I have a set of files whose names contain the character *. For Example, a file name could be ***abcdef. I want to change this file name to 3_abcdef, replacing the * with the number of * that were there.

I have a script to rename multiple files, but I don't know how to change that script to do the above task.

This is wjat I have so far:

find drp/ -depth -name "*abc.tab" -exec rename 's/\abc.tab$/xyz.tab/' {} +

How can I adapt it to this task?

  • DoI understand correctly that you want to name it after the number of * -es? – Jacob Vlijm Oct 31 '14 at 8:11
  • Is the number of asterisks related to the number you're sticking on the front? – Oli Oct 31 '14 at 8:25

You can use an actual expression with rename. In this case we match as many asterisks as there are, and then replace that with the length of the match:

rename 's/^[*]+/sprintf("%d_", length $&)/e' -vn *

If that looks right, remove the -n argument. That's just there to allow you to test it safely.

Here's my test harness:

$ touch \*{,\*{,\*}}abc.tab
$ rename 's/^[*]+/sprintf("%d_", length $&)/e' -vn *
***abc.tab renamed as 3_abc.tab
**abc.tab renamed as 2_abc.tab
*abc.tab renamed as 1_abc.tab

If you also want to do another rename, you can chain it in:

$ rename 's/^[*]+/sprintf("%d_", length $&)/e; s/abc/xyz/' -vn *
***abc.tab renamed as 3_xyz.tab
**abc.tab renamed as 2_xyz.tab
*abc.tab renamed as 1_xyz.tab
  • I tried your scripts. After executing the script, I got the message in terminal screen as every file has renamed. But When I want to look at the files, It doesn't change the file names. – Smith Dwayne Oct 31 '14 at 11:37
  • 5
    Sorry, remove the -n argument. That's in there for safety-testing. – Oli Oct 31 '14 at 11:45

Assuming you'd like to replace the number of preceding "*" by the actual number (like in your example), and taking into account the possibility of the existance of sub folders and ignoring invisible files, a python option would be:

#!/usr/bin/env python3

import os
import shutil
import sys

sourcedir = sys.argv[1]

for root, dirs, files in os.walk(sourcedir):
    for name in files:
        if not name.startswith(".") and name.count("*") != 0:
            number = name.count("*"); newname = str(number)+"_"+name.replace("*", "")
            shutil.move(root+"/"+name, root+"/"+newname)

Copy it into an empty file, save it as rename.py, run it by the command:

python3 path/to/rename.py </path/to/files>

it renames




Incase if you need a one liner bash script.

$ find . -type f -exec bash -c 'file=$(basename "$0"); rn=$(echo "$file"|grep -o "*"|wc -l); on=$(echo "$file"|tr -d "*"); mv "$file" "${rn}_${on}"' {} \;

$ ls 
0_a.txt  1_a.txt  2_a.txt  3_a.txt

And if you need a shell script.



for file in *
    rn=$(echo "$file"|grep -o '*'| wc -l)
    on=$(echo "$file"|tr -d '*')
    if [ "$rn" -ne 0 ]
        mv -v "$file" "$rn"_"$on"

if [ $changed -gt 0 ]
    echo "Have renamed $changed files"
    echo "There are no files to rename"


$ ./a.sh 
`***a.txt' -> `3_a.txt'
`**a.txt' -> `2_a.txt'
`******b.txt' -> `6_b.txt'
`**b.txt' -> `2_b.txt'
Have renamed 4 files

I would recommend to use shell script as it has more validations.

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