Rename files using Python: How to implement it with examples

When you’re working with files in Python, you may decide that you want to rename a particular file. For instance, if you have a file called raw_data.csv, you may want to rename it old_data.csv when your program runs. That’s where the os.rename() method comes in. The os.rename() method allows you to rename an existing file in Python. This tutorial, based on document from Careerkarma, will illustrate how to implement rename files Python, with example.

Rename files using Python

Python OS Refresher

The os module in Python gives you access to a number of methods related to the operating system on which a program is being run.

In other words, the os module allows you to interact with the computer’s operating system. So, you can use os to create files, delete files, move files, and perform other system-related tasks. The os module also contains the rename() method, which we’ll be using in this guide.

To use the os module in Python, we must first import it into our code using this statement:

import os

Now we’re ready to start Python os rename file.

Python os rename file

The os.rename() method is Python os rename file. It allows you to rename a file. The file you are renaming should already exist.

The syntax for Python os rename file os.rename() is as follows:

os.rename(file, destination)

As you can see, rename() accepts two parameters. These are:

  • file: The path of the file you want to rename, followed by the file name (e.g. “/home/blog/file.txt”).
  • destination: The path of the file, followed by the new file name (e.g. “/home/career/blog/file_new.txt”).

Let’s walk through an example to illustrate how this works.

Python os rename file Example

Suppose we want to rename the file raw_data.csv to old_data.csv. The file raw_data.csv is stored in the directory /home/blog. We could change the name of our file using this code:

1 import os
2
3 old_file_name = "/home/blog/raw_data.csv"
4 new_file_name = "/home/blog/old_data.csv"
5
6 os.rename(old_file_name, new_file_name)
7
8 print("File renamed!")
9
​Our code returns: File renamed! Our code has also renamed our file.

Let’s explore how our code of Python os rename file works line-by-line. First, we import the os module, which allows us to access the os.rename() method.

Then, we declare two variables. The first variable (“old_file_name”) contains the path of the file we want to rename, and the second variable (“new_file_name”) contains the new path name for the file.

Because we want to change our file name to old_data.csv, our new_file_name variable ends in old_data.csv, instead of raw_data.csv.

Next, we use os.rename() to change the name of our file. Then, our code prints File renamed! to the console, so we know our program has executed.

Python Rename Multiple Files

Now, suppose we want to rename multiple files. We can also accomplish this goal using the Python os rename file os.rename() method.

Let’s say that we want to rename every file in the /home/bolg directory and add old_ to the start of each file name. Right now, this directory contains the following files:

  • data.csv
  • raw_data.csv
  • program.py

We could use the following program to add old_ to the start of each filename:

1 import os
2
3 for file in os.listdir(“/home/career_karma”):
4 os.rename(file, f”/home/career_karma/old_{file}”)
5

​Our code renames our files. Here is a list of the new files in our directory:
  • old_data.csv
  • old_raw_data.csv
  • old_program.py

Let’s break down how our code for Python os rename file works. First, we import os into our code, so that we can work with the os.rename() and os.listdir() methods. Then, we create a for loop that iterates through a list of all files in the /home/blog folder. This list is generated using the os.listdir() method.

Then, our code uses os.rename() to rename each file in the /home/blog folder. We use an f string to replace each file name with /home/blog/old_{FILE_NAME}, where FILE_NAME is the name of our old file.

As you can see, old_ has been added to the start of every file in the /home/blog folder.

Conclusion

Rename files using Python

The Python os rename file os.rename() method allows you to rename files in Python. When used with the os.listdir() method, you can use os.rename() to rename all the files in a folder.

This tutorial discussed, with examples, the basics of the python os rename file and how to use the os.rename() method. Now you’re ready to start using os.rename() to rename files.

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