Ubuntu: Changing extension of multiple files in Ubuntu 12.04


As the title says, how can I change the extension of every file in a directory in Ubuntu? I've seen some examples use rename etc etc but I get an error (Unable to locate package rename) and it's not accessible through apt-get.

As an additional, I don't actually know the original file type! It's data that's been copied from the file system of Hadoop to the local drive and I need them all to be in .txt format.

If it makes a difference, I'm running Ubuntu 12.04 in Oracle Virtual Box

Edit: Output of: ls -l /usr/bin/rename /etc/alternatives/rename

amartin24@ubuntu-amartin24:~/TwitterMining/JSONTweets$ ls -l /usr/bin/*rename* /etc/alternatives/rename  ls: cannot access /etc/alternatives/rename: No such file or directory  -rwxr-xr-x 1 root root 10392 Mar 30  2012 /usr/bin/rename.ul  


You could cd to the directory in question and execute something similar to this:

find -L . -type f -name "*.oldextension" -print0 | while IFS= read -r -d '' FNAME; do      mv -- "$FNAME" "${FNAME%.oldextension}.newextension"  done  

Or if the files don't have any extension at all:

find -L . -type f -print0 | while IFS= read -r -d '' FNAME; do      mv -- "$FNAME" "${FNAME%}.newextension"  done  

In your case you would have to replace newextension with txt.

Someone more proficient with bash might be able to break this down better. Please feel free to edit my answer in that case.

Original description:

1) It will rename just the file extension (due to use of ${FNAME%.so}.dylib). All the other solutions using ${X/.so/.dylib} are incorrect as they wrongly rename the first occurrence of .so in the filename (e.g. x.so.so is renamed to x.dylib.so, or worse, ./libraries/libTemp.so-1.9.3/libTemp.so is renamed to ./libraries/libTemp.dylib-1.9.3/libTemp.so - an error).

2) It will handle spaces and any other special characters in filenames (except double quotes).

3) It will not change directories or other special files.

4) It will follow symbolic links into subdirectories and links to target files and rename the target file, not the link itself (the default behaviour of find is to process the symbolic link itself, not the file pointed to by the link).


Bash rename extension recursive - stackoverflow, answered by aps2012.


The rename command is already installed, you don't need to add anything else.

rename takes Perl code as its first argument. Most concrete use cases of renaming consist of a regexp replacement: s/REGEXP/REPLACEMENT/. To remove the existing extension, replace everything starting at the last . character.

rename 's/\.[^.]*$/.txt/' /path/to/directory/*  

If your files have no extension (no . in their name), you can either use $ (which matches the end of the file name) as the regexp, or append .txt to the name.

rename '$_ = "$_.txt"'  /path/to/directory/*  

This doesn't change the content of the files, it only renames them. If your data isn't in the format you want, that's a completely unrelated problem.


I think you can use this simple bash script


#!/bin/bash  for file in *  do    mv -- "${file}" "${file%.*}.txt"  done  

this script works for both cases with extension or without


GUI solution


There is a really easy to use and powerful GUI tool in the Ubuntu Software Center to rename batches of files, pyRenamer.


sudo apt-get install pyrenamer  




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I have this script. I know it is not dummy-prove, namely while handling files with spaces. That is why I run detox at the begining.

#!/bin/bash  #   detox *   # uncomment if you want to get rid of spaces and funny characters      script=$(basename $0)  if  [ -z "$1" ] || [ "$1" == "-h" ] || [ "$1" == "--help" ]; then      clear         echo "Script for adding an extension to files without extension"      echo "---------------------------------------------------------"      echo -e "\n Usage:"      echo -e "   $script extension\n"      echo -e "Exampli gratia: \n The command:"      echo "      $script txt"      echo -e "   will rename:\n      FileWithoutExtension -> FileWithoutExtension.txt\n"    else  for file in $(ls -p -I '*.*' | grep -v '/$') # excludes direcotires      do       mv -iv "$file" "$file.$1"      done  fi  


If you have a bunch of files without extensions at all (like ./out_1, ./out_2, out_3, ... ) :

cd YOUR_DIRECTORY_HERE  ls | xargs -i{} mv {} {}.YOUR_EXTENSION_HERE  


ls | xargs -i{} mv {} {}.md  

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