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I have been using the rename command to get control over my naming conventions across my system. In converting spaces in file names to hyphens, I have inadvertently created consecutive hyphens in some file names. These are proving difficult to remedy using the rename command.

I have tried unsuccessfully with several different iterations of the following:

rename 's/--/-/g'

I do understand that double hyphens are reserved for end of arguments but a backslash escape doesn't seem to work here and I'm out of other ideas.

I am relatively new to command line processing so your patience is appreciated.

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    What was wrong with rename 's/--/-/g'? did you get error? – αғsнιη Nov 25 '14 at 16:31
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To squash multiple hyphens (one hyphen followed by one or more hyphens) into a single one for all files in the current directory use:

rename 's/--+/-/g' -- *

The -- is important if files start with a hyphen, otherwise they would be interpreted as command line arguments. The * expands to the list of files in the current directory.

  • What does the + do? Just so I have a better understanding and possibly solve similar issues going forward. That worked like a champ by the way! – visyoual Nov 25 '14 at 16:59
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    It matches one or more of the preceding expression (the character -). – Marco Nov 25 '14 at 17:04

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