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Photo Tips > Manage & Rename Files

No More Shoeboxes

Let's say you went to Paris in 2005.

Then, in 2010, you want to find a particular photograph from the trip.

A few years ago, you could easily have sorted through packs of prints, looking for the photograph.

They may have been stored in a shoebox.

Today, your digital photographs are in folders with arcane names.


And, each folder is full of unlabeled photographs.


What's what?

Folders and files like those above may not be a problem now.

But five years from now, you're going to have tens of thousands of photographs on your computer.

Get organized now!

Getting organized is also called digital assest management.


There's software to help you.


You can use Google's free software, Picasa (Windows and Mac).


You can use Lightroom (Windows and Mac) to organize and edit your photographs.

Photoshop Elements

Photoshop Elements has the Organizer.

The Organizer is found in all Windows versions of Photoshop Elements, and in Mac versions starting with 9.0.

Mac versions of Photoshop Elements previous to 9.0 have Bridge.


If you use a Window computer, try the following software.


Better File Rename

Camera Bits Photo Mechanic


Extensis Portfolio

PhotoMesa Free


If you use a Mac, you can use iPhoto or Aperture from Apple.

Better File Rename

Camera Bits Photo Mechanic

Extensis Portfolio

Your Own System

Or, you can devise your own system.

For example . . .

Step 1: Create Folders

Create a master folder, and save your photographs chronologically by month.


You can also use the numbering system that your camera gives your photographs.

Use the number of the first photograph in the folder as the name of the folder.

Some cameras reset back to 1 when you insert an empty memory card.

Often, they can be set to continuous numbering.

Step 2: Edit & Move

You may want to copy your photographs to subject folders as you edit them.


Renaming Programs

Let's say you have 2,000 photographs of Paris taken in 2010.

They were labeled by your camera as DSC_1000 through DSC_3000.

They're not easily identified.

You can rename them to become Paris_2010_1000 Paris_2010_3000.

The above programs allow you to rename your photograph files.

If you use Photoshop Elements, go to Batch Processing and Batch Processing with AutoHotkey.

They're are also many programs just for renaming, many of which are free.

Ant Renamer (Windows)

From the website:

Ant Renamer is a free (opensource) program that makes easier the renaming of lots of files and folders by using specified settings. It supports Unicode names.

Bulk Rename Utility (Windows)

From the website:

Bulk Rename Utility is a utility which allows you to easily rename files and directories, based upon extemely flexible criteria. Add date-stamps, replace numbers, insert strings, convert case, add auto-numbers, process folders and loads more!

Breeze Downloader Pro (Windows)

From the website:

The photographers tool for automated transfer of images from card reader or camera to PC, renaming and storing them with own choice of file and directory names.

IrfanView (Windows)

From the website:

IrfanView is a very fast, small, compact and innovative FREEWARE (for non-commercial use) graphic viewer for Windows 9x/ME/NT/2000/XP/2003.

Siren (Windows)

From the website:

Siren is a freeware file renaming utility.

Rename-It! (Windows)

From the website:

Define some filters to apply to a list of files, which can be in multiple folders, to rename the whole list at once.