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Renaming Picture File Names with Siren


I recently visited my parents. As usual they always have some question regarding some issue they have encountered with their computer. This used to irk me, but anymore, I just bear it and grin as it’s usually something relatively simple (ie can you make that little icon on my desktop that takes me to Gmail again?) This time my mother was looking for a way to organize her pictures based on the date and time they were taken. Windows Explorer sorts alpha/numerically when you sort be name, but the program she used to import the pictures didn’t label them in a fashion that would allow this order to be chronological. Knowing that the file names were arbitrary forced me to rely on the EXIF data stored in the JPEG file. For those of you that don’t know, most all digital cameras these days store date and time information, among other data, inside the jpeg file itself. Assuming the date and time settings on your camera are correct, this information can be used to rename files using certain programs. One program I found online is called Siren.

This program is able to see the EXIF data stored in the photo and uses that to create a new file name based on whatever EXIF data you would like. As I said, I wanted just the date and time. To do this, in Siren, you first browse to the folder that contains the pictures you would like to rename. Next, in the expression box, you enter your file name. This can be anything you want, though to pull the EXIF data you need to use an expression variable. %Xdo%ncs.jpg in the expression box will rename all the pictures in the directory you’ve selected to YYYYMMDD_HHMMSS.jpg. With %Xdo meaning to use the pictures’ date and time stored in EXIF and “%ncs” meaning to give a unique name if two pictures were taken in the same second. You can add whatever you would like before the expression variables to even further classify your pictures (ie. Uncle_Bobs_Colorado_%Xdo%ncs.jpg). This would create file names like this: Uncle_Bobs_Colorado_ YYYYMMDD_HHMMSS.jpg.

As you can see, Siren can be a pretty powerful tool for renaming files. This was just a taste of what it can do. Extensive information can be found in the help section of Siren regarding all the other expressions that can be used. Hopefully this has equipped you with the knowledge to better tackle the endless help desk requests from family and friends.

(Source: Skynet Solutions)

By Dustin Fry

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