Easy Guide to Renaming Files in Linux

In the world of Linux, mastering file management is essential. Whether you’re a seasoned user or just starting with Linux, knowing how to rename files via the command line can significantly streamline your workflow. Renaming files is a basic yet powerful skill that allows you to organize your data efficiently. Here’s a straightforward guide to help you rename files effortlessly in Linux.

Renaming a File Using the mv Command

The primary command used for renaming files in Linux is mv, which stands for move. Despite its name, mv is also used to rename files by moving them from one name to another.

Step-by-Step Process:

  1. Open a Terminal:
  • First, launch your terminal application. You can typically find this in your applications menu under “System Tools” or by using a keyboard shortcut like Ctrl + Alt + T.
  1. Navigate to the Directory:
  • Use the cd command to navigate to the directory where the file you want to rename is located. For example:
cd /path/to/directory

  1. Rename the File:

Once you’re in the correct directory, use the mv command followed by the current filename and the new filename you want to assign. Here’s the basic syntax:

mv current_filename new_filename

Replace current_filename with the existing name of your file and new_filename with the desired new name. For instance:

mv myfile.txt newfile.txt

This command renames myfile.txt to newfile.txt.

  1. Verify the Rename:
  • After executing the command, verify that the file has been renamed by listing the directory contents using ls:
    You should see the file listed under its new name.

Additional Tips:

  • Wildcard Usage: You can use wildcards like * to rename multiple files matching a certain pattern. For example:
mv *.txt textfiles/

This command renames all .txt files in the current directory and moves them to a subdirectory named textfiles.

  • Absolute and Relative Paths: Ensure you correctly specify the paths when renaming files that are not in your current directory. Absolute paths start with /, while relative paths depend on your current directory.


Renaming files in Linux using the command line might seem daunting at first, but with practice, it becomes second nature. The mv command’s versatility allows you not only to rename files but also to move and organize them efficiently. By mastering this fundamental skill, you’ll enhance your productivity and maintain a well-structured file system in Linux.