I am using a MacBook Pro OS X 2013 model. I have a list of filenames in a text file named list.txt separated by line breaks

list.txt exactly like this, but this list is going to be long


I need these commands to copy the same files to the destination folder thousands of times and I am running into the duplicate file name problem. I need it to copy the files over again but I figure if I rename them sequentially as they are copied to the new folder, then I won't run into the duplicate names. I am copying the same approx. 40 files over and over again thousands of times depending on the order that they appear in list.txt. Each file is between 100KB and 250KB.

I want to copy each file in the order that they are listed in list.txt to another folder and rename them sequentially

I used this to copy the files to the new folder and it worked sort of, it didn't keep or rename the duplicates.

cp `cat list.txt` new-folder/

I am using this to rename them sequentially, but it renames them in the wrong folder

find . -name '*.jpeg' \
| awk 'BEGIN{ a=0 }{ printf "mv %s %04d.jpeg\n", $0, a++ }' \
| bash

I have been trying to combine them using this with no luck:

cat [filename] | while read line; do [command] "$line"; done

I've tried a bunch of combinations of this:

cp `cat list.txt` new-folder/ | while read line; do find . -name '*.jpeg' \
| awk 'BEGIN{ a=0 }{ printf "mv %s %04d.jpeg\n", $0, a++ }' \
| bash "$line"; done

I need the files to appear in the newfolder in the order of list.txt, because I am going to use them by the date added/date creation for the project. I might have to put a delay for each line until it is coppied and renamed.

1 Answer 1


Don't try to build a shell script from a list of files, it's hard to get right and almost always a lot harder than directly executing whatever you need to execute. Instead, when you have the file name available, go ahead and rename it.

while IFS= read -r old_name; do
  new_name=$(printf %04d "$number").jpeg
  mv -- "$old_name" "new-folder/$new_name"
done <list.txt
  • I dont understand how to use this or where to put it. I am not trying to build a shell script from a list of files. I need a shell script that will copy the files as exactly as in list.txt above to a new folder and rename them sequentially as they are pasted. in the exact order as list.txt Jan 19, 2015 at 0:06
  • @timothynorris This is a shell script which does the renaming based on list.txt. You put it in a file (with the initial shebang line which makes it a shell script), make the file executable and execute it. Or, if you just want to execute it once, you can copy-paste onto your command line. That's exactly what you would have done with the commands in your question anyway. Jan 19, 2015 at 0:11
  • i think you are saying that it will rename the files as in list.txt, i don't need it to rename the files as in list.txt, i need it to copy the files as in list.txt and then paste them in a folder and then rename them as they appear in list.txt line by line. because there are only about 40 jpeg's that i need copied over and over again thousands of times in the order of list.txt i apologize if i don't understand i don't have much experience in programming Jan 19, 2015 at 0:20
  • @timothynorris I don't understand. Do you mean that you want to copy the file rather than move them? If so, call cp instead of mv. Jan 19, 2015 at 0:23
  • I'm doing a time-lapse, what i need it to do. the order of things to copy are in list.txt separated by line breaks. like this b.jpeg o.jpeg o.jpeg k.jpeg those four files when i put them in the time-lapse program it will spell book. i need it to copy each file in list.txt and rename them sequentially as the are pasted in the new folder Jan 19, 2015 at 0:43

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