To rename a selected file or folder in Adobe Bridge CS2 without using the mouse, press the spacebar, type the name, and then press Return or Enter. (For Bridge CS3 and later, see the note at the end of this post.)
If you pressed the spacebar without intending to change the filename of the selected file, your next keystroke will accidentally change the filename, and it will become permanent as soon as you click anywhere else. Once a new filename is committed, you can’t undo it. This can be a disaster if you never realize you renamed a file that was selected, and you go looking for it later without knowing that it’s under a new name. If you suddenly realize you’ve entered filename editing mode by accident, immediately press the Esc key to escape that mode without changing the original filename.
Pressing the spacebar to rename may not be intuitive if you’re used to pressing Return on Mac OS X to rename a file, but in Bridge, the Return key is already taken: it opens the file in the default editor for its file type. That use of the Return/Enter key is consistent with Windows.
Why would anyone have a reason to press the spacebar in a file browser other than to rename a file? Sometimes it’s because of the habits people pick up in other programs. Some people press the spacebar to get to the top of an alphabetical list, and others are used to pressing the spacebar in other Adobe applications to get a hand tool to pan a document in a window.
Note: In Bridge CS3, accidental renaming is much less likely because the renaming shortcut was changed to the F2 key. You can still click the filename after the file is selected; just don’t double-click the file or you’ll open it.