Guide to Printing Windows Folder Lists

Written by:  • Edited by: Brian Nelson
Published May 12, 2010
• Related Guides: Windows | Windows Vista | Windows XP

If you've ever thought it would be useful to be able to print the contents of a folder as an image or as a printed list, you'll be pleased to know that it is both possible and simple to do!

Why Print Folder Lists?

There might be any number of reasons that you would want to print the contents of your folders – you might want to create an illustration of a folder hierarchy, point someone in the direction of a specific file, or it might be for audit purposes.

Either way, you can print both a graphical representation of your folder contents and a text list detailing dates, times, folder names, file types and file sizes with the minimum of fuss.

Both methods are very easy, and rely on tools already present in Windows.

Printing Folder List Images

Printing folder lists to image files or Word documents is easy The simplest way of printing folder lists in Windows is to basically take a screengrab. This can be easily done by opening Windows Explorer (either by right-clicking My Computer and selecting Explore or in Windows Vista and later Start > and enter explorer in the Search box) and browsing to the file whose contents you wish to list.

Next, choose the appropriate view – by default Windows displays folder contents as Icons, although you might prefer to view Details. Thumbnails, Tile and List are other views available, all accessible from the View menu.

If you chose to view Details, You might wish to make some adjustments at this stage – resize column widths, or reorganise the layout. This can be done by right-clicking on the column titles and choosing a different header, or simply by dragging the column titles.

Once you’re happy with the layout, it is time to print – holding down ALT, press the PRINT SCREEN button (usually found next to F12 on your keyboard). This has copied a screen dump to your Windows clipboard, and can be pasted either into Microsoft Word or Microsoft Paint (Start > Programs > Accessories). From there, you can print the image either as part of a Word document or on its own from Paint.

Printing Folder Lists to Word

Another way to print the contents of a folder is to send them to a Word document. This is a remarkably simple yet effective method that gives great results.

To begin, go to Start > Run and enter cmd to open the Command Prompt. In Windows Vista or later, use Start > enter cmd in the Search box.

Next, browse to the folder you wish to see the contents of. For instance if you want to view the contents of the Windows folder on the C: drive, you would enter:

cd c:\windows

You can use the dir command to list other folders and switch to those using the cd command.

When you’re happy with the folder listing that appears on screen when you type dir and you’re ready to output to a Word document, enter:

dir > [filename].doc

This will create a Word document within the folder that you have listed the contents of – change [filename] to your own, meaningful file name. You can also, if preferred, output the contents list to a text file, by entering:

dir > [filename].txt

Now available in .TXT or .DOC format, the folder contents are ready to be printed!

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