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How to Copy all File Names in Folder to Excel Using MS DOS

Do you work with a lot of files? I do. And it’s hard and tedious to keep everything organized. At weloty, we’re currently we’re transcribing over 200 research interviews files for a client and an easy way to keep tabs on each file  is to copy all the file names into an Excel sheet and use that to keep tabs of the files as they go through our workflow.

With over 200 files, it’s very tedious to copy and paste each filename into an Excel sheet. Fortunately there is an easy way to copy all file names in a folder using MS DOS. Why would you want to use MS DOS? If you’re as old as I am: nostalgia.  It takes me back to the days of 5 ¼ and 3 ½ floppy disks. The good old days.

You might not know this, but with your windows installation, you get a choice of 4 operating systems. Here’s a quick overview of these operating systems.

You get the Microsoft windows operating systems, which comes with a Graphical User Interface, also known as GUI. Here’s a short post on how you can easily copy all filenames from a single folder in windows.

Then you also have the Microsoft Disk Operating System – MS DOS. This is the operating system that windows replaced. It’s a non- graphical operating system. And you access it using the command prompt, also known as CMD.

You also have .NET. This is a cross platform operating system, that’s modern and more powerful than MSDOS. On windows you access it via PowerShell.

Now before we jump into MS Dos, you’ll need to know 2 MS dos commands: CD and DIR.  

CD is short for Change Directory. This is the command you’ll use to navigate through directories, also known as folders, in a drive.

DIR  is short for directory, and is used to display information about contents of the current directory. In windows terms, the contents of the current folder.

With that out of the way, let’s me show you how to copy filenames into excel using MS DOS.

Step 1: Open Command Prompt (CMD)

Click on windows search or Cortana and search for Command Prompt or CMD. Command Prompt will show up in the search results. Click on it to launch or press enter. You can also launch CMD from the Run command: simultaneously press the windows + r keys and then type CMD and click okay or press enter.

Step 1: Open Command Prompt (CMD)

Step 2: Navigate to the Folder

Open Windows Explorer and navigate to the folder that contains the files. Click on the address bar to reveal the folder path. Note the drive letter (we’ll need it in Step 3), in this case it’s G, and then copy the folder path (we’ll use it in Step 4).

Step 2: Navigate to the Folder

Step 3: In MS DOS Navigate to the Drive

Head back to command prompt and type the drive letter and a colon. This is the drive you noted in Step 2. The drive that contains the folders that contains my files is drive G. So I’ll type G, colon.

So here’s my code:

C:\Users\Kongo> g:

Then hit enter.

This is how you navigate to drives in MS DOS. Type in the drive letter, colon, and hit enter.

Step 3: In MS DOS Navigate to the Drive

Step 4: In MS DOS Navigate to the Folder

Now that we are in the right drive, let’s navigate to the folder that contains the files. We’ll use the change directory command.

So type CD, space, then right click with your mouse. Right clicking with your mouse pastes the folder path that we copied from the Windows Explorer in Step 2.

Here’s my code after pasting the folder path:

C:\Users\Kongo> g:
G:\ cd G:\Audio-Files 

Press enter. And you have successfully navigated to the folder that contains your files.

Step 4: In MS DOS Navigate to the Folder

Step 5: Type the DIR Command

We are going to use the DIR command, which displays the contents of the folder, to display the contents of the folder in Excel. So we type the dir command, and then tell it where to post the output. That’s achieved by typing a space, greater than sign, then the name of the output file. MS dos will automatically create this file in the current folder.

I’m going to name my Excel file list.xls. You can change the .xls extension to .txt or .doc and the DIR command will save the file into a Notepad and Word documents respectively.

Here’s my code:

C:\Users\Kongo> g:
G:\ cd G:\Audio-Files 
G:\Audio-Files> dir > list.xls

There are a number of attributes that you can add to the DIR command to suite your preferences.

For instance, if you need just the only the filenames you can use:

DIR/B  > [filename.xls]

You can sort the filenames alphabetically:

DIR/B/O:N  > [filename.xls]

And include all the names of the files in subfolders:

DIR/B/O:N/S  > [filename.xls]

Remove the directory path:

DIR/B/A-D/ O:N/S  > [filename.xls]

Finally, save the Excel file in a different folder:

DIR/B/A-D/ O:N/S  > [folderpath\filename.xls]

Step 5: Type the DIR Command

Here is a list of attributes you can use:

/A      Displays all files with specified attributes.

attribs   D  Directories   R  Read-only files         H  Hidden files

S  System files  A  Files ready to archive  –  Prefix meaning “not”

Several attributes may be combined e.g. /A:HD-R

/O      Lists files in sorted order.

N  By name (alphabetic)       S  By size (smallest first)

E  By extension (alphabetic)  D  By date & time (earliest first)

G  Group directories first    –  Prefix to reverse order

Several attributes may be combined e.g. /O:GEN-D

/S      Displays files in specified directory and all subdirectories.

/B      Uses bare format (no heading information or summary).

/L      Uses lowercase.

Here’s a short video tutorial:


By Kongo

Kongo enjoys sharing great and easy to implement tips on popular software and web technologies.

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moncler scontati
moncler scontati
7 years ago

Thank you very much. This really helped me with my work. I appreciate your help. Thanks a lot.

Johny B
Johny B
7 years ago

very much helpful.. thnx a lot 🙂

Anil Pandey
Anil Pandey
7 years ago

Really great thing dear. You are awesom.

BR
Anil Pandey

Vivek
Vivek
6 years ago

Thanks for the wondferful post…Saved hours for me …

shankar
shankar
5 years ago

thank you Saved hours for me

Paul Corthouts
Paul Corthouts
5 years ago

Do you know how to do this trick on a Mac?
“Copy all File Names in Folder to Excel”
You have no idea how much this would help a bunch of people that I know!!! I’m videographer since 1988 and it’s a huge work to archive all my footage now that we transfer everything to digital.

dilip
dilip
4 years ago
Reply to  Kongo

Sir, i want to learn CMD Command language

Waqqar Ahmad
Waqqar Ahmad
4 years ago

Amazing, Worked perfectly
Thanks a bunch

Nania
Nania
4 years ago

Good day, I have a folder with over 10 000 songs on, would like to copy all the song names and all the other info as well, like artist name, album etc, to an excel spreadsheet. All the info on the web only allows me to copy the song name (first column of a windows folder) but not the rest of the columns, do you maybe have an answer?
Thank you!

DanJPet
DanJPet
9 months ago
Reply to  Nania

I have the same issue. Exactly same. Any help Kongo?
BTW, I dont know DOS, but is this possible?

neworldwebsites
neworldwebsites
3 years ago

thanks for jobing that 😉

Shruti
Shruti
2 years ago

This worked wonderfully. Thanks!

Stephen
Stephen
1 year ago

dir /s /b: generates a list of all folder paths and file paths. Is there a way to filter out folders from that list, so only filepaths are extracted?

sixdiamonds
sixdiamonds
1 year ago

Thank you very much….this saves a lot of time….I am not new to MS-DOS but I lost touch with it…. Thanks to your post, It felt good using DOS commands.

Amne
Amne
11 months ago

Thank you for the solution.

David
David
10 months ago

I googled this issue, expecting to find a tool of some sort to do it.
Of course, I should have realized, Windows is just DOS…
beep boop assuming manual control

Keegan R
Keegan R
10 months ago

Super helpful! The only thing I had to look up to add to this was how to do this for a network drive. I just added the network path to the end and it worked like a champ. dir /o:S “\\network\drive\here” > filenames.txt

Nerissa
Nerissa
9 months ago

thanks a lot, this is so useful, especially when I keep forgetting what files I have got on which drive!
my only question is, not all file names are written in English. Some of them are written in Japanese, some in Chinese and some in other characters. Is it possible that the proper names can be shown, rather than ???????
thanks!

Burak
Burak
5 months ago

Did wonders but it created the file.txt in the folder I was working on instead of the Users folder.

Thanks a lot. this saved a ton of trouble.

Javier
Javier
4 months ago

I can’t believe this post is 7 years old. I’m in Argentina, and downloading a ton of pdf invoices with key data on the filename. Googled it, and this is the first search result. If I could, I’d post a screenshot of how big this shows with the step by step. Great work. Congrats, and thanks a lot.

Sourabh Maheshwary
Sourabh Maheshwary
4 months ago

This is so helpful!! Thank you so much for making it so easier and good explanation!

Shivani Asati
Shivani Asati
3 months ago

Thanks alot. I was really helped alot