The Perl Toolchain Summit needs more sponsors. If your company depends on Perl, please support this very important event.


rename - renames multiple files


rename [ -h|-m|-V ] [ -v ] [ -0 ] [ -n ] [ -f ] [ -d ] [ -u [enc]] [ -e|-E perlexpr]*|perlexpr [ files ]


rename renames the filenames supplied according to the rule specified as the first argument. The perlexpr argument is a Perl expression which is expected to modify the $_ string in Perl for at least some of the filenames specified. If a given filename is not modified by the expression, it will not be renamed. If no filenames are given on the command line, filenames will be read via standard input.

Examples (Larry Wall, 1992)

For example, to rename all files matching *.bak to strip the extension, you might say

        rename -- 's/\.bak$//' *.bak

To translate uppercase names to lower, you'd use

        rename 'y/A-Z/a-z/' ./*

Examples rewritten to avoid globs which could inject options.

More examples (2020)

You can also use rename to move files between directories, possibly at the same time as making other changes (but see --filename)

        rename 'y/A-Z/a-z/;s/^/my_new_dir\//' ./*.*

You can also write the statements separately (see -e/-E)

        rename -E 'y/A-Z/a-z/' -E 's/^/my_new_dir\//' -- *.*

You can use the predefined variables $a, $b in the code; for instance to create sequences of numbers

    rename -e '$a++;s/\w+/file_$a/' -- *.*


-v, --verbose

Verbose: print names of files successfully renamed.

-0, --null

Use \0 as record separator when reading from STDIN.

-n, --nono

No action: print names of files to be renamed, but don't rename.

-f, --force

Over write: allow existing files to be over-written.

--path, --fullpath

Rename full path: including any directory component. DEFAULT

-d, --filename, --nopath, --nofullpath

Do not rename directory: only rename filename component of path.

-h, --help

Help: print SYNOPSIS and OPTIONS.

-m, --man

Manual: print manual page.

-V, --version

Version: show version number.

-u, --unicode [encoding]

Treat filenames as perl (unicode) strings when running the user-supplied code.

Decode/encode filenames using encoding, if present.

encoding is optional: if omitted, the next argument should be an option starting with '-', for instance -e.


Expression: code to act on files name.

May be repeated to build up code (like perl -e). If no -e, the first argument is used as code.


Statement: code to act on files name, as -e but terminated by ';'.


No environment variables are used.


Larry Wall


mv(1), perl(1)


If you give an invalid Perl expression you'll get a syntax error.


The original rename did not check for the existence of target filenames, so had to be used with care.