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Automatic TV episode file renamer, uses data from via tvdb_api
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tvnamer is a utility which to rename files from to Some Show - [01x03] - The Episode Name.avi (by retrieving the episode name using data from tvdb_api)

It supports Python 2.7 and 3.3 onwards


The "official" way to install tvnamer is via pip:

pip install tvnamer

This installs the tvnamer command-line tool and the requirements from the tvnamer package on PyPI

Alternatively, the community have packaged tvnamer in various platform/distro specific package managers, including:

  1. Homebrew for OS X - brew install tvnamer
  2. Debian - apt-get install tvnamer
  3. FreeBSD/DragonFlyBSD/MacPorts - pkg install py27-tvnamer etc

Installing development version

If you wish to install the latest (non-stable) development version from source, download the latest version of the code, either from or by running:

git clone git://

..then cd into the directory, and run:

python install

You may wish to do this via virtualenv to avoid cluttering your global install

Example terminal session:

$ virtualenv tvn-env
Installing setuptools, pip, wheel...done.
$ source tvn-env/bin/activate
(tvn-env) $ git clone git://
Cloning into 'tvnamer'...
(tvn-env) $ cd tvnamer/
(tvn-env) $ python develop
(tvn-env) $ tvnamer --help
(tvn-env) $ deactivate
$ tvnamer
-bash: tvnamer: command not found

Improvements over v1

tvnamer v2 is a near-complete rewrite of the tvnamer released as part of tvdb_api. There are many improvements thanks to the improved code structure, but the most important are:

  • Support for anime filenames, such as [Shinsen-Subs] Beet - 19 [24DAB497].mkv
  • Support for multi-episode files, such as scrubs.s01e23e24.avi
  • Custom configuration options (via a JSON config file) and improved command line argument handling
  • Better support for Unicode filenames
  • Support for moving files to specific location after renaming (/media/tv/{series name}/season {seasonnumber}/ for example)


Please file issues on tvnamer's Github Issues page (older tickets can be found on Lighthouse)

Please make tickets for any possible bugs or feature requests, or if you discover a filename format that tvnamer cannot parse (as long as a reasonably common format, and has enough information to be parsed!), or if you are struggling with the a custom configuration (please state your desired filename output, and what problems you are encountering)

Basic usage

From the command line, simply run:

tvnamer the.file.s01e01.avi

For example:

$ tvnamer brass.eye.s01e01.avi
# Starting tvnamer
# Found 1 episodes
# Processing brass.eye.s01e01.avi
TVDB Search Results:
1 -> Brass Eye [en] #
Automatically selecting only result
# Old filename: brass.eye.s01e01.avi
# New filename: Brass Eye - [01x01] - Animals.avi

Enter y then press return and the file will be renamed to "Brass Eye - [01x01] - Animals.avi". You can also simply press return to select the default option, denoted by the surrounding []

If there are multiple shows with the same (or similar) names or languages, you will be asked to select the correct one - "Lost" is a good example of this:

$ tvnamer lost.s01e01.avi
# Starting tvnamer
# Found 1 episodes
# Processing lost.s01e01.avi
TVDB Search Results:
1 -> Lost [en] #
2 -> Lost [sv] #
3 -> Lost [no] #
4 -> Lost [fi] #
5 -> Lost [nl] #
6 -> Lost [de] #
Enter choice (first number, ? for help):    

To select the first result, enter 1 then return, to select the second enter 2 and so on. The link after # goes to the relevant [][tvdb] page, which will contain information and images to help you select the correct series.

You can rename multiple files, or an entire directory by using the files or directories as arguments:

$ tvnamer file1.avi file2.avi etc
$ tvnamer .
$ tvnamer /path/to/my/folder/
$ tvnamer ./folder/1/ ./folder/2/

You can skip a specific file by entering n (no). If you enter a (always) tvnamer will rename the remaining files automatically. The suggested use of this is check the first few episodes are named correctly, then use a to rename the rest.

Note, tvnamer will only descend one level into directories unless the -r (or --recursive) flag is specified. For example, if you have the following directory structure:


..then running tvnamer dir1/ will only rename file1.avi, ignoring dir2/ and its contents.

If you wish to rename all files (file1, file2 and file3), you would run:

tvnamer --recursive dir1/

Command line arguments

There are various flags you can use with tvnamer, run..

tvnamer --help see them, and a short description of each.

The most useful are most likely --batch, --selectfirst and --always:

--selectfirst will select the first series the search found, but will not automatically rename any episodes.

--always will ask you select the correct series, then automatically rename all files.

--batch will not prompt you for anything. It automatically selects the first series search result, and automatically rename all files (identical to using both --selectfirst and --always). Use carefully!

--series-id will allow you to use a specific ID from theTVdb. This can help with name detection issues.


One of the largest improvements in tvnamer v2 is the ability to have custom configuration. This allows you to customise behaviour without modifying the code (as was necessary with tvnamer v1).

To write the default JSON configuration file, which is a good starting point for your modifications, simply run:

tvnamer --save=./mytvnamerconfig.json

To use your custom configuration, you must either specify the location using tvnamer --config=/path/to/mytvnamerconfig.json or place the file at ~/.tvnamer.json (a file named .tvnamer.json in your home directory)

Important: If tvnamer's default settings change and your saved config contains the old settings, you may experience strange behaviour or bugs (the config may contain a buggy filename_patterns regex, for example). It is recommended you remove config options you are not altering (particularly filename_patterns). If you experience any strangeness, try disabling your custom configuration (moving it away from ~/.tvnamer.json)

If for example you wish to change the default language used to retrieve data, change the option language to another two-letter language code, such as fr for French. Your config file would look like:

    "language": "fr"

If search_all_languages is true, tvnamer will return multilingual search results. If false, it will return results only in the preferred language.

For an always up-to-date description of all config options, see the comments in

Custom output filenames

If you wish to change the output filename format, there are a bunch of options you can change.

The most common is an episode with both a season and episode number. There are two patterns, one for when an episode name is found, and one without the episode name:

  • One for a file with an episode name (filename_with_episode). Example input:
  • One for a file without an episode name (filename_without_episode). Example input: AnUnknownShow.s01e01.avi

Next, for episodes without a season number:

  • One for a filename with no season number, and an episode name (filename_with_episode_no_season). Example input: Sid.The.Science.Kid.E11.avi
  • One for a filename with no season number, and no episode name (filename_without_episode_no_season). Example input: AnUnknownShow.E24.avi

Date-based episodes (which used aired-date instead of episode numbers):

  • One for date-based episodes (filename_with_date_and_episode). Example input: AnUnknownShow.2000-01-23
  • Date-based episode without epiosde nam (filename_with_date_without_episode)

Finally, anime episodes have the usual with/without episode names, and again with/without the CRC value:

  • filename_anime_with_episode - for example, [SubGrp] SeriesName - 02 - Episode Name [CRC1234].ext
  • filename_anime_without_episode - for example, [SubGrp] SeriesName - 02 [CRC1234].ext
  • filename_anime_with_episode_without_crc - for example, [SubGrp] SeriesName - 02 - Episode Name.ext
  • filename_anime_without_episode_without_crc - for example, [SubGrp] SeriesName - 02.ext

This may seem like a lot, but they are mostly the same thing. They all have sensible default values, so you can only change the values you use commonly (say, you could ignore the date-based and anime episodes if you rarely rename such files)

Say you want the format Show Name 01x24 Episode Name.avi, your filename_with_episode option would be:

%(seriesname)s %(seasonno)02dx%(episode)s %(episodename)s%(ext)s

The formatting language used is Python's string formatting feature, which you can read about in the Python documentation, 6.6.2. String Formatting Operations. Basically it's just %()s and the name element you wish to use between ( )

Note ext contains the extension separator symbol, usually . - for example .avi

Then you need to make a few variants, one without the episodename section, and two without the seasonno option:


%(seriesname)s %(seasonno)02dx%(episode)s %(episodename)s%(ext)s


%(seriesname)s %(seasonno)02dx%(episode)s%(ext)s


%(seriesname)s %(episode)s%(ext)s

There are yet two more options you may want to change, episode_single and episode_separator

episode_single is the Python string formatting pattern used to format the episode number. By default it is %02d - this simply turns the number 1 to 01, and keeps 24 as 24

If you do not want any padding in your numbers, you could change this to %d - this would result in filenames such as Show - [1x3] - Episode Name.avi (or Show 1x3 Episode Name.avi using your custom name, as described above)

The episode_separator option is for multi-episode files. When multiple episodes are detected in one file (such as Scrubs.s01e01e02.avi), this string is used to join the episode numbers together. By default it is - which results in filenames such as Scrubs - [01x01-02] - ... .avi

You could change this to e, and by altering the filename_* options you could create filenames such as..

Show - [s01e01e02] - Episode Name.avi

By default, tvnamer will sanitise files for the current operating system - either POSIX-compatible (OS X, Linux, FreeBSD) or Windows. You can force Windows compatible filenames by setting the option windows_safe_filenames to True

The preferred way to replace spaces with another character is to use the custom replacements feature. For example, to replace spaces with . you would use the config:

    "output_filename_replacements": [
        {"is_regex": true,
        "match": "[ ]",
        "replacement": "."}

You can also remove spaces in characters by adding a space to the option custom_filename_character_blacklist and changing the option replace_blacklisted_characters_with to .

normalize_unicode_filenames attempts to replace Unicode characters with their unaccented ASCII equivalent (å becomes a etc). Any untranslatable characters are removed.

selectfirst and always_rename mirror the command line arguments --selectfirst and --always - one automatically selects the first series search result, the other always renames files. Setting both to True is equivalent to --batch. recursive also mirrors the command line argument

lowercase_filename converts the entire filename to lower case.

This document does not describe all config options - for a complete list, see the comments in

Custom filename parsing pattern

tvnamer comes with a set of patterns to parse a majority of common (and many uncommon) TV episode file names. If these don't parse your files, you can write custom patterns.

The patterns are regular expressions, compiled with the re.VERBOSE flag. Each pattern must contain several named groups.

Named groups are like regular groups, but the group starts with ?P<thegroupname>. For example:


All patterns must contain a named group seriesname - this is of course the name of the show the filename contains.

Optionally you can parse a season number using the group seasonnumber. If this group is not specified, it will search for the episode(s) in season 1 (following the [][tvdb] convention)

You must also match an episode number group. For simple, single episode files use the group episodenumber

If you wish to match multiple episodes in one file, there two options:

  • episodenumber1 episodenumber2 etc - match any number of episode numbers (can be non-consecutive), or..
  • Two groups, episodenumberstart and episodenumberend - you match the first and last numbers in the filename. If the start number is 2, and the end number is 5, the file contains episodes [2, 3, 4, 5].

Regex flags in config files

Regular expressions are used in several places in the config. It can be useful to specify flags the "ignore case" flag. This can be done with the (?...) syntax, e.g to replace and, And, AND etc with &:

    "input_filename_replacements": [
        {"is_regex": true,
        "match": "(?i)and",
        "replacement": "&"}

See the other flags in the Python re docs (search for (?iLmsux) on the page)

Change log

2.5 (work in progress)

  • Began keeping a changelog
  • Added --force-rename and --force-move arguments (PR #133)
  • Added skip_behavior option (PR #111)
  • Added --dry-run argument (PR #130)
  • Fix normalize_unicode_filenames in Python 3 (Issue #134)
  • Dropped support for Python 2.6. tvnamer==2.4 is last version to support Python 2.6
  • Added support for Python 3.6 and 3.7
  • Fix search by air-date when episode had special episodes aired on same day (PR #97)
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