Renaming Photos with digiKam

Giving your photos meaningful names makes it significantly easier to keep tabs on them. Of course, renaming each and every photo by hand is not particularly practical, especially if you take dozens or even hundreds of photos each day. This is when digiKam’s Rename feature can come in rather handy. You can use it to define rather advanced renaming rules and apply them to multiple photos in one fell swoop.

To put the Rename tool to practical use, select the photos you want to rename and press the Rename button in the main toolbar (you can also choose Image | Rename or press F2). The Rename dialog window offers a vast range of renaming options which allow you to create complex renaming rules. But you might want to start with a simple rule that renames photos using the date and time data. To do this, press the Date & Time button and select Image from the Source drop-down list. This will pull the date and time info from the photo’s metadata.

Next, you have to specify a date/time format by selecting the appropriate item from the Format drop-down list. If none of the available formatting options satisfy you, select the Custom item, which lets you construct the formatting string manually. For example, the yyyyMMdd-hhmmss formatting string produces file names like 20100531-173501 and 20100701-110111, while the MMM-dd-yyyy-dddd string generates names like May-31-2010-Monday and June-01-2010-Tuesday. The clever part is that you can immediately see the result of the renaming string right below the Format field. For a full list of available formatting options, check the official Qt documentation.

Besides date and time, the Rename dialog window offers a few other useful options. The Camera button, for example, allows you to add the camera model to the file name. This can be useful if you are using several cameras and you want to quickly identify photos taken with a specific camera. The Metadata button gives you access to EXIF and other photo metadata you can use in renaming rules.

Next to the field where you enter the renaming rule, there is a button that lets you specify so-called modifiers or actions that will be applied to the file names during the renaming operation. For example, using the Change Case modifiers, you can convert all file names to lower or uppercase, or capitalize the first letter. Here is a quick overview of other useful modifiers:

Trimmed – Removes leading, trailing, and extra spaces.
Unique – Adds unique numerical values to identical file names.
Replace – Performs search and replace. The modifier supports regular expressions.
Range – Lets you specify a specific fragment of the file name for the renaming rule. For example, the {5-} modifier in the [file]{5-} rule removes the first four characters of the file name, so IMAG0113.jpg, IMAG0351.jpg, and IMAG0573.jpg are renamed to 0113.jpg, 0351.jpg, and 0573.jpg

While digiKam offers a wide range of other features that can help you to keep tabs on your photos, it’s worth experimenting with the Rename tool. This way, you can quickly locate or identify specific photos even when digiKam is not running.

Freelance tech writer covering Linux and open source software.

Tagged with: ,
Posted in Open Source, Photography, Software
5 comments on “Renaming Photos with digiKam
  1. bonoboslr says:

    This is cool. I have compared almost all photo management applications both free and paid for, and digiKam is right up there. In terms of management of your photos, imho it comes second only to Lightroom.

  2. Andi Clemens says:

    It should be mentioned that the modifiers work for all the renaming options, not only the [file] option.

    But anyway… as always, nice article!
    :-)

    Andi

  3. Jason says:

    This might be too crazy, but it would be cool if it could look up nearby POI based on geotagged images

  4. jospoortvliet says:

    Make sure this ends up on userbase plz ;-)

  5. LMB says:

    Hi, thanks for the plugin, but I have a problem with {rename}: filenames are black (e.g. not red, no error), but the OK button is grayed. If this is a bug, then I’ll add it to bugs, but please tell me if I’m not doing something wrong.

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