A photo of a little girl in a pink raincoat standing on a path on a rainy day. The picture is framed by a computer window, with a file name in the top right corner.

When you’ve got photos stored all over the place and no consistent file names, it can make sorting through your images very fiddly. But by following a few simple naming patterns, finding the images you love will be so much quicker. It’ll make creating your next photo book from bonusprint a doddle too.

Why is naming your files important?

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Creating your own photo books with bonusprint is fun and easy to do. But with poor photo organisation, you could end up spending more time sifting through untidy files and less time on the creative bit. To make photo book creation even more enjoyable, do a bit of spring cleaning on your device or laptop to get your files in order. If you make sure they’re all saved in one place, named consistently and backed up securely, your next photo project will take no time at all.

File management made easy

Two hands, flicking through a box of neatly organised paper folders.

Renaming photos is an easy way of grouping images together. Whether it’s by date, location, subject or the style of photo you’ve taken, you can create collections of similar images that you could lift straight into a photo book. We cover more about file grouping and why it’s important in this how-to guide.

If you’ve got neat files with a similar file naming pattern, you can see them in chronological order and scroll through them easily to find what you need. Alternatively, you could search your files by keywords and find images with a similar theme or from the same event.

Choose your naming convention

A photo of a family, sat outside on the grass, smiling. The photo is framed by a computer window, with the file name 2018-08-12-Family-Trip in the top right corner.

You need to find a naming convention that works for you. There are no rules on how to create a pattern for your files, just make sure that whatever convention you choose is consistent across all your photos.

We’d suggest a naming convention that starts like this: YYYY-MM-DD

This way, all your photos will be in chronological order, which would be helpful when you want to create a yearbook. And if you move your images from one folder to another, they’ll still flow like a timeline too.

To make your images even more recognisable in a list, we’d suggest adding more detail to your naming convention. Try something like this: YYYY-MM-DD-Location-Subject

How to rename your files in batches

Two hands typing on a laptop. The person is sat at a desk, with a coffee cup, a notebook and a phone next to the laptop.

Every time you upload new images, get into the habit of renaming your photos so that you keep your folders consistent. You can make this process even easier by renaming files in batches. Here are some tips to help you do it for Windows, Mac and Android devices.

If you’ve got a bunch of files from one event, like your friends’ wedding for example or your last summer holiday, and the file names don’t need much variation, try this.

How to batch rename files for Windows

  • Make sure all the photos you want to rename are in one folder.
  • Select all the image files you need – you can click and drag; you can hold down ‘Ctrl’ and click multiple files at once; or you can click the first file, hold down the ‘Shift’ key and then click the last file to select a range of files.
  • Then you can rename the batch by right-clicking and selecting ‘rename’ from the menu, or click the ‘home’ tab at the top of the window and click ‘rename’ there.
  • When you type a name into one file and hit ‘enter’ or click elsewhere in the window, the name will replicate across all the files you selected. And to make sure you can tell them apart, you’ll see a number in brackets at the end of each file name.

How to batch rename files for Mac

  • Go into ‘finder’ and select the files you want to rename. You can click and drag to highlight files; you can hold down the ‘Command’ key and click on multiple files; or you can click the first file, hold down the ‘Shift’ key, then click the last file to select a range of images.
  • Right-click or hold ‘Command’ and click on the file selection. Then click ‘rename X items’.
  • In the box that appears, choose ‘replace text’ from the dropdown menu.
  • In the box that says ‘replace with’, enter your new file name then click ‘rename’. The name will be replicated across all the files, but they’ll be numbered at the end.

How to batch rename files for Android

A man lying on a white sofa, flicking through photos on his phone.

One of the easiest ways to batch rename files on an Android device is by downloading a free app, such as ES File Explorer. Pick an app that works best for you, but here’s a quick step-by-step of how to use this one.

  • Download ES File Explorer from Google Play, then open the app.
  • Go to the folder where you want to rename your files, then tap the files you want to rename. You’ll see a green tick on the ones you’ve selected.
  • Tap the ‘rename’ option at the bottom of the screen. You’ll then see a pop-up box with two file renaming options; ‘numbers’ and ‘original filename’.
  • ‘Numbers’ lets you add text and numbers to the end of the original file name, whereas ‘original filename’ lets you change information before the original file name.
  • When you’re done, tap ‘OK’.

These are just suggestions on how best to rename your image files. You don’t have to follow these naming conventions, but make sure you’re consistent with the naming patterns you pick.

For more tips on how to store and manage your images, check out our photo organisation guides, where you’ll find loads of easy-to-follow step-by-steps that will help you create beautiful photo books in no time.

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