I have around 200 .png files in my folder, naming like -


As you can see I dont have 01.png so I want to rename the all files decreasing by one, to make it like -


Is it possible it to do it via any command in ubuntu ?

Following is the command I am trying with no luck -

rename -n '/d{2}\.png$d{2}-1\.png/' *.png
  • @JacobVlijm I don't think as starting series is - 01, 02 .. and not like 1, 2 ... – Nesh Sep 23 '15 at 7:14
  • 1
    you might want to refresh your screen, I retracted my vote a while ago, came to the same conclusion :) – Jacob Vlijm Sep 23 '15 at 7:26

This can be done with a somewhat more complex rename command:

rename -n 's/(\d{2,3}).png/sprintf("%02d", $1-1) . ".png"/e' *.png


  • You need to separate the match and the replacement with a /.
  • You need to group the part you want to remember using $1 with () (in this case (\d{2,3})).
  • You should match both 2- and 3-digit numbers, or 100.png will become 1-1.png.
  • To use an arithmetic or functions in the replacement, it should be evaluated as an expression, that's why there's a e after the closing /.
  • To combine strings in an evaluated expression, you need to use . (hence . ".png").
  • To pad strings with zeros (presumably what you want, since your original files had them), use sprintf. %02d will pad with zeros if your number doesn't have at least two digits.


$ rename -n 's/(\d{2,3}).png/sprintf("%02d", $1-1) .  ".png"/e' *.png | head
02.png -> 01.png
03.png -> 02.png
04.png -> 03.png
05.png -> 04.png
06.png -> 05.png
07.png -> 06.png
08.png -> 07.png
09.png -> 08.png
100.png -> 99.png
101.png -> 100.png

Depending on the version of rename, it might have trouble renaming files if the target already exists. In such cases, a simple workaround is to create a temporary directory and rename/move the files there:

mkdir temp
rename -n 's/(\d{2,3}).png/sprintf("temp\/%02d", $1-1) . ".png"/e' *.png

Note that / after temp needs to be escaped, or it will be taken as the final / of a s// command.

| improve this answer | |
  • Following is the output for the command - 01.png renamed as 00.png 02.png not renamed: 01.png already exists 03.png not renamed: 02.png already exists – Nesh Sep 23 '15 at 7:17
  • @Nesh make a temp folder and rename+move to that folder: mkdir temp; rename -n 's/(\d{2,3}).png/sprintf("temp\/%02d", $1-1) . ".png"/e' *.png. – muru Sep 23 '15 at 7:19
  • @Nesh edited accordingly. – muru Sep 23 '15 at 7:33

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