Intelligent appending text to file names, considering file extensions and file tags

file, managing, management, files, date, time, time-stamps, filesystem, personal-information-management, pim, shell
pip install appendfilename==2020.6.7.1



This Python script adds a string to a file name. The string gets added between the original file name and its extension.

In case the file name contains tags as handled as with filetag, the string gets added right before the separator between file name and tags.

Examples for adding the string “new text”:

old file name new file name
a simple file.txt a simple file new text.txt
a simple file – foo bar.txt a simple file new text – foo bar.txt
2013-05-09.jpeg 2013-05-09 new text.jpeg
2013-05-09T16.17.jpeg 2013-05-09T16.17 new text.jpeg
2013-05-09T16.17_img_00042.jpeg 2013-05-09T16.17_img_00042 new text.jpeg
2013-05-09T16.17_img_00042 – fun.jpeg 2013-05-09T16.17_img_00042 new text – fun.jpeg


Besides the fact that I am using ISO dates and times in file names (as shown in examples above), I am using tags with file names. To separate tags from the file name, I am using the four separator characters: space dash dash space.

For people familiar with Regular Expressions:

(<ISO date/time stamp>)? <descriptive file name> -- <list of tags separated by spaces>.extension

For tagging, please refer to filetag and its documentation.

If I want to add a descriptive file name to files like , e.g. , photographs, I have to rename the original file and insert the description at the right spot of the existing file name.

This is an error-prone task. If I am not careful, I can overwrite parts of the old file name I wanted to keep. Or I could mess up spacing between the old file name, tags, and the new description.

Therefore, I wrote this script that adds a description to the file name without removing old file name parts or tags.

You may like to add this tool to your image or file manager of choice. I added mine to geeqie which is my favorite image viewer on GNU/Linux.


appendfilename --text foo a_file_name.txt

… adds “foo” such that it results in a_file_name foo.txt

appendfilename a_file_name.txt

… (implicit) interactive mode: asking for the string to add from the user

appendfilename --text "foo bar" "file name 1.jpg" "file name 2 -- foo.txt" "file name 3 -- bar.csv"

… adds tag “foo” such that it results in …

"file name 1 foo bar.jpg"
"file name 2 foo bar -- foo.txt"
"file name 3 foo bar -- bar.csv"

For a complete list of parameters, please try:

appendfilename --help

The file names within the current working directory is read in and all found words can be completed via TAB.

./appendfilename/ --help
    appendfilename [<options>] <list of files>

This tool inserts text between the old file name and optional tags or file extension.

Text within file names is placed between the actual file name and
the file extension or (if found) between the actual file namd and
a set of tags separated with " -- ".
  Update for the Boss  <NEW TEXT HERE>.pptx
  2013-05-16T15.31.42 Error message <NEW TEXT HERE> -- screenshot projectB.png

When renaming a symbolic link whose source file has a matching file
name, the source file gets renamed as well.

Example usages:
  appendfilename --text="of projectA" "the presentation.pptx"
      ... results in "the presentation of projectA.pptx"
  appendfilename "2013-05-09T16.17_img_00042 -- fun.jpeg"
      ... with interactive input of "Peter" results in:
          "2013-05-09T16.17_img_00042 Peter -- fun.jpeg"

:copyright: (c) 2013 or later by Karl Voit <>
:license: GPL v3 or any later version
:bugreports: via github or <>
:version: 2019-10-19

  -h, --help            show this help message and exit
  -t TEXT, --text=TEXT  the text to add to the file name
  -p, --prepend         Do the opposite: instead of appending the text,
                        prepend the text
  --smart-prepend       Like "--prepend" but do respect date/time-stamps:
                        insert new text between "YYYY-MM-DD(" and
  -s, --dryrun          enable dryrun mode: just simulate what would happen,
                        do not modify file(s)
  -v, --verbose         enable verbose mode
  -q, --quiet           enable quiet mode
  --version             display version and exit


Get it from GitHub or install it via pip install appendfilename

Smart Prepend

Although appendfilename was created mainly to add text at the end of a file name, it may also insert text at the beginning of a file name using the --prepend parameter.

A variance of that is --smart-prepend. Following examples demonstrate the effects on smart prepending “new text” with various file names:

new text foo bar.txt
2019-10-20 new text foo bar.txt
2019-10-20T12.34 new text foo bar.txt
2019-10-20T12.34.56 new text foo bar.txt

As you can see, --smart-prepend does take into account that a given date/time-stamp according to date2name and this article will always stay the first part of a file name, prepending the “new text” between the date/time-stamp and the rest.

Integration Into Common Tools

Integration into Windows File Explorer

The easiest way to integrate appendfilename into File Explorer (“Send to” context menu) is by using integratethis.

Execute this in your command line environment:

pip install appendfilename integratethis
integratethis appendfilename --confirm

Windows File Explorer for single files (manual method)

Use this only if the integratethis method can not be applied:

Create a registry file add_appendfilename_to_context_menu.reg and edit it to meet the following template. Please make sure to replace the paths (python, USERNAME and appendfilename) accordingly:

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

;; for files:

@="appendfilename (single file)"

@="C:\\Python36\\python.exe C:\\Users\\USERNAME\\src\\appendfilename\\appendfilename\\ -i \"%1\""

Execute the reg-file, confirm the warnings (you are modifying your Windows registry after all) and cheer up when you notice “appendfilename (single file)” in the context menu of your Windows Explorer.

As the heading and the link name suggests: this method works on single files. So if you select three files and invoke this context menu item, you will get three different filetag-windows to tag one file each.

Windows File Explorer for single and multiple selected files (manual method)

Use this only if the integratethis method can not be applied:

Create a batch file in your home directory. Adapt the paths to meet your setup. The content looks like:

C:\Python36\python.exe C:\Users\USERNAME\src\appendfilename\appendfilename\ -i %*

If you want to confirm the process (and see error messages and so forth), you might want to append as well following line:

set /p DUMMY=Hit ENTER to continue ...

My batch file is located in C:\Users\USERNAME\bin\appendfilename.bat. Now create a lnk file for it (e.g., via Ctrl-Shift-drag), rename the lnk file to appendfilename.lnk and move the lnk file to ~/AppData/Roaming/Microsoft/Windows/SendTo/.

This way, you get a nice entry in your context menu sub-menu “Send to” which is also correctly tagging selection of files as if you put the list of selected items to a single call of appendfilename.

Integrating into Geeqie

I am using geeqie for browsing/presenting image files. After I mark a set of images for adding file name descriptions, I just have to press a and I get asked for the input string. After entering the string and RETURN, the filenames are modified accordingly.

Using GNU/Linux, this is quite easy accomplished. The only thing that is not straight forward is the need for a wrapper script. The wrapper script does provide a shell window for entering the tags. looks like:


/usr/bin/gnome-terminal \
    --geometry=73x5+330+5  \
    --hide-menubar \
    -x /home/vk/src/appendfilename/appendfilename/ --interactive "${@}"

#end looks like:


/usr/bin/gnome-terminal \
    --geometry=73x5+330+5  \
    --hide-menubar \
    -x /home/vk/src/appendfilename/appendfilename/ --interactive --remove "${@}"


In $HOME/.config/geeqie/applications I wrote two desktop files such that geeqie shows the wrapper scripts as external editors to its image files:

$HOME/.config/geeqie/applications/add-tags.desktop looks like:

[Desktop Entry]
Exec=/home/vk/src/misc/ %F

$HOME/.config/geeqie/applications/remove-tags.desktop looks like:

[Desktop Entry]
Exec=/home/vk/src/misc/ %F

In order to be able to use the keyboard shortcuts a, you can define them in geeqie:

  1. Edit > Preferences > Preferences … > Keyboard.
  2. Scroll to the bottom of the list.
  3. Double click in the KEY-column of appendfilename and choose your desired keyboard shortcut accordingly.

I hope this method is as handy for you as it is for me :-)

Integration into Thunar

Thunar is a popular GNU/Linux file browser for the xfce environment.

Unfortunately, it is rather complicated to add custom commands to Thunar. I found a good description which you might want to follow.

To my disappoinment, even this manual confguration is not stable somehow. From time to time, the IDs of $HOME/.config/Thunar/uca.xml and $HOME/.config/Thunar/accels.scm differ.

For people using Org-mode, I automated the updating process (not the initial adding process) to match IDs again:

Script for checking “tag”: do it tag-ID and path in accels.scm match?

#+BEGIN_SRC sh :var myname="tag"
ID=`egrep -A 2 "<name>$myname" $HOME/.config/Thunar/uca.xml | grep unique-id | sed 's#.*<unique-id>##' | sed 's#<.*$##'`
echo "$myname-ID of uca.xml: $ID"
echo "In accels.scm: "`grep -i "$ID" $HOME/.config/Thunar/accels.scm`

If they don’t match, following script re-writes accels.scm with the current ID:

#+BEGIN_SRC sh :var myname="tag" :var myshortcut="<Alt>t"
ID=`egrep -A 2 "<name>$myname" $HOME/.config/Thunar/uca.xml | grep unique-id | sed 's#.*<unique-id>##' | sed 's#<.*$##'`
echo "appending $myname-ID of uca.xml to accels.scm: $ID"
mv $HOME/.config/Thunar/accels.scm $HOME/.config/Thunar/accels.scm.OLD
grep -v "\"$myshortcut\"" $HOME/.config/Thunar/accels.scm.OLD > $HOME/.config/Thunar/accels.scm
rm $HOME/.config/Thunar/accels.scm.OLD
echo "(gtk_accel_path \"<Actions>/ThunarActions/uca-action-$ID\" \"$myshortcut\")" >> $HOME/.config/Thunar/accels.scm

Integration into FreeCommander

FreeCommander is a orthodox file manager for Windows. You can add appendfilename as an favorite command:

  • Tools → Favorite tools → Favorite tools edit… (S-C-y)
    • Create new toolbar (if none is present)
    • Icon for “Add new item”
      • Name: appendfilename
      • Program or folder: <Path to>
    • appendfilename.bat looks like: (please do modify the paths to meet your requirement)
      C:\Python36\python.exe C:\Users\YOURUSERNAME\src\appendfilename\appendfilename\ %*
      REM optionally: set /p DUMMY=Hit ENTER to continue...
      • Start folder: %ActivDir%
      • Parameter: %ActivSel%
      • [X] Enclose each selected item with =”=
      • Hotkey: select next available one such as Ctrl-1 (it gets overwritten below)
    • remember its name such as “Favorite tool 01”
      • OK

So far, we’ve got appendfilename added as a favorite command which can be accessed via menu or icon toolbar and the selected keyboard shortcut. If you want to assign a different keyboard shortcut than Ctrl-1 like Alt-a you might as well follow following procedure:

  • Tools → Define keyboard shortcuts…
    • Scroll down to the last section “Favorite tools”
    • locate the name such as “Favorite tool 01”
    • Define your shortcut of choice like Alt-a in the right hand side of the window
      • If your shortcut is taken, you’ll get a notification. Don’t overwrite essential shortcuts you’re using.
    • OK

Related tools and workflows

This tool is part of a tool-set which I use to manage my digital files such as photographs. My work-flows are described in this blog posting you might like to read.

In short:

For tagging, please refer to filetags and its documentation.

See date2name for easily adding ISO time-stamps or date-stamps to files.

For easily naming and tagging files within file browsers that allow integration of external tools, see appendfilename (once more) and filetags.

Moving to the archive folders is done using move2archive.

Having tagged photographs gives you many advantages. For example, I automatically choose my desktop background image according to the current season.

Files containing an ISO time/date-stamp gets indexed by the filename-module of Memacs.

Here is a 45 minute talk I gave at Linuxtage Graz 2018 presenting the idea of and workflows related to appendfilename and other handy tools for file management:

bin/2018-05-06 filetags demo slide for video preview with video button -- screenshots.png

How to Thank Me

I’m glad you like my tools. If you want to support me:

  • Send old-fashioned postcard per snailmail - I love personal feedback!
  • Send feature wishes or improvements as an issue on GitHub
  • Create issues on GitHub for bugs
  • Contribute merge requests for bug fixes
  • Check out my other cool projects on GitHub