Bulk Renaming Items in Illustrator

Ai Toolbox lets you rename multiple elements at once. This includes artboards, paths, layers, symbols, gradients, spot colors, swatches and patterns. You can rename all the elements or just the selected ones. So select what you want to rename if needed, then click Edit → Rename Everything in Illustrator’s main menu.

Ai Toolbox “Rename Everything” window will pop up:

Rename Everything window of Ai Toolbox

From top to bottom you see:

At the bottom there is a list of items to be renamed. On the left you see the old names, on the right — the new names after applying all the rules.

Finally, at the very bottom there is a Rename only selected items checkbox. If enabled, Ai Toolbox will only rename the items you selected in the list. Not in Illustrator, but in the list of Ai Toolbox. This lets you fine–tune the items for renaming.

Filtering Items

Here I switched the Rename selector to All Paths and the list displays all the path names of the currently opened document. It is an Origami project with a dieline and say I want to rename all the unnamed paths:

Renaming unnamed paths with Ai Toolbox

In order to rename just them, we need to filter them out first. Let’s type "<Rect" into the filter field, then press Enter and see what happens:

Filtering paths for renaming in Ai Toolbox

The list at the bottom of the window becomes shorter and only contains the items with the text you typed. This way you can easily shorten the list of items to rename, so you can hand–pick the right ones later.

Replacing Text

Let’s continue with the unnamed paths we started and try changing their names somehow. Type “Rectangle” in the Replace text field and type “Hello” in the with field. Then see what happens with the list:

Replacing text in items names for renaming in Ai Toolbox

The plugin finds all the names with “Rectangle” and replaces it with “Hello”. Note that the search is case–sensitive, so if you type “rectangle” instead of “Rectangle” nothing will be changed.

If the name does not contain the source text, it is left intact. If the Replace text is empty, no replacing happens even if the with field is not empty.

Case Conversion

You can change the text case of the renamed items to lower, upper or title using the Case conversion drop–down list. Here is an example of making artboard names uppercase:

Making elements names uppercase in Illustrator

Case conversion happens after replacing text elements, so it affects the replaced texts, as well.

Name Template

The last field is called Name template and it is the main field of the renaming tool of Ai Toolbox. Basically, if you put any text there, all the items will be named like that. Try it yourself with the unnamed paths we used above:

Using name template for renaming in Ai Toolbox

As soon as you type something in the Name template field, the right side of the list is changed to what you typed. All the source and replaced texts are ignored. Sometimes this is exactly what is needed, but not always so there are some other options.

Name Template — Numbering

Try typing “test-xxx {#}” in the Name template field and see what happens:

Automatic numbering of elements in Ai Toolbox

Ai Toolbox replaces all the “{#}” with auto–incrementing number, so you can get unique names for all the renamed elements.

If you have more than 10 elements (or more than 100) you might want adding extra zeroes at the beginning, so you get “Item 09”, “Item 10” instead of “Item 9”, “Item 10”. To do so simply use “{##}” for 2–digit numbers, or “{###}” for 3–digit numbers and so on:

Making two-digit numbers for automatic renaming in Ai Toolbox

You can put the numbers in front or in the middle of the name like this: “{#} hello”, “new {##} name”.

Name Template — Advanced Numbering

There are two more fields on the right of the Name template one, called Base index and Step. Both are used for numbering and let you configure the way the items are numbered.

The Base index parameter defines the initial value of the counter when the renaming is started. It lets you number the items starting from a given value:

Numbering elements in Illustrator starting from a given number

The base index is set to 10 above, so the elements are numbered as 10, 11 and 12 accordingly.

The Step parameter lets you do two things: the first is numbering with skip count:

Numbering elements in Illustrator with skip count

Here the base index is set to 100 and the step is 10, so the items are numbered as 100, 110 and 120.

The second thing the Step parameters allows you is backward or negative numbering. Set the base index to some value, then set the step to “-1” and see the result:

Backward numbering of elements in Illustrator

Here we have three elements, so the base index is set to 3, the step is -1 and the items are numbered as 3, 2, 1.

Name Template — Source Name

Finally, you can use the original name in the template by using “{name}” element. Try setting the Name template parameter to “Hello {name} {##}”:

Using source element name as a part of the new name in Ai Toolbox

Every time Ai Toolbox meets the “{name}” placeholder in the template, it replaces it with the original name processed with “Replace text with” and “Case conversion” parameters, if any. That’s why the default name template is always “{name}”, so it simply passes the current name on.

You can make complex name templates by combining your own custom texts and both name and number placeholders like this: “{##} {name} reviewed”, “{name} vs {name} {#} by John” etc.

Rename Selected

The checkbox at the bottom lets you pick the items for renaming. If you check that box and then click the item in the list, the result might be surprising:

Renaming just one item in Ai Toolbox

As the checkbox says, Ai Toolbox only renamed the items you selected. As you selected just one item, only that item is renamed. Note that it has nothing with your current Illustrator selection. It is just about the items selected in the list of the Ai Toolbox renaming window.

It is not worth renaming just one item with the plugin, so you can select multiple items by holding Control/Command and Shift keys (as you normally do multiple selection in other applications):

Renaming multiple items in Ai Toolbox

Note that only the selected items are renamed, the unselected one is left intact.


Once done, simply click Commit to perform the renaming. Simple :)

More Ai Toolbox Tutorials


Conical Labels

Color Bars

Text Operations

Renaming and Selection

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