I have a list of files, in different folders, named like


In some of them, I need to remove everything up to the second _, so they become


In others (already in a separate folder), I need to remove everything up to the third _


I know commands such as rename, which use some REGEX, but I don't know the exact expression for this case. How can I do that on Linux terminal?

2 Answers 2


With the Perl Rename utility,

$ ls
$ rename -n 's/([^_]*_){2}//' *
rename(aaaaaa_bb_cccc_ddddd_ee.jpg, cccc_ddddd_ee.jpg)
$ rename -n 's/([^_]*_){3}//' *
rename(aaaaaa_bb_cccc_ddddd_ee.jpg, ddddd_ee.jpg)

The -n flag tells Rename to output what it would do. If you remove -n, the modifications will be applied.

The * will expand to every file in the current directory. In the example above, there was only one file, but Rename can operate on multiple files in a single run, in which case * is faster instead of a shell loop.

s/([^_]*_){2}// means: substitute every occurrence of the ([^_]*_){2} regular expression in filenames by nothing. The regex means: any number of non-underscores [^_]* followed by a underscore _ repeated twice.


To eliminate everything up to the second _

rename -n 's/[^_]*[_][^_]*[_]//' *

To eliminate everything up to the third _

rename -n 's/[^_]*[_][^_]*[_][^_]*[_]//' *

Remove the -n to effectively change the filenames, and not just test.

  • 2
    Nice to see you came up with a solution! Just a note: It is good to quote the regex so as to prevent the shell from expanding the * as globs (highly unlikely in this case, though, you would have to have a very weirdly named file for that to happen.).
    – Quasímodo
    Sep 20, 2020 at 16:57
  • 1
    @Quasímodo Good to know. Thank you!
    – Rodrigo
    Sep 20, 2020 at 16:58

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