Getting A List Of File Names

Category: General | [Item URL]

Many users are surprised to discover that Windows does not provide a direct way to get a list of file names contained in a directory. This tip describes how to create such a list in a text file, which can then be imported into Excel.

To generate a list of file names, you'll need to use a DOS command typed in a DOS command window. To open a DOS command window:

  1. Click the Windows Start button
  2. Click Run
  3. Type "cmd" (no quotes) and press Enter. if "cmd" doesn't work, use "command".

You'll get a window like the one shown below.

Next, you need to type a DOS command to generate the file list. For example, if you would like to generate a list of all files in the root directory of drive D, type the following at the command prompt and press Enter:

dir d:\

To list the files in a particular directory, add the directory name after the drive:

dir d:\my files\

The file names will be listed in the window. Usually, you'll want these files to be sent to a file. To redirect the output to a file, use the > character and specify a file name. For example, to send the file names to a text file named filelist.txt in the root directory of drive C, use this command:

dir d:\ >c:\filelist.txt

If you would like the file list to include the files in all subdirectories of drive D, use the /s switch:

dir d:\ /s >c:\filelist.txt

The directory listing will contain lots of additional information. To get the file names only (bare format), use the /b switch:

dir d:\ /s /b >c:\filelist.txt

To find out about other options available for the DIR command (such as including file dates and times), type this command:

dir /?

After the text file is generated, you can import it into Excel by using the File - Open command.

NOTE: If you need do this on a regular basis, you may be interested in this article from Microsoft, which describes how to create a batch file that lists file names in Notepad.

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