Renaming Media Files from Within RM8

There have been a couple of previous threads in this forum about renaming media files in RM8, but think the question deserves additional discussion.

In RM7, you could go to the media list, highlight a media file, click the Properties button, and click the Change Media File button. This would take you into what might be described as the Windows File-=>Open dialog where you could select a different media file. Instead of selecting a “different” media file, you could use Windows to rename the file and select the newly renamed file as the “different” media file. RM7 would happily start using what it thinks is the “new” file even though you as the user know it’s the old file that has been renamed. So far, so good.

In RM8, you can do more or less the same thing and the workflow is not very different. From the main Media tab on the left side of the screen, highlight the media file to be renamed in the left pane and then click on the Filename item in the right pane. A very tiny “file” icon will appear at the far right end of the Filename item. You can click on the “file” icon to go into Windows File=>Open dialog, and the process appears to be the same. Except that it’s not so far, so good this time.

In the RM7 case, you will be in the folder where the file you wish to rename is located. In the RM8 case, you will be in the default media folder. The file you wish to rename is likely not to be in the default media folder, especially if you have any kind of subfolder structure at all. I suspect that navigating at this point to the correct folder to find the file in the Windows file system is beyond the skill level of many RM users. The ability to rename a media file without breaking the media link is therefore impossible for many RM users.

I specifically mentioned Windows and the Windows file system because I’m a Windows user. I’m not a Mac user but my understanding is that the concept is the same on a Mac. For example, one Mac user reported finding an RM media file being renamed from within RM using the Mac Finder facility.

I know we are not to expect RM8 to work just like RM7, but this seems to me to be a case where the way RM8 is doing it is simply a bug and that the bug needs to be fixed. Namely, when you click on that little “file” icon in RM8 it should take you to the folder where the file is actually located. Otherwise, I think the ability to rename media files is lost to most RM8 users.

In addition, when I did an experiment in RM8 where I actually did choose a completely different media file to replace the current one, the thumbnail for the current file was not rebuilt. If I opened the file, it was the new file but the thumbnail still showed the old file. And even doing a complete rebuild of all thumbnails did not solve the problem of the wrong thumbnail for the newly changed media file.

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Regarding the last paragraph - not an ideal solution but to refresh the thumbnail just put a 1 (or any other character) in the Ref# field and hit the check/tick mark and the thumbnail will refresh. You can then delete the 1. If you use this field for an actual Ref# just insert a space before it and refresh. Then remove the space and re-refresh. I think it was Tom Holden that posted this solution but can’t remember which forum it was on.

I just tested on mac with slightly different results. (My system is old intel HW - late 2013). As expected, I get the same behavior when clicking on the “file” icon inside the filename field of the media window. The ‘File-Open’ popup window defaults to the directory listed under the Media Folder Setting, not the folder listed in the actual file path. On a mac, I have to right-click to see the “rename” action. However, I cannot type any characters after selecting “rename”, so the file name cannot be changed from within RM8. All I can do is select a different file name.

On the plus side, when I change the photo and click the “Save” check mark , the thumbnail immediately updates as I would expect.

[edit] I just checked RM7 and it behaves the same way in regards to the “rename” action not working from within RM. I suspect this is related to changes in macOS a few releases back to tighten down file permissions that Apps have.

Also, in the past when I have had to change the file name of previously attached media, I always did it as a two-step process. Change the filename via 'Finder" (mac equivalent of windows File Explorer) and then select the new filename within RM7 or RM8. I suspect this is what the mac user you referenced was describing.

I suspect you are correct about how Mac users have been doing it.

The same conceptual solution will also work on Windows if you don’t wish to rename a media file from within RM. Namely, rename the media file in Windows and from outside of RM. Then immediately (so you don’t forget) go back into RM and change the media file to the newly renamed file. When you first go back into RM, the media link for the file will be broken but the media tags to things like people, events, sources and citations will still be intact. So changing the media file to the newly renamed file while the media tags are still intact is the key thing you need to accomplish.

Many users seem to want to repair the problem by deleting the media file and starting all over, and then they realize that the media tags are all gone. They may not be familiar with the term media tags, but they do realize that they will have to find all the items within RM to which the media file was linked and do something to re-establish those internal links.


Jerry: I tried this on my mac and clicking the small file icon puts you in Finder in the default top media folder. If I drill down to the appropriate subfolder and file and change in the name it breaks the RM8 media link. If you click on the file name and make a name change it also breaks the link.

RM8 is great at finding and linking to nested subfolders but fails miserably at attempts to rename particular files. FTM 2019 is terrible at linking to subfolders (fights you all the way) but has a rename command that works just fine. However a change in FTM then breaks RM8.

I have said many times, I’m not a Mac user. But it sounds like the Mac is not letting you choose the new name after you do the rename.

Does the Mac allow you to choose a different file to replace the original one in RM if no rename is involved?

Yes, choosing a different media file to replace the original one in RM works fine on mac. No issues there and, for me, the thumbnail image updates as expected.

And, sorry, did not mean to hijack your thread into a mac / windows discussion.

I recently had a need to rename over 1400 filenames, which I did using search and replace. I then updated the thumbnails in one go by taking a backup and then restoring it.

That sounds like an overly simplified description. Your old filenames must have been systematically named before you could effectively use search and replace within RM and to efficiently rename the files in your OS. And your backup and restore operation may have had a detrimental effect if you had your media files in multiple folders according to some intelligent structure. Now the database links to copies of them all in a sub-folder from where your database resides bearing the same name as the database. The loss of structure and duplication of files might be a concern for you.