Rename Subdirectories in a Tree: the Bash way

  • rename • task • script • subdirectory • tree • automation • easy • directory • bash
  • 243 words

My granma always used to say every time she was recompiling the Linux Kernel of her wash machine:

Bash Scripting is GREAT! Be sure you learn it. One day will understand why it can make your life much easier.

And she was right! I’m not an Bash expert, but when I spend that 10 minutes putting together that scripts that makes that tedious task _piece of cake, the satisfaction is as tick as a Mug of Coffee.

Today I got this new colleague having to rename a lot of specific directories in a deep directory tree, and I decided to help.

Here is the full code:

# Simple Bash script to recursively rename Subdirectories in a Tree.
# Author: Ivan De Marino <>
# Usage:
# <starting directory> <new dir name> <old dir name>

usage () {
   echo "Simple Bash script to recursively rename Subdirectories in a Tree."
   echo "Author: Ivan De Marino <>"
   echo "Usage:"
   echo " <starting directory> <old dir name> <new dir name>"
   exit 1

[ "$#" -eq 3 ] || usage

   cd "$1"
   for dir in *
      if [ -d "$dir" ]; then
         echo "Directory found: '$dir'"
         ( recursive "$dir" "$2" "$3" )
         if [ "$dir" == "$2" ]; then
            echo "Renaming '$2' in '$3'"
            mv "$2" "$3"

recursive "$1" "$2" "$3"

Clean and Fun: I learned how to do recursion in Bash.

Happy (Bash) Scripting.