Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Exporting a file list

Have you ever wanted to export a list of files from Windows Explorer? As far as you can tell, it is an impossible task. With the frustration mounting and the determination to not hand enter the list into Word or Excel when the data you want is staring you in the face, you would normally approach your IT guy and ask "Is there a way to export a list of files in a folder?" Now you'll have one less question to ask because I've got the answer right here.

Unless you're operating a Windows Server, this functionality is not available in Windows. So here's the workaround (I hope you can remember some of those old DOS commands that you thought were obsolete with the invention of the GUI -- Graphical User Interface)
  1. Open a command prompt. You can do this by clicking on your "start" menu and then selecting "Run...". Type in "cmd" and press "Enter."
  2. Navigate to the desired directory. If you do not know how to navigate in the command prompt, the following tutorials will be helpful to you -- How To Navigate Through Folders When Using Windows Command Prompt and Beginners Guides: WindowsXP Command Prompt . TIP:  If you are running Windows Vista, you can actually navigate directly to the directory in the command prompt from Windows Explorer. Simply hold "Shift" and right-click the folder you want to view and select "Open Command Window Here" from the menu.
  3. Type in "dir /b > filename.txt", where "filename" is what you will name the file that contains the file list you are exporting. This command will create a txt file in that folder that can be easilty opened in Windows with an application like Notepad, Microsoft Word, or even imported into Excel. The "/b" operator will only list the names of the files (i.e. document.pdf) in your "filename.txt" file. If you need additional information included in your export, type in "dir /?" for a list of options available to use.
Thanks for reading and please share your newfound knowledge with others!

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