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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.

Command DOS

This is one command line 10 Windows Command Line Tips You Should Check Out 10 Windows Command Line Tips You Should Check Out Read More that’s easy to remember and easy to do.

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  1. Start the command prompt from Run – cmd. Type cd and the directory path of the folder you want to list.
  2. Type dir > print.txt
  3. Press Enter and exit from the DOS window.
  4. 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:

  1. Create a batch file in Notepad by pasting the following text

    @echo off
    dir %1 /-p /o:gn > “%temp%\Listing”
    start /w notepad /p “%temp%\Listing”
    del “%temp%\Listing”

  2. Save the file as %windir%\Printdir.bat
  3. Open Control Panel – Folder Options. Click on the File Types tab. Under the registered file types select the entry for Folder. Click on Advanced.print directory contents
  4. 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.2_Edit-File-Type
  5. Click on OK and close all boxes.
  6. Right-click on any folder and use the Print Directory Listing command to send the list to the printer.print all files inside directory

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.

  1. Robert
    May 14, 2015 at 11:41 pm

    Hi there! To print folder contents, you can use the FolderMill ( This program recognizes many file formats and automates printing.

  2. Joe B
    February 21, 2015 at 7:12 pm

    Would there be a way to make a hybrid of #1 & #2 ? It would be great to rightclick in a directory and select MakeList.txt so that it would create the dir /b > file in the current directory.

  3. Edmenje
    January 15, 2010 at 5:10 pm

    I've been using a 44Kb portable prog called DriveZ available from many sites. It copies the list to the clipboard so it can then be pasted into your favorite text editor.

  4. Pinos
    November 20, 2009 at 9:06 am

    Great tool to print directory contents, i use print directory.

    Find Here :

  5. Oguz Karadeniz
    October 22, 2009 at 5:38 am

    I have tried most of the applications listed here, but none did the trick for me, so I have created a personal tool called ( FileList.

    It's free to use and I hope you guys will like it.

  6. Sarah Kirby
    October 8, 2009 at 5:04 pm

    I've been using the DOS tree command for years. But, I'm going to given Karen's Directory Printer a try.

    For help with DOS commands - open the DOS command utilty from Run by typing "cmd" then enter the the command followed by a ? - e.g. tree ?

    To use the tree command you need the 8 character filename, which I find using "dir /x /p" (/x shows the short names, /p puts one screen of data at a time, press the space bar to show the next page - great for big folders)

    my final command looks like this:
    tree c:\dir /f /a > text.txt

  7. Binaryman
    October 6, 2009 at 1:15 pm

    I use Directory Report
    It can print/save-to-a-file the basic file attributes (size, date, owner, CRC) plus DLL, AVI, MP3, MSI and WAV attributes

  8. kapil
    October 6, 2009 at 1:48 am

    u can open the desired folder in firefox or chrome and them copy paste the contents in notepad or an excel file

  9. eternalko
    October 5, 2009 at 2:23 pm

    To avoid problems with unicode file names like german:
    Shöne früh Kröte.pdf
    or russin:
    привет землякам.pdf
    or any other one should use

    cmd /u
    Like (u)nicode
    and then maybe:
    dir d:\folrer\PDF\ /s /b >d:\folrer\filelist.txt

  10. fritz43
    October 5, 2009 at 1:12 pm

    A great site!

    It would be even greater if print versions of these very useful articles were available. Thanks in advance!

  11. DT
    October 5, 2009 at 11:26 am

    when will i learn that there’s a simpler way to do everything! ive contently been typing directory contents when needed but not thought how wasted the task has been since now thinking about it! thx man

  12. lalpasha
    October 5, 2009 at 11:14 am

    I use dirhtml from It generates a html file of the listings, best part is after you open the generated file in the browser. Search is easier and of course double click the file to launch it. Dirhtml is open source and also comes with numerous options to include or exclude file attributes. + Portable version also available.

    • Saikat
      October 5, 2009 at 2:36 pm

      Thanks for the info...

  13. edwardthay
    October 5, 2009 at 5:02 am

    I had try to use Directory List & Print and JR Directory Printerbut but it doesnt work well.

  14. Etherel
    October 4, 2009 at 2:57 pm

    Is there a way to make a print.txt document, using command line, that only lists the names of the files without dates or sizes? Or is there a way to make a batch file that will first create this .txt directory listing, and then edit that .txt document to remove the extra stuff?

    • Albert
      October 4, 2009 at 8:38 pm

      Use dir /b > print.txt. The /b means bare. Use dir /? for more options.

      • Saikat
        October 5, 2009 at 2:42 pm

        Thanks Albert for helping out with this one.

  15. henk
    October 4, 2009 at 1:52 pm

    when will i learn that there's a simpler way to do everything! ive contently been typing directory contents when needed but not thought how wasted the task has been since now thinking about it! thx man

  16. Bob Constans
    October 4, 2009 at 1:49 pm

    I have used Karen's Directory Printer for years now and it has become THE indispensable index tool for me. I use it to keep track of what e-books I have (25000+) and all my other digital media. To check if I have a particular title, rather than using a file-search app, I just open my most recent directory list in a notebook app and use the Search function there - it's faster; easier to scroll up & down to see what other books by the author; and easy on resources.

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