How To Create A List Of All Files In A Certain Folder On Your Computer

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FYI: I am on a Windows PC.

For a certain project I had to alter a lot of image files, and I needed to keep track of what I was doing – in a spreadsheet. The thought of copy/pasting all the files names into that spreadsheet was not very appealing to me; it would entail these actions:

  1. Right-click on the file name
  2. Select “Rename”
  3. Clicking in the rename field to also include the file extension
    (only the name is editable now, not the extension – like .pdf, .jpg, .doc etc.)
  4. Select CTRL+C to copy
  5. Going to the spreadsheet
  6. CTRL+V to paste the file name into the appropriate cell

Especially since there were a lot of files, this seemed to spell Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) to me… (what is that?)

Surely there had to be a way to create a list of all the file names in a certain directory?

…so I did some digging, using Google.

I found a page describing what I needed, and I will describe the steps for my own archiving needs – and maybe it’ll help you as well!

(See screenshots below)

  1. Open up the Command Prompt – on my Windows 7 machine that would be under:
    • Start button >
    • All Programs >
    • Accessories >
    • Control Prompt
  2. Go to the folder that you want the files list for:
    • Use “cd” for “change directory”
    • Move deeper into the directory that you’re in: use “cd new-folder
    • Move one folder up (closer to the root): use “cd ..”
    • If you need to go to another drive, just type the drive letter and a colon, e.g. “F:”
  3. Create the list by typing the command “dir > files.txt”
    • This will create a text file called files.txt, containing all the folder information – including file names and sizes.
    • It doesn’t have to be files.txt; name it whatever you want, as long as it is a .txt file.
  4. This will be a plain text file. Not very handy in a spreadsheet, as all information shows in the one column. In order to use the file names in a spreadsheet, in a dedicated column, I had to save the file as a Tab Delimited file. So I opened up the files.txt file into Excel, click the “Finish” button in the pop-up – and voila: all information in separate columns, ready for manipulation.

My fingers and wrists are happy! This saved me a whole lot of copy/pasting.

Some screenshots:

Finding the Command Prompt:

Finding the Command Prompt on a Windows 7 PC

Working with the Command Prompt:

Working With The Command Prompt

Opening the .txt file and converting it into Tab Delimited

Converting .txt file into Tab Delimited in Microsoft Excel

The end result: all information in separate cells, so you can sort, filter, colour them! 😎

Tab Delimited: All Information In Separate Spreadsheet Cells

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