Print a File List

Recently, I received the following question:

“I would like to know how to print the file list as viewed in Windows Explorer.  I have a lot of individual clip art and would like a list of what the file names are.”

Although I haven’t attempted to print a list of files in a long time, I have in the past. The bad news is that Windows doesn’t make it easy to print a list of files. The good news is that there are shareware utility programs that do. Recently, I saw a reference to one from PC Magazine/ZDnet.com, called Tree Print, for example.

However, barring shareware options, one clunky way to get a file list is to press Shift+PrnScrn to do a screen capture of your window. The screen capture is copied to the Windows clipboard, so you can then paste it into a word processing program or paint type program and print it out.

The other way I know about is the really old fashioned way, which is to use DOS. Open a DOS prompt (Windows XP calls it a "command prompt") and navigate to the directory where you want to put the file list. For example, I have an XP machine and my command prompt opens to
C:Documents and SettingsSusan Daffron. (Conversely, my old Win98 machine used to open to C:windows)

Let’s say I want to put a list of the files in my C:projects folder in my Windows temp folder at C:windowstemp. First to go up to the root C: prompt, I type:

cd
Now at the C: prompt I type:
cdwindowstemp
to get to the Windows temp folder (cd stands for "change directory").
Now you can print a directory list to a file by typing:
dir C:projects>filename.txt

This puts a file called filename.txt that contains a directory list of my projects folder in the folder the prompt is sitting at (C:windowstemp in this example).

To get out of the DOS prompt window, you type EXIT. Once you’ve created the text file, you can open it in Notepad or a word processor and check out the file names. It’s just text, so it’s editable, searchable, and printable like any other text file.

Note that if you are using older operating systems like Win95 or you use spaces in your folder names, you have to enclose the directory path in quotation marks to get it to display long file names correctly. In that case the command would be dir "c:projects" >filename.txt.

About Susan Daffron

Susan Daffron is the author the Alpine Grove Romantic Comedies and multiple award-winning nonfiction books, including several about pets and animal rescue. Check out all her books on her Amazon Author page.