Rename and Shrink Photos in Bulk

A week or two back a client handed me 600+ photos that they needed placed on their website (don’t ask), and after a conversation which involved them basically venting about how bloody hard it was to manage that many photos and get the naming and sizing right, I endeared myself by telling them this first little trick AFTER they had finished the renaming job ( I would have told them before but that would have involved them telling me what they wanted to do do BEFORE they started).

Using Windows Xp Tools

So to rename a bunch of photos in Window XP, you use this trick give a to every picture in the folder.

  • Open the folder containing the pictures and select View > Thumbnails.
  • Click the last picture in the folder you want to rename, hold down the Shift key, and click the first picture; this will select them all. (Me, I just hit CTRL A )
  • Rightclick on the first photo, and select Rename from the drop-down menu.

Windows XP will highlight the filename for the first photo, enabling you to be a tad more creative in the naming than DSC1001 (eg. Presentation). After you type in the name, hit return or you can click the white space outside of the photo and watch as Windows applies the name with a sequential number to each picture in the folder. What you end up with looks like Presentation (1).jpg Presentation (2).jpg etc

So now we have them all renamed to something meaningful with consecutive numbers. That’s all well and good but we need to resize them

Hands up everyone who has had a “mate” send them a photo that has clogged up your mail box for an hour or two while the happy snap of them being stupid downloads? That’s what I thought. EVERYONE.

Now for the biggy, hands up everyone who has sent a “mate” a happy snap of their cat, car, kid whatever and clogged up the mail box for an hour or two. Thought so.

Digital photographs are made up of pixels(it’s short for “picture elements”) and a pixel is a single point in an image. The total image resolution of a photo taken with a three-megapixel camera, for example, is about 2,048 by 1,536 pixels, which, when multiplied together, is more than three million pixels working together to make up the picture.

Your monitor is also measured in pixels, and most monitors these days use screen resolutions of 800 by 600 pixels; 1,024 by 768 pixels; or 1,152 by 864 pixels. All of these resolutions are somewhat smaller than a three-megapixel photo, so when the photo is displayed at its full size, it exceeds the monitor’s screen size.

But both Windows XP and Mac OS X give you the opportunity to shrink photos to resolutions that fit better on a computer screen, like 800 by 600 pixels.

In Windows XP, click to select the photos you want to send from the My Pictures folder or wherever you store the pics. After you have selected the pictures you want to send, click in the “E-mail selected items” option in the lefthand task pane or you can just right-click with the mouse and select “Send to Mail Recipient” from the pop-up menu.

You will get a box popup, click the button next to “Make all my pictures smaller” and then on the link for “Show more options” to see a selection of resolutions to use for the picture attachments. Choose one and click O.K.

You can now send photo’s that aren’t going to clog the mail box.

Google’s Picasa photo-management program for Windows and Linux (free to download at can also shrink photo attachments.

Using Irfanview To Process Photos

But for an all round “Swiss Army knife” image processing tool, my all time favourite is IrfanView

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

I have a permanent page about how to resize photos over on the right .

Irfanview will also rename and resize the photo’s in one shot under it’s BATCH functions. Here are some quick and dirty directions for doing a batch rename using Irfanview…

  • File Menu > Batch Conversion/Rename
  • The Batch conversion window will pop-up:
  • Where it says Look in: Select individual files you want to convert or you click on the Add all button to the left of the files window
  • Under Output form: Check that JPG-JPEG Files is selected
  • Under Work as: Batch rename radio button is selected
  • Under Output directory: Click the Browse button and find the directory on your hard drive where you want to save your renamed images, such as C:\My Pictures\
  • Under Rename Options: Ensure Copy input files to output directory radio button is selected
  • Change Namepattern### to desired name, such as Presentation###
  • Under Starting index: Ensure you change the number if you want to start at anything other than 1 (i.e., if yopu want to start at 1000 Presentation###
  • Under Input Files: Click the Start button.
  • When complete, click the Exit button

You can find a flash tutorial with screen dumps and stuff over at the Coppermine Photo Gallery site or a more static version at mysticmusings that will give you an idea (if all that text has turned your brain to mush… I know it did mine just writing it).

A great tool, highly recommended.


I forgot tpo put in a Linux version… (my bad). I found this great post over at Rhosgobel: Radagast’s home. Radagast uses Gimp, Image Magick, Nautilus and a stone cold killer script.. Very cool and seems to work a treat.

Another UPDATE

I finally found in scrapbook where I read the XP Rename tip thanks Derrick

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