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perlmv - Rename/move files using Perl code


This document describes version 0.50 of perlmv (from Perl distribution App-perlmv), released on 2015-11-17.



 # Show help
 perlmv -h

 # Execute a single scriptlet
 perlmv [options] <scriptlet> <file...>

 # Execute code from command line
 perlmv [options] -e <code> <file...>

 # Execute multiple scriptlets/command-line codes
 perlmv [options] [ -x <scriptlet> | -e <code> ]+ <file...>

 # Create a new scriptlet
 perlmv -e <code> -w <name>

 # List available scriptlets
 perlmv -l

 # Show source code of a scriptlet
 perlmv -s <name>

 # Delete scriptlet
 perlmv -d <name>

Usage examples

 $ ls -1

Rename files with prewritten scriptlet (remove-common-prefix) and show (-v) each file as it is being renamed.

 $ perlmv -v remove-common-prefix file1.jpg files.txt
 `file1.jpg` -> `1.jpg`
 `` -> ``
 `files.txt` -> `s.txt`

Specify script in command line (-e) but do not actually move files (-d, dry-run mode):

 $ perlmv -de 's/\d+//g' *
 DRYRUN: `B1` -> `B`
 DRYRUN: `c2.txt` -> `c.txt`
 DRYRUN: `` -> ``
 DRYRUN: `` -> ``

Really rename the files this time:

 $ perlmv -e 's/\d+//g' *

Execute multiple scriptlets and/or command-line code:

 $ ls -1

 $ perlmv -vx to-number-ext -e '"file$_"' *
 `a.txt` -> `1.txt` -> `file1.txt`
 `b.html` -> `2.html` -> `file2.html`
 `c.ini` -> `3.ini` -> `file3.ini`

Save Perl code as scriptlet (in ~/.perlmv/scriptlets/):

 $ perlmv -e 's/\d+//g' -w remove-digits

List all scriptlets (add -v to also show their contents):

 $ perlmv -l

Show (-s) source code of scriptlet:

 $ perlmv -s remove-digits

Remove (-D) scriptlet:

 $ perlmv -D remove-digits

More examples

From my real-world usage.

Rename .flv partial files from my Firefox browser cache into ordered names (part01.flv, part02.flv, and so on):

 $ ls --sort=t -r *01 | xargs perlmv -Tdx to-number-ext -e '"part$_.flv"'
 DRYRUN: `15D9F85Ad01` -> `01` -> `part01.flv`
 DRYRUN: `FF8EB240d01` -> `02` -> `part02.flv`
 DRYRUN: `9031E9A8d01` -> `03` -> `part03.flv`


Perlmv lets you rename/move files using Perl code. All the Perl code needs to do is modify the filename in $_ (or just return a value) and perlmv will do the rest (actual renaming, recursive renaming, handling filename conflicts, dry-run mode, etc.).

New filename will be taken from the new value of $_ (if it is modified) or the last expression. So '$_ = lc' and 'lc' are equivalent.

The following variables are also available to the Perl code:

Perl code will first be run (eval-ed) once at the beginning for testing, with -TEST as the filename in $_ (and $TESTING will be set to true). Perl code is not run under strict/warnings. Perl code is run under App::perlmv::code namespace.

When using the App::perlmv library, there is also the the so-called cleaning phase (in which Perl code will be run with $CLEANING set to true) that can be used for cleaning purposes in between runs. This is however irrelevant to perlmv command as there is only a single run.

Perl code can be specified directly from the command line (using -e), or by name in ~/.perlmv/scriptlets/NAME, or in /usr/share/perlmv/scriptlets/, or in %scriptlets in App::perlmv::scriptlets, or in %scriptlets in App::perlmv::scriptlets::std.


 -c  (--compile) Only test compile code, do not run it on the arguments
 -D <NAME> (--delete) Delete scriptlet
 -d  (--dry-run) Dry-run (implies -v)
 -e <CODE> (--execute) Specify Perl code to rename file (\$_). Can be specified
     multiple times.
 -f  (--files) Only process files, do not process directories
 -h  (--help) Show this help
 -l  (--list) list all scriptlets
 -M <MODE> (--mode) Specify mode, default is 'rename' (or 'r'). Use 'copy' or
     'c' to copy instead of rename, 'symlink' or 's' to create a symbolic link,
     and 'link' or 'l' to create a (hard) link.
 -o  (--overwrite) Overwrite (by default, ".1", ".2", and so on will be appended
     to avoid overwriting existing files)
 -p  (--parents) Create intermediate directories
 -R  (--recursive) Recursive
 -r  (--reverse) reverse order of processing (by default asciibetically)
 -S  (--no-symlinks) Do not process symlinks
 -s <NAME> (--show) Show source code for scriptlet
 -T  (--no-sort) do not sort files (default is sort ascibetically)
 -V  (--version) Print version and exit
 -v  (--verbose) Verbose
 -w <NAME> (--write) Write code specified in -e as scriptlet
 -x <NAME> Execute a scriptlet. Can be specified multiple times. -x is optional
     if there is only one scriptlet to execute, and scriptlet name is specified
     as the first argument, and there is no -e specified.


Why should I use perlmv? There is prename (File::Rename) already?

Yes, there is a very similar script called prename (also accessible via rename in Debian) which comes with Perl. This script reinvents prename and offers more features, e.g.: automatic renaming in case of conflicts, recursive mode, and saving and loading scriptlets.

And there is also pmv (File::PerlMove)!

Okay, you got me. I didn't do my homework. The "rename files using Perl code/expression" is pretty obvious and has surely come up on other CPAN authors' minds. To be honest, this is a script which I wrote years ago (at least in 2003, or earlier) and have been using for years, personally. Admittedly I uploaded this script to CPAN without careful checking of existing solutions on CPAN. But then, lots of other CPAN modules are also overlapping in functionality with one another.

Anyway, I plan to improve perlmv as I see fit, mainly for my own needs. I plan to borrow some features from prename/pmv, and welcome them borrowing features from perlmv. I welcome patches. And I am willing to submit patches to prename/pmv after some discussions with the respective authors. And lastly, I am also open to the idea of merging perlmv to either pername/pmv, if I can get all the features I love in perlmv into those projects.



prename (File::Rename)

pm (File::PerlMove)

Other binaries in this distribution: perlrename, perlcp, perlln, perlln_s.


Please visit the project's homepage at


Source repository is at


Please report any bugs or feature requests on the bugtracker website

When submitting a bug or request, please include a test-file or a patch to an existing test-file that illustrates the bug or desired feature.


perlancar <>


This software is copyright (c) 2015 by

This is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the same terms as the Perl 5 programming language system itself.

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