File problems got you climbing the walls from time to time? Need to “find and replace” in a bunch of files?
Need to change names and extensions on a few hundred files? Now? These two free Mac utilities do the job. Did I mention that they’re free?
There’s something about a bargain that’s tough for a person to turn down. I love Mac bargains. I love utilities. Combine the two and I’m a happy camper though I’ll never be caught dead camping (except at the spa in a Hyatt somewhere).
We don’t throw many files away in this age of super huge hard drives. Tera was complaining recently that she’d just about maxed out a 160 gigabyte hard drive with all her files; music, photos, pro apps, projects, and every Mac application you can think of.
We’re not throwing things away. Still, with all those files on our computers, managing them has challenges. What if you want to find and replace content in a bunch of files?
What if you want to rename a whole folder of files? No, one at a time is not the best renaming methodology if the folder has say, anything over 20 files.
Free Mac utilities to the rescue.
First, file names. I used File Wrangler because it works, it’s intuitive (no need to buy a File Wrangler for Dummies book), and it’s priced right. Free.
File Wrangler will save you more time than you imagined with a simple task. Renaming files. Call it a batch renamer, a mass renamer, or a very slick utility, that you’ll keep on your Mac for years. Whatever. File Wrangler renames files.
Add numbers to file names. Delete numbers from file names. Add suffixes, prefixes, aphabetize, numeritize, change the order, and more.
Do it fast, too. File Wrangler is quick, simple, and will save you time over and over and over. Did I mention it’s free? File Wrangler is a labor of love by a Mac developer who’s created a superb Mac utility where there’s a strong need.
Click Here for the details and the download link.
The second free Mac utility of the day (sorry, just today), is called MassReplaceIt. While MRI will change file names on a gazillion files, it does something that File Wrangler doesn’t.
MRI will dig into a file and replace a string of text with another string of text. Wait? Spotlight? Microsoft Word? Don’t they have search capabilities? Doesn’t Microsoft Word (and most text editors) have Search and Replace?
What’s the big deal, Alex? Or has all that fetal monitoring softened your brain (it probably has, but that’s a different issue)?
Search and Replace is a great tool and you’ll find it everywhere. Most text editors and word processors have a Search and Replace function.
Let’s say your document is 37 pages long, and there’s 127 instances of an address that’s wrong. It says “123 Beasy Street” and it should say “Easy Street.” Even Word can handle that search and replace with ease. Easy.
What if you have 37 documents. Uh oh. That’s open and close, open and close, open and close, adnauseum. MassReplaceIt. Did I mention that it’s free?
MassReplaceIt does more than rename files. Use File Wranglere for that. It’s easier. MRI can take a list of files, search their contents, and replace every occurence of your search term (string) and replace it with something else. Fast.
That part is simple. What if the challenge is more complicated? MRI can save your queries so you don’t have to re-enter every search you need. Search an entire file, a whole folder of files, just the beginning of files (for addresses, salutations, etc.) or just the end of files (signature names, footers, etc.).
Make the search case sensitive. Or not. Don’t let the simple interface fool you. There’s a lot going on under the hood, but in true Mac fashion, you get to the basics quickly, and MRI gives you room to learn, grow, experiment, and become more productive.
The Help PDF for File Wrangler is superb. MRI’s Help menu gets you the basics and more, so you won’t feel lost. Did I mention that both File Wrangler and MassReplaceIt are free?
Tera Jean Patricks
I have both on my Mac. They’re indispensible utilities.
I’ve used File Wrangler for years. For whatever reason, I missed MassReplaceIt. The developer’s name is “HexMonkey Software.” Maybe that scared me away. I don’t like monkeys. Or clowns.
Jack D. Miller
Alex, where do you come up with these? MRI is at version 2.9.1 so it’s been around awhile. I’ve never used it before. It’s quite simple, very fast.