How To Automatically Batch Rename Photos With Dates They Were Shot

Saikat Basu 09-08-2009

How To Automatically Batch Rename Photos With Dates They Were Shot Thumbnail1You know the feeling that comes to us all one fine day. You open your pictures folder and see a graphical stew of pictures which you have never bothered to rename and arrange. In this cluttered mix, you can’t tell between the snap you took of your birthday party last year or this year. During these driven up the wall moments, you wish that you had been a bit more systematic from square one – systematically renaming the photos when you transferred them from the camera to the PC.


The second scenario will work you up even more. Imagine the commonness of having more than one camera in the house. Each, lending to the graphical stew of your pictures folder. Of course, your exasperation can be easily cured by the timely habit of renaming photos when you transfer them. Arranging photos chronologically (according to dates) also makes retrieval a snap.

Today, most digital cameras have an internal clock which tags the photos with the exact time when it was clicked. This information is embedded as meta-data (meta-data is data about the data) in the photo itself.

The EXIF (Exchangeable image file format) and DCF (Design rule for Camera File system) standards are specifications for this meta-data. EXIF, in simple terms, defines the camera and image information in the files. DCF defines standards which ensure compatibility between different recording media like a camera and a printer.

It is this photo information that software programs tap into when they read the pictures. And using this information makes arranging photos by timestamps as easy as clicking them.

Automatically Batch Rename Photos With the Date They Were Shot with Namexif

When we say “˜Namexif’ aloud, it sounds like a blend of “˜name’ with “˜fix’ and also “˜exif’ (a portmanteau). The free software does exactly that. Namexif batch renames photos with the dates they were shot. This helps to ease the chronological assortment within your pictures folder. Of course, photos compulsorily must have the EXIF data.

Namexif is a lithe 700MB batch renamer with a simple interface. The timestamp software is a standalone executable. It runs on Windows 95, 98, 2000, XP and Vista. Namexif works snappily in three steps ““

  • Run the program – select and add the individual files or the folder where the photos are stored. Click Next.
  • Add-Files-Screen

  • On the next screen choose the date format you want from the three pre-sets given. In case of high speed shooting mode, where the times may differ by sub-secs, the format adds dashes (-) to tell filenames apart.
  • Settings

  • You have the option of keeping the original name or adding your own name as a describer. In case the camera (or photo) does not support EXIF standards, then the original name is kept intact.
  • Renamed

Namexif is a simple no frills app for a necessary task. It does not require an install and can be carried around like a portable app. My only other demand would have been an option for a custom timestamp and a way to edit a photo’s embedded date. If you like lightweight, self running simple software then you can give this a shot.

Automatically timestamp photos with Stamp

Stamp is another free software which batch renames image and video files chronologically. It can also batch process entire folders and add a timestamp to the beginning of each filename. Stamp is an improvement over Namexif on several fronts. It can directly transfer photos from most cameras. It batch renames audio/video files too.

Also, unlike Namexif, Stamp saves the renamed image files in a different folder (gives an option of copy or move) thus preserving the originals. Some of the other power features include –

  • Stamp gives the choice between five different file formats which fall across – DCF convention, History Data formatsCustom format.
  • Stamp_Main

  • Custom format is handy for generating long or short filenames with descriptive information like location of shoot.
  • Stamp_Custom-Format

  • Stamp comes with various filters which lets the user control the processing by including certain files and excluding others.
  • Stamp_Filters

  • Stamp features extra options for file handling like preview function which displays a summary of predicted results and an error reporting log.
  • Stamp_Preview-Optios

The Stamp user guide is exhaustively detailed in its help with the software feature set. The 2MB free software is supported by 95, 98, 2000 and XP.

Of course, there is a tool like Picasa which in itself is a complete photo management application. It also automatically renames photos by date. Renaming photos by date is quick and simple with these two little file renamer alternatives. After a few gigabytes of photos we will find that arranging photos chronologically rather than by name is easier for instant recall.

You can also try out the cross platform JetPhoto JetPhoto - Photo Management App with Tons of Great Features Read More which Jeffry has written about in a previous post.

Let us know how easy (or difficult) it has been for you after spring cleaning your pictures folder”¦

Image Credit: Viernest

Explore more about: File Management, Image Editor, Photography.

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  1. skofox
    February 19, 2017 at 4:05 pm


    Thank you for this!

    I am looking for a way to do the opposite: set the "date taken" or "create" to the date deriving from the file name. (e.g. IMG-20150423-WA003.jpg). I have a lot of images where the file name corresponds with the actual date, but the meta data is incorrect. Any idea?

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  3. Saikat
    August 12, 2009 at 3:01 am

    Hi Shanna
    Then you are in the same stew I was before I wrote this piece :)Let us know how your 'photo organization' chore turns out.

  4. Shanna
    August 11, 2009 at 4:13 pm

    This is awesome; thank you! I have been snapping pics since my now-fiance bought me a digital camera our first Christmas together in 2001 and though I tried to keep up with naming/dating, at some point I fell behind. I've been through a couple of cameras since then, too, so they aren't all stored in one place like I would prefer. I am going to give Namexif a whirl and see if it can help me organize my vast digital photo collection. Thanks much for the info, as always.

  5. eq plat
    August 10, 2009 at 1:48 am

    So great! How do you know? Where you find?

  6. Bruno Casarini Grillo
    August 9, 2009 at 4:55 pm

    "Namexif is a lithe 700MB batch renamer"

    It's 700KB, not MB! :D

    • Saika
      August 10, 2009 at 12:31 am

      Ooops...Thanks for pointing out the typo. By beady eyes missed that!

  7. AussieRodney
    August 9, 2009 at 4:23 pm

    There is also "AF5 rename your files" by Alex Fauland. I've been using it for years.

    • Saikat
      August 10, 2009 at 12:34 am

      Yes, it's nice. But does it read a photo's meta-data and rename pics using the date? I couldn't make that out from the feature list.