You can download the plugin from here. In Trial mode, it can process up to 10 images at a time.

I had an interesting email from someone who uses my Search and Replace plug-in for Lightroom:

… I need to remove text (“Scan_”) from the filename for images I scanned 4-5 years ago (and are now in my LR catalog).

It appears Search and Replace does not work on filenames, only on metadata. Pre-LR catalog I used a utility to do bulk file name changes on folders of files, but that will be a problem with the LR catalog.

I could use the bulk filename changing tool, then delete the LR-cataloged-but-missing-image and then reimport the newly rename files. But it seems risky and I’d lose metadata for the images w/o XMP files.

Lightroom offers batch renaming and it’s reasonable to expect that the feature would allow you to replace text in filenames. It was possible in iView/Expression Media, for example, and Bridge’s renaming dialog box does it with its “string substitution” option – see bottom of article for an explanation.

But Lightroom has never allowed it. I suspect it fell victim to a kind of “it’s not in Bridge” thinking, because “string substitution” wasn’t yet in Bridge when Lightroom 1.0 was launched. And sadly, this omission has never been rectified, even 13 years after I started whining to Adobe about it….

“Computer Says No”?

So I began my reply saying that I couldn’t adapt Search & Replace to handle file renaming because plugins can’t rename photos. In other words, “Computer says No” (Little Britain, if the reference isn’t clear!). Then the solution suddenly revealed itself:

  1. Use Search & Replace’s Transfer command to copy the file name to an IPTC field which is one that Lightroom’s Batch Rename dialog can access – I suggest Headline
  2. Use Search & Replace to remove “Scan_” from the field
  3. Use Search & Replace to remove the extension from the field
  4. Finally use LR’s Rename Photos command to rename the files using the field in the renaming template

Easy. And a whole lot easier than I ever thought it might be!


Using Search and Replace on an IPTC field, it’s possible to perform more complex renaming than Lightroom’s Batch Rename permits


Bridge’s String Substitution renaming option

Warning: this method removes any pick flags, stacking, VCs , collections, history steps applied to the files:

  • In Lightroom, save the metadata back to the files – Ctrl or Cmd S
  • In Bridge, select the files and use Batch Rename
  • In its New Filenames section, select the option String Substitution
  • Next line down is where you choose what to find and what to replace it with
  • In Lightroom, synchronize the folder – this will remove the -Edit files and import the renamed versions