Rename files consecutively with Tab key in File Explorer

Previously, we covered how to rename multiple files in File Explorer without using third party tools. Today, I would like to share one more renaming related tip. In this article, we will see how to rename files consecutively using the Tab key in File Explorer.

In File Explorer, which is the default File Manager in all modern Windows versions, you won't find a special button to rename files one after the other. However, it can still be done using the keyboard.

The fastest and most popular method to rename a file in Windows is to select it and press F2. If multiple files are selected, the name of the first file will become editable. After you enter the name, any selected files will get the same name but with an additional number appended to the name which will be incremented automatically. We covered it with screenshots here: Rename multiple files at once in File Explorer.

But if you want to give each file a different name, pressing F2, then Enter, then selecting the next file by using arrow keys, again pressing F2 and then Enter becomes a very long and cumbersome process. Instead, you can quickly rename files consecutive. Here is how:

  1. Open a folder in File Explorer which contains the files you want to rename.
  2. Select the first file and press F2 to edit its name:
  3. After typing the new name, do not press Enter. Instead, press the Tab key. The first file will be renamed and the name of the next file will automatically become editable so you avoid the need to press Enter and arrow keys to select the next file, and press F2 again:

Press Shift + Tab and it will take you back to the previous file in the list in Rename mode. This is a very useful and time saving trick. It works in all modern versions of Microsoft Windows including Windows 10, Windows 8, Windows 7 and Windows Vista.

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Author: Sergey Tkachenko

Sergey Tkachenko is a software developer who started Winaero back in 2011. On this blog, Sergey is writing about everything connected to Microsoft, Windows and popular software. Follow him on Telegram, Twitter, and YouTube.

6 thoughts on “Rename files consecutively with Tab key in File Explorer”

  1. typo
    Press Shift + F2 and it will take you back to the previous file
    must be
    Press Shift + Tab and it will take you back to the previous file

  2. From the pictures, I’m assujming you’re using 10 for this trick. Just a heads up that this doesn’t work in Windows 7. Pressing tab has the same effect as pressing enter.

  3. I have one computer on which this works fine, and another on which, if I actually change the filename and then press Tab, instead of moving down to rename the next file, I end up being bumped out of “rename” mode, and having both the current file and the one below it highlighted. If I don’t actually modify the filename though, I *can* tab to the next file and stay in “rename” mode.

    It’s very annoying, because I do this kind of renaming quite a lot.
    Both computers are running up-to-date Win10 x64, so I’ve no idea why the discrepancy in behavior.

    Anyone have any idea what the cause might be?

    1. Similar problems here. It doesn’t completely bump me out, but while typing the next file, the name gets highlighted (apart from .docx) and so I overwrite it completely. Even if I wait, or press crtl+z, the same happens two, even three times.

      Somehow this operation costs a lot of CPU capacity even if it looks so simple. I process hundreds of files and actually I was very happy on my laptops of yore (i.e. 7-10 years ago?) but now just. doesn’t. work. Were it fixed I would definitely be very happy (:


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