Commons:File renaming

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Commons file move icon

The file rename function allows renaming (or "moving") of files, which works basically the same way as "normal" page moves. The function is only available to administrators and file movers. Requests to become a filemover are listed at Commons:Requests for rights#Filemover.

Which files should be renamed?[edit]

Commons:File naming describes how files should be named. In general, Commons aims to provide stable file names as there might be external file clients and file moving involves significant human and computing resources. Thus renaming should be used with caution. Currently there are seven widely undisputed uses for rename requests:

# Aim Examples (old name) Examples (new name)
1. Uploader requested
2. Change from completely meaningless names into suitable names, according to what the image displays File:22785u9ob807b3c4f4.jpg
3. Correct misleading names into accurate ones File:MY_CUTE_MOUSE.JPG
4. Change meaningless bio-names into binomial scientific names File:Unknown_insect_02.jpg
5. Correct obvious errors in file names (e.g. wrong proper nouns or false historical dates) File:Ayres_Rock_3.png
6. Harmonize file names of a set of images (so that only one part of all names differs) to ease their usage in templates (e.g. diagram symbols, scans of pages of a book, maps) File:Bhf-BS-Icon.svg
7. Remove pejorative, offensive or crude language that would not be appropriate in the file description File:Stupid fat idiot.jpg File:Joe Bloggs.jpg

Additional naming conventions and exceptions from the above list might be discussed for specific projects.

Which files should not be renamed?[edit]

As a matter of principle it's best to leave all files with generally valid names at their locations, even if slightly better names may exist. So for example:

# Criteria to decline Examples (old name) Examples (new name)
1. Files should NOT be renamed only because the new name looks a bit better. File:TowerBridge'09.jpg File:Tower_Bridge_2009.jpg
2. Files should NOT be renamed only because the filename is not English and/or is not correctly capitalized (Remember, Commons is a multilingual project, so there's no reason to favor English over other languages). File:Rathaus_bremen.jpg File:Bremen_town_hall.jpg
3. If a filename in a local project conflicts with a filename at Commons, the file in the local project should be renamed. Renaming it at Commons would mean changing it in 500+ projects instead of just one.
4. Files with copyright issues should NOT be renamed until copyright issues are resolved. There is no reason to rename a file if it is going to be deleted on copyright grounds.

Additional naming conventions and exceptions from the above list might be discussed for specific projects.

How to rename a file?[edit]

Movefile gadget

Only Commons administrators, file movers and Wikimedia stewards can rename files for now. If you belong to any of those groups, and therefore have the movefile right, just use the "move" tab as you would normally do to a regular page.

If you can't rename files, you can place the text

{{rename|newname.ext|rationale number|reason=optional text reason}}

on the image description page. An editor who can will perform the move, if it conforms to the guidelines described above. If you have a user account at Commons: For easily requesting rename of a file you can use the “move” link on the file page (provided by the default gadget RenameLink (documentation)).

Responding editors should follow the instructions on the template. In most cases, a file redirect should be left on the original page, except if it is a misleading or promotional name.


When you move (rename) a file by using the move tab the old title will automatically become a redirect page to the new title. Additionally urls to thumbnails of the old file name will also redirect (however, direct links to the full size version of the file will not redirect). Redirects to the moved file are automatically updated when using Move & Replace to avoid double redirects.[1] If you do not use Move & Replace, you'll have to update all redirects to the file manually.

Is there a log of file renames?[edit]

All file renamings are recorded in the Move log which is a log for all moves in all namespaces. There's no namespace filter for "files only" available yet.

Current file movers[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. MediaWiki:Gadget-AjaxQuickDelete.js