It’s one of those simple tasks that suddenly come upon us and we have no idea how to go about it. I had a whole fat folder filled with ebooks and someone casually asked me to send over a list. A list… that sounds really simple.
Did I forget to mention that the ebook folder was really filled with a lot of titles? It must have had almost 120 ebooks. I almost started manually typing the names when I figured that there must be a less laborious way to print out the directory contents.
Printing directory contents seems so mundane an activity that we forget it has very useful applications in our day to day usage. Especially in a professional setting where you might be told to send over a list of so and so files about such and such subject. In a jiffy. If it’s a small bunch of files then manually writing it down is not a problem. But what if it numbers a few dozen?
Instead of searching for a poor flunky to lend a hand, you can just tap a few keys and get it for yourself. All in double quick time with a few methods.
So let’s work on not one but five ways to print folder and directory contents and get that file list.
This is one command line that’s easy to remember and easy to do.
- Start the command prompt from Run – cmd. Type cd and the directory path of the folder you want to list.
- Type dir > print.txt
- Press Enter and exit from the DOS window.
- Open the folder you wanted the listed file content for and you should see a print.txt file. This is a simple Notepad file that can be copied or printed easily.
Setting A Contextual Menu
A print directory feature can be added to the right-click context menu for a folder. This sends the folder content list directly to the printer. For Windows XP follow these steps:
- Create a batch file in Notepad by pasting the following text
dir %1 /-p /o:gn > “%temp%Listing”
start /w notepad /p “%temp%Listing”
- Save the file as %windir%Printdir.bat
- Open Control Panel – Folder Options. Click on the File Types tab. Under the registered file types select the entry for Folder. Click on Advanced.
- In the Edit File Type box, click on New. In the Action box, type Print Directory Listing. In the Application used to perform action box, type printdir.bat.
- Click on OK and close all boxes.
- Right-click on any folder and use the Print Directory Listing command to send the list to the printer.
The above instructions and those for Windows Vista can also be found on the Microsoft Help and Support page.
Software solutions introduce a lot of ease and flexibility to the above process. Here are three freeware apps for the listing job:
Karen’s Power Tool
Karen’s Directory Printer brings with it a GUI and rich features that let you print the name of files on your computer with the file’s size, extension, date and time of last modification, and attributes. Also, the list of files can be sorted by name, size, date created, date last modified, or date of last access. Files can also be selectively listed using a filter. Some limited formatting options and selective highlighting for executable files and macros are available.
Karen’s Directory Printer can be included in the right-click context menu. It also works for networked computers. The file list can be sent to the printer or saved as a text file.
Karen’s Directory Printer (v 5.3.1) is a 1.25MB download compatible with Windows XP and Vista.
Display it with Directory List & Print
Directory List & Print is a simpler and smaller solution to the earlier one. The generated lists can be copied to the clipboard and incorporated in other programs. It can be directly inserted into Word and Excel with a click as the data is separated by tabs allowing error free pasting directly into a program like Excel as a table. Along with the file attributes, the program can control the display of file names with or without file extensions. Sorting of the list and integration into the context menus make this a nice alternative to use.
Directory List & Print (v 1.9) does not need an installation which makes this 603KB software a portable solution. The freeware is compatible with Windows 98/2000/XP/Vista.
More Options with JR Directory Printer
This freeware comes in as an even smaller download of 173KB. Select the folder or directory to list, check the display options and click on start to get the list as a text file. The freeware supports lowercase/DOS style filename, file size in KB/bytes, attributes and custom file length. Though the freeware lacks the data control options of the previous applications, it’s a simple utility for a simple task. The download can be unzipped and used without an installation.
JR Directory Printer (v1.2) is compatible with Windows 95/98/2000/NT/ME/XP.
Windows may not have given us the ability to print out folder contents in a user friendly way. But thanks to the workarounds and the freeware, it’s actually a snap. Do you know any other utility to print the contents of a folder? Let us know your way if it differs from any of the above.
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