Revert to Original Filename

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Today’s Question: A while back you talked about preserving the original filename in metadata when you rename photos. Is there any way to then use that information to rename a photo back to the original filename?

Tim’s Quick Answer: Yes, you can rename photos back to the original filename in both Adobe Bridge and Lightroom. In Adobe Bridge you can use the “Preserved Filename” option in the Batch Rename dialog (as long as the original filename was preserved). In Lightroom you can use a template for file renaming that employs the “Original Filename” option.

More Detail: When you rename photos in Adobe Bridge or Lightroom, you can preserve the original filename so that you can later revert to that original filename if you’d like. Lightroom preserves the original file automatically whenever you use the Rename Photos command available from the Library menu in the Library module. In Adobe Bridge you need to turn on the “Preserve current filename in XMP Metadata” checkbox in the Batch Rename dialog in order to actually save the original filename so it can be used later.

To revert to the original preserved filename in Adobe Bridge, you can once again use the Batch Rename command found on the Tools menu after selecting the images you want to rename. Remove all but one renaming element from the list under the New Filenames label. Then click the first popup for the one element that remains and choose “Preserved Filename” from that popup. You can then simply use the “Name” option from the second popup, since the filename extension can be left as it is. The third popup can be left at the “Original Case” setting. Adjust any other settings as desired, and then click the Rename button to apply the renaming to the selected images.

If you’re using Lightroom, you’ll need to define a new file-renaming template that includes the “Original Filename” option. Start by selecting the images you want to rename, and then choose Library > Rename Photos from the menu. In the Rename Photos dialog click the “File Naming” popup and choose “Edit” from that popup.

In the Filename Template Editor you can clear out the text field that defines the renaming structure. Then, within the Image Name section below, make sure “Original Filename” is selected from the second popup. Then click the Insert button to the right of that “Original Filename” popup to add that element to the renaming structure. Click the Preset popup at the top of the Filename Template Editor dialog and choose “Save Current Settings as New Preset” from that popup. In the dialog that appears type a meaningful name for the preset and click the Create button. Click Done in the Filename Template Editor dialog to close it, and then click OK in the Rename Photos dialog to apply the renaming to the selected images.