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macrumors newbie
Original poster
Sep 12, 2015
Hi there,

I want to create an AppleScript to rename a selection of files that have the following pattern:
"YYYY-MM-DD [file name referring to content, variable in length] HH-MM-SS.pdf"

(with some of the files lacking the time stamp at the end, others the date stamp at the beginning which in some cases has only the pattern YYYY-MM)

into the pattern "[file name].pdf"

I must admit I am new but have built some small scripts by pasting and copying and modifying what I found in several forums.

I'd procede like this:
I'd tell finder which files to grab:

Get-ChildItem C:\Path\To\Files *.pdf |

now I'd like to tell finder:
filename starts with a number
search for the delimiter " "

and select all characters before it and delete it /replace this selection with ""

then check if the 8th character before ".pdf" is a number (or otherwise if the 5th one is a number and if so to select the items between the 8th (or 5th) character and the last delimiter "." and erase them.

How would I do this practically? Who can help?



macrumors regular
Jun 4, 2009
I don't know AppleScript but it can be done easily in many other scripting systems and if you have existing AppleScript code you could call out to one of them - if not just avoid AppleScript.

This should work if you are in the same directory as the files. If not it should need only small changes to the regex.

perl -E 'foreach $name (@ARGV) { if ($name =~ /^\d{4}-\d{2}-\d{2} (.+) \d{2}-\d{2}-\d{2}.pdf$/) { rename($name, $1); } }' *

Hope that gives you something to get started.


macrumors 6502a
Feb 12, 2008
East Riding of Yorkshire, UK

It looks like a crafty regular expression would be a good place to start. As the poster above mentions, you could do it in perl. Alternatively, you could do it in a cheeky bit of shell script, which would probably be the way I would attack it. You can run shell scripts from AppleScript by using "do shell script"

Here's a Terminal command that would do it:

find /path/to/your/folder/goes/here -type f | while read theFile; do theNewFile=`echo "$theFile" | sed "s/^[0-9]\{4\}\(-[0-9]\{2\} \)\{1,2\}//g" | sed "s/ [0-9]\{2\}-[0-9]\{2\}-[0-9]\{2\}\.pdf$/\.pdf/g"`; theFolder=`dirname "$theFile"`; mv "$theFile" "$theFolder/$theNewFile"; done

You can probably do it a bit more elegantly than that. If you choose to do it from AppleScript then you'll have to escape some of the characters in the shell script... which will be "fun"... ;-)
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