Quick Navigator

Search Site

Unix VPS
A - Starter
B - Basic
C - Preferred
D - Commercial
MPS - Dedicated
Previous VPSs
* Sign Up! *

Contact Us
Online Help
Domain Status
Man Pages

Virtual Servers

Topology Map

Server Agreement
Year 2038

USA Flag



Man Pages

Manual Reference Pages  -  QMV (1)


qmv, qcp - Rename or copy files quickly, editing the file names in a text editor


Renaming/copying Process
Edit Formats
Dual-column Format
Single-column Format
Destination-only Format
Interactive Mode
Reporting Bugs


qcp [OPTION]... [FILE]...

qmv [OPTION]... [FILE]...

qcmd --command=COMMAND [OPTION]... [FILE]...


This manual page document describes the qcp, qmv and qcmd commands.

The qmv program allows files to be renamed by editing their names in any text editor. By changing a letter in a text document, a letter in a filename can be changed. Since the files are listed after each other, common changes can be made more quickly.

The qcp program works like qmv, but copies files instead of moving them.

The qmv program was built with safety in mind - bogus renames caused by human error are avoided by performing as many checks as possible. Because of this, qmv supports an interactive mode where each step in the rename procedure can be executed manually. The default is to start qmv in non-interactive mode. However, when there is a conflict or error, qmv will drop to interactive mode (instead of losing all user-made changes). For more information on the renaming process and interactive mode, see below. This also applies to qcp.

The qcmd program works just like qmv and qcp but allows you to specify which command to execute.

The ls(1) program is used to list files to rename or copy. Therefore qmv, qcp, and qcmd accepts some ls options.


The process of renaming or copying files consists of many steps. They are:
List files
  Generate a list files to rename from command-line arguments by using ls(1).
Create an editable text file
  The edit format creates an editable text file with the file names.
Start the editor
  Start the text editor and wait until the user has finished editing it.
Read the edited text file
  The edit format reads the edited text file now with updated file names.
Check rename and reorder to resolve conflicts (qmv only)
  This is a complicated step which involves the following tasks:

Tag renames where the destination file already exists, renames where the old file is now missing or inaccessible, and renames renames where the new name was not changed. Perform a topologic sort on the renames, so that renaming b->c, a->b is possible. Resolve cross references by renaming into temporary names, so that renaming e->f, f->e (or e->f, f->g, g->e and so on) is possible.

This step results in a plan of renames.

Display the plan.
  Display the plan to the user.
Apply the plan.
  Apply the plan by actually renaming or copying files (unless --dummy was specified).
If an error occurs during any of the above steps (except the first), qmv/qcp drops the user into the interactive mode. This way no changes should be lost, and errors can be corrected manually before continuing. See below for a description of the interactive mode.


These programs follow the usual GNU command line syntax, with long options starting with two dashes (‘-’).
-a, --all (Passed to ls.) Do not hide entries starting with ‘.’.
-A, --almost-all
  (Passed to ls.) Do not list implied ‘.’ and ‘..’.
-B, --ignore-backups
  (Passed to ls.) Do not list implied entries ending with ‘~’.
-c (Passed to ls.) Sort by ctime (time of last modification).
  Execute COMMAND instead of mv or cp.
-d, --directory
  (Passed to ls.) List directory entires instead of contents.
-r, --reverse
  (Passed to ls.) Reverse order while sorting.
-R, --recursive
  (Passed to ls.) List subdirectories recursively.
-S (Passed to ls.) Sort by file size.
  (Passed to ls.) Sort by extension (-X), none (-U), size (-S), time (-t), version (-v), status (-c), time (-t), atime (-u), or access (-u).
  (Passed to ls.) If sorting is done by time (--sort=time), sort by atime, access, use, ctime or status time.
-t (Passed to ls.) Sort by modification time.
-u (Passed to ls.) Sort by access time.
-U (Passed to ls.) Do not sort; list entries in directory order.
-X (Passed to ls.) Sort alphabetically by entry extension.
-f, --format=FORMAT
  Change edit format of text file. See below for possible values.
-o, --options=OPTIONS
  Pass options to the selected edit format. OPTIONS is in the format


For a list of available options for each format, use --options=help or see below.

-i, --interactive
  Start in command mode (see below for information on this mode).
-e, --editor=PROGRAM
  Specify program to edit text file with. The default program is determined by looking at the VISUAL environment variable, or if that is not set, the EDITOR environment variable. If that is not set either, use the program called editor.
  Specify path of the ls program. If you omit the directory, the executable will be searched for in the directories specified by the PATH environment variable.
-v, --verbose
  Be more verbose about what is being done.
--dummy Do everything as usually, except actually renaming any files ("dummy" mode).
--help Show summary of options.
  Output version information and exit.


An edit format is responsible for generating a text file for editing, and parsing it once it has been edited. The default format is dual-column, but there are other formats as well.

Not all edit formats take the same options. Therefore, it is necessary to specify them using the --options (-o) option. This option takes a list of "suboptions" similar to the -o option in mount(8).

Available edit formats are ‘single-column’ (or ‘sc’), ‘dual-column’ (or ‘dc’), and ‘destination-only’ (or ‘do’). The default format is dual-column.


The dual-column format (‘dual-column’ or ‘dc’) displays files in two columns. This is the default and recommended format. The leftmost column is usually the source file name (which should not be edited), and the rightmost column the destination file name.

Supported options:
swap Swap location of old and new names when editing. I.e. the leftmost column is now the destination file name, and the rightmost the source file name.
  Put a blank line between all renames.
  By default, tab characters of size 8 are used to separate the columns. With this option the width of these tab characters can be changed.
spaces Use space characters instead of tab characters when indenting.
  This option specifies the character position (horizontally) which the second file name starts at.
  Normally, if the source file name is longer than width characters, the destination name is printed on the next line instead. With this option enabled however, qmv/qcp will adjust the width so that source and destination file names can be displayed on one line.

If a width has been specified with width prior to autowidth, that width will be used as a minimum width.

Example: Assume that width=10,autowidth is specified. Even if all source file names are shorter than five characters, the split width would be 10. If there had been one file name longer than 10 characters, the final width would have been more than 10 characters.

This option is enabled by default.

  Text to put before the first file name (column).
  Text to put before the second file name (column).
help Show summary of edit format options.


The single-column format (‘single-column’ or ‘sc’) displays files in a single column - first source file name and on the next line the destination file name.

Supported options:
swap Swap location of old and new names when editing. I.e. the first line will contain the destination file name, and the next line the source file name.
  Put a blank line between all renames.
  Text to put before the first file name.
  Text to put before the second file name.
help Show summary of edit format options.


The destination-only format (‘destination-only’ or ‘do’) displays files only the destination file name, one on each line. This format is generally not recommended, since the only way to identify source file name is by looking at the line number. But it may be useful with some text editors.

Supported options:
  Put a blank line between all renames (file names).


In interactive mode qmv/qcp reads commands from the keyboard, parses them, and executes them. This is done using GNU readline.

The following commands are available:
ls, list [OPTIONS].. [FILES]..
  Select files to rename. If no files are specified, select all files in current directory. The accepted options are those which are passed to ls(1). Use ‘help ls’ to display a list of these.
import FILE
  Read files to rename from a text file. Each line should correspond to an existing file to rename.
ed, edit
  Edit renames in a text editor. If this command has been run before, and not ‘all’ is specified, only edit renames with errors.
plan Display the current rename-plan. (This plan is created after ‘edit’.)
apply Apply the current plan, i.e. rename files. Only those files marked as OK in the plan will be renamed.
retry If some rename failed earlier during ‘apply’, this command will try those renames again.
show Display the value of the specified configuration variable, or all variables if none specified. See below for a list of configuration variables.
  Set the value of a configuration variable.
exit, quit
  Exit the program. If there are unapplied changes, the user will be notified so, and it will be necessary to run this command an extra time to exit the program.
help [ls|usage]
  If ‘ls’ is specified, display list options. If ‘usage’ is specified, display accepted command line options. Otherwise display help on commands in interactive mode.
  Display version information.


The following variables are available in interactive mode:
editor STRING
format STRING
options STRING
  These variables corresponds to the options with the same name.
tempfile STRING
  This variable contains the name of the temporary file which is edited with ‘edit’. It cannot be set; only be read with ‘show’.
A boolean value is specified as ‘0’, ‘false’, ‘no’, ‘off’ or ‘1’, ‘true’, ‘yes’, and ‘on’. Strings are specified without quotes.


Edit names of files in current directory.

Edit names of files with extension ‘.c’. Sort files by modification time.
        qmv -t *.c

Edit names of files using the nedit editor and with column width 100.
        qmv -enedit -owidth=100


Report bugs to <>.


The author of renameutils and this manual page is Oskar Liljeblad <>.


Copyright © 2001, 2002, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2011 Oskar Liljeblad

This is free software; see the source for copying conditions. There is NO warranty; not even for MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE.

Search for    or go to Top of page |  Section 1 |  Main Index

qcmd (renameutils) QCMD (1) December 4, 2007

Powered by GSP Visit the GSP FreeBSD Man Page Interface.
Output converted with manServer 1.07.