How to ReName a File or Folder in Mac OS X
Renaming a folder in Mac OS X is very easy, and there’s a few different ways you can do it. We’ll focus on the three most common tricks to quickly rename any file or directory folder on the Mac, two of which are done through the familiar graphical interface of the Finder file system, and another which is a bit more advanced for technically inclined users who like the command line approach.
Method 1: Rename a file or folder by selecting it and hitting the ‘return’ key
Just click on the icon of the file/folder from the OS X Finder, and then hit the return key, then type in the new name. This is quick and simple, and likely the most traditional method of renaming on the Mac.
Method 2: Rename a file or folder by selecting it and clicking on the filename with your cursor
Super simple and done through the Finder, here’s what you want to do: after you have selected the icon, click on the actual filename text and hover for a moment with the mouse cursor, you’ll see the text highlight which indicates that you can then rename the item. Type in the new name, then hit return or click away with the mouse cursor to set the change.
Method 3: Using right-click and choosing “Rename” from the menu
If you right-click (or control+click) on a file name in the Finder of modern versions of OS X, you can choose a “Rename” option to rename a specific file, or use it to rename multiple files at a time if multiple files are selected. This works great, but it’s only available to the newest versions of OS X.
Advanced Method 4: Rename a file or folder via command line
The command line is a bit more advanced, but you can also rename any file or directory via the Terminal. To do this from the command line, type the following syntax replacing with your files and filenames as desired:
mv oldfilename newfilename
A note on renaming files, and file extensions:
Do be aware when renaming certain files that changing the file extension (.jpg or .txt, etc) can effect the behavior of that file and how applications respond to it. Generally speaking, you should leave the file extension the same. This is all the more important if you have file extensions visible in the Mac Finder, because it becomes easier to rename them.
I realize this may appear as pretty rudimentary stuff to many of our more advanced readers, but two recent switchers have asked me this question so surely they can’t be alone in wondering, both were trying to do the Windows right-click -> rename method which is sure to cause some confusion in Mac OS X.