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

Working With The Command Prompt

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


About the Author: Nardo

I like helping businesses to get the most out of their online marketing. It all starts with Reputation Marketing, as it will influence your conversions. Check out The Best Review Tool for more information.

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