There are a few places where you can batch rename photos in Lightroom. The most common is during the import process via the File Renaming panel of the Import dialog, but you can also batch rename by selecting photos in Grid view of the Library module before going to Library > Rename Photos. A less often used option is to rename copies created via export via the File Naming panel of the Export dialog. In each of these scenarios you can gain access to the various file name templates that ship with Lightroom, or you can choose the Edit option and open the Filename Template Editor and create your own templates.

Renaming from Import dialog.
Renaming from Export dialog.

The Filename Template Editor works by using what it calls tokens to represent various text strings that you can assemble into any configuration you want. The text strings represented by the tokens can consist of image name data, image numbering options, date formats, information pulled from metadata, and custom text. The assembled tokens can be saved as reusable templates. Let’s take a look at how it works.

Opening the Editor

Select an image and go to Library > Rename Photo. This action launches the Rename Photo dialog box. A number of default presets are already at your disposal. Any presets you create will be found here as well. Select any preset to see an example of how it will display as a filename.


To create a new preset, click the drop-down arrow and choose Edit to launch the Filename Template Editor. When the Filename Template Editor opens, it displays the tokens of the selected preset in the window below the Preset menu. You can use these tokens as a starting point, or delete them and start fresh. In the example above, a custom YYYYMMDD-suffix preset was selected, and it contains two tokens: {Date (YYYYMMDD)>>} and {Filename number suffix>>}.



Creating a Preset

Lets go through the steps to create a preset that consists of the date, a three-digit sequence number, and some custom text (using a custom text token gives you the flexibility to enter your own text each time you use the template) with the elements separated by underscores. The resulting filename will look like this: YYYYMMDD_001_customtext

  1. With the Filename Template Editor open, remove the existing tokens from the editor by selecting them and pressing Delete.
  2. Click the date drop-down arrow and select the token named Date (YYYYMMDD). The selected token appears in the window.
  3. Click into the window and type an underscore after the date token.
  4. Click the Sequence drop-down arrow and choose the Sequence #(001) token, and then type an underscore in the window after the token.
  5. Finally, click the Insert button next to Custom Text to add that token to the end of the template.
  6. To save the new preset, click the Preset drop-down arrow and choose Save as New Preset. I prefer descriptive names like YYYYMMDD_001_customtext, but you can name your preset as you like. Click Create.
  7. Click Done to return to the Rename dialog and begin the file-renaming process.


Preset Housekeeping

Managing presets is not very intuitive, but it is easy once you know how. To remove unwanted presets, open the Filename Template Editor, click the Preset drop-down arrow, and select the preset you want to delete. Click the Preset drop-down arrow again and choose Delete preset “[preset name]”.

To modify an existing preset, open the Filename Template Editor, click the Preset drop-down arrow, and select the preset to be updated. Add/remove/arrange tokens as desired, click the Preset drop-down arrow again, and choose Update preset “[preset name]”. Alternatively, you could choose Save as New Preset and give the modified version a new name.

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