As a follow-up to my previous question, if I have multiple files of the form


What command can I use to remove the ras. in the middle of all the files?

  • Do you want to remove only the ras, i.e. end up with sw..001, or the ras., leaving sw.001? – Kevin Mar 2 '12 at 20:11
  • i'd probably want to remove the 'ras.'. would the command be very different? – Paul Mar 2 '12 at 20:12
  • No, just whether you include the \. in the patterns. – Kevin Mar 2 '12 at 20:19

You can do this with a fairly small modification of either answer from the last question:

rename s/ras\.// sw.ras.*


for file in sw.ras.*; do
    mv "$file" "${file/ras./}"


rename is a perl script that takes a perl regular expression and a list of files, applies the regex to each file's name in turn, and renames each file to the result of applying the regex. In our case, ras is matched literally and \. matches a literal . (as . alone indicates any character other than a newline), and it replaces that with nothing.

The for loop takes all files that start with sw.ras. (standard shell glob) and loops over them. ${var/search/replace} searches $var for search and replaces the first occurrence with replace, so ${file/ras./} returns $file with the first ras. removed. The command thus renames the file to the same name minus ras.. Note that with this search and replace, . is taken literally, not as a special character.

  • Could you explain your answer to others learning from? What "s/ras\.// sw.ras.*" do? I guess I know it but I want to be sure, and other can learn too. Second option same way. – H_7 Mar 3 '12 at 16:47
  • 1
    @H_7 Good idea, I've added an explanation. – Kevin Mar 3 '12 at 18:09

Another option is to use mmv (Mass MoVe and rename):

mmv '*ras.*' '#1#2'

Don't forget to use the single quotes around your patterns, otherwise the stars will be expanded at the shell level.

The utility is not always available but if it's not, you can install it with:

sudo apt-get install mmv

See the man page here.

  • 1
    That's a great tool!!! – Christian May 11 '17 at 19:20

In any POSIX-compliant shell (bash, dash, ksh, etc):

for file in sw.ras.[[:digit:]][[:digit:]][[:digit:]]; do
    mv "${file}" "${file/ras\./}"

Or with rename:

rename 's/ras\.//' sw.ras.[[:digit:]][[:digit:]][[:digit:]]

I recently had to do a bulk rename of a number of files where I had to replace the last occurrence of a character where the character occurred multiple times in the filenames. In this particular case I had to replace the last dash - with an underscore _, turning this:


into this:


It took some time but this finally did it:

for FILE in *; do mv $FILE ${FILE%-*}_${FILE##*-}; done


  • ${i%-*} matches the begining of the filename up to the last occurrence of the dash -
  • ${file##*-} matches the rest of the filename after the last occurrence of the dash -

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