Using NamePic, Long Version

So you're considering taking Wren's advice and using short consistent file names for all your graphics. Wren has a nifty little program for renaming your graphics automatically, which you can find at:

http://www.mcmains.com/wren/tools/namepic.exe
plus an ICON for it at http://www.mcmains.com/wren/tools/namepic.ico

New version 06/07/2001: fixed problem of letter sequences starting with b instead of a when date changed; 4/20/2001 version fixed problem of strange numeric strings under some versions of Windows

Download it and put it in some directory in your search path. (Remember that when Wren says directory, he really means folder. He's been saying directory all his life and like most old dogs, he finds it too hard to learn new names for an old concept.) If you have a directory in your search path where you've been putting programs you've collected, put it there. Otherwise I recommend putting it in c:\WINDOWS\COMMAND where Microsoft keeps the small number of DOS programs they still ship with systems. namepic.ico is an ICON you can attach to any shortcut you might create using namepic. Put both namepic.ico and namepic.exe in the same directory.

Next thing is to decide on a naming convention for your graphics. If you can't stop your camera from numbering pictures starting a 0001 every time you empty the camera, then I recommend a numbering scheme with your initials and a sequential number that namepic assigns the pictures.

It's important that you always initially put your original pictures in the same directory, for example:

c:\Albums\Original\Kodak01

(where Kodak is a short name for your camera, and 01 indicates the year.) If you always put your originals in the same directory you can re-name your pictures using a single shortcut. Let's assume Kodak01 the directory you use and your name is John Smith. Then the shortcut you create to namepic would have as it's target:

  namepic c:\Albums\Original\Kodak01 -u js -n4 -u .jpg

Which means: start the names with the user specified string "js", followed by a four digit number, followed by the string ".jpg".

If you use one of the -n or -a options, the namepic program keeps a file named "number.nxt" in the directory it Starts In with the number it's going to assign the next picture. (You can find/assign the directory namepic “Starts In” by looking at the properties of your shortcut. From DOS, the “Starts In” directory is the directory you are in when you issue the command.) Therefore, to start you have to also create a "number.nxt" file in your “Starts In” directory which initially should contain the number 1. Every time you move pictures from your camera to this directory, you just click on your namepic shortcut--it will show you all the pictures it is about to rename and if you answer "y" it goes ahead and renames them.

If your camera can number every picture uniquely (i.e., it doesn't start over again at 0001 when you empty it) I recommend naming them XX####.jpg where XX are your initials and #### is the original unique number assigned by your camera. Many cameras also produce an INFO file with exposure details for each picture, therefore, using this naming convention let's you tie pictures back to the INFO file -- I keep all my INFO files, they have entries which look like:

  DSCN0310.JPG
  CAMERA       : E990V1.0
  METERING     : MATRIX
  MODE         : M
  SHUTTER      : 1/60sec
  APERTURE     : F2.5
  EXP +/-      : +1.0
  FOCAL LENGTH : f8.2mm(X1.0)
  IMG ADJUST   : AUTO
  SENSITIVITY  : ISO400
  WHITEBAL     : AUTO
  SHARPNESS    : AUTO
  DATE         : 12.18.2000 22:24
  QUALITY      : FULL FINE

To keep the original numbers assigned by your camera use these options in your shortcut's target field:

  namepic c:\Albums\Original\Kodak01 -u js -c 5 13

Which means start the names with the user specified string "js" and then use characters 5 though of the original file name (converting and upper case characters to lower case.)

There are LOTS of other naming conventions supported by namepic, including the date of the picture. Lets say you wanted to name the pictures based on the date, your initials, and a number. The shortcut's target might then read:

  namepic c:\Albums\Original\Kodak01 -f yyyy -f mm -f dd -u js -n3 -u .jpg -r1

which would produce file names like 20010317js001.jpg I don't really like names this long because fewer names can appear in any Window which lists the files (for example, Open Dialog Boxes or Windows Explorer.) Putting your initials in the name helps keep the file names unique when sharing files with friends.

A dated (by month) alternative might use a target something like:

  namepic c:\Albums\Original\Kodak01 -f yy -f mm -u js -n3 -u .jpg -r1
it would produce file names like 0103js001.jpg

Note that the "-f" option uses the date stamp on the file, which, if your camera is setup correctly, is probably the date the picture was taken. It might also be the date the pictures were transferred from your camera. If the dates don't make any sense (they are some years ago) then consider using the "-d" option in place of the "-f" options above which will use the date that the namepic program was run. (Also you might want to set the date correctly in your camera.)

Note the "-r1" option resets the "number.nxt" value to 1 if the "date portion" of the next file being named doesn't match that of the last new file name. It also tries to name the first file being renamed with a "number.nxt" of 1, however, if that file already exists it instead uses the number that was in "number.nxt". Usually this algorithm works well, but there are cases where it can get in trouble. (Especially if you move un-renamed pictures with older dates into a directory where newer files have already been re-named. However, you should be OK if you run namepic every time you download pictures from your camera.)

In addition to the -n2, -n3, -n4, and -n5 options which produce two, three, and four digit numbers, there are also -a1, -a2, and -a3 options which produce one, two, and three character unique alphabetic strings. For example, -a2 would produce aa, ab, ... az, ba, bb, ... bz, ca, ...

Note that you can also rename files which don't begin with the "DSC" strings the cameras usually assign. To do this, add a "-s STRING" option, where STRING is the character string the files to be renamed start with. You can use this option to support cameras which produce file names which don't start with DSC (for example, one line of Sony cameras names there pictures MVC-###.JPG so with that camera your target would need the -s MVC option.) You can also use the -s option to rename files which have previously renamed.

Good luck, and report any problems to Wren. Not all the options have been well tested, especially the -r1 option, but you shouldn't loose any pictures--namepic should just stop if it tries to assign the same name to two pictures.)