from to files


all requested rename operations were successful


all rename operations failed


some rename operations failed


nothing was renamed


unanticipated error occurred

Given the files foo1, ..., foo9, foo10, ..., foo278, the commands

rename foo foo00 foo?
rename foo foo0 foo??

will turn them into foo001, ..., foo009, foo010, ..., foo278. And

rename .htm .html *.htm

will fix the extension of your html files. Provide an empty string for shortening:

rename '_with_long_name' '' file_with_long_name.*

will remove the substring in the filenames.


For bug reports, use the issue tracker at

The rename command is part of the util-linux package which can be downloaded from Linux Kernel Archive

2024-07-04 util-linux 2.40.2