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groovyTip: How to Print the Contents of a Folder in Windows 10

Printing the directory structure of a folder—including the filenames and subfolders—is one of those simple tasks that should be easy in Windows 10. The good news is that it is easy, once you know how to do it. However, it requires using the Command Prompt. But once you learn this simple command, you can quickly and easily generate file listings of folder contents that you can print or edit as you see fit.

First, we’ll show you how to print the contents of a folder using built-in Windows 10 functions. Then, we’ll show you an even easier way using some third-party software. Ready? Let’s get started.

Print the Contents of Folders in Windows 10 Using the Command Prompt

If you just want a printed listing of what’s inside a folder, here’s what you do.

  1. Open the Command Prompt.  To do that, click Start, type CMD, then right-click Run as administrator.
  2. Change the directory to the folder you want to print the contents of. To do that, use the cd command—for example, “cd c:\users\adacosta\documents”.
  3. Type the following command and hit Enter: dir > listing.txt

This will generate a basic text file listing the contents of the directory.  The filename you save can be anything you want. You can call it listing.txt, files.txt, folder.txt or whatever.

This is what it looks like:

If you want to go a step further, you can print the contents of subfolders by issuing the following command: tree “c:\directory_name” > “c:\file_name.txt” /A /F

See example:

There you have it, all the information you need about what’s stored in your folders.

TIP: On the command line, using “>” will always send the output of the command to a file. It works with any command. You can also use “>>” to append the output to the end of an existing file.

How to Use Karen’s Directory Printer

Looking for a graphical tool that can do the same thing? I would recommend Karen’s Directory Printer; I used it many years ago when I needed to generate print logs of files each week. It’s very easy to use but features a jam-packed interface. All you need to do is select the direct directory, choose the attributes you want (file size, date created, extension) then click Print.

Hopefully, Microsoft will make this a more easy task to perform. They have been known to surprise us in the past, such as updating apps like Paint and WordPad. Even the Command Prompt has gotten updates in recent times. Until then, this is the best you’ve got.

Let us know what you think. Did you find this tip useful? 

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6 Responses to groovyTip: How to Print the Contents of a Folder in Windows 10

  1. Rene Poirier October 7, 2017 at 6:34 am #

    I’ve been using “Shift + Right Click” from within a directory to open, in 1703, Windows Power Shell to do DIR.
    I had not used TREE before. It works there as well.

    Isn’t that easier than having to type the full path you want?

    Previous versions opened the Command window.

    It is not the Administrator level window. Does that make a difference if one is only looking to use these commands to print the directories?

  2. James October 7, 2017 at 6:51 am #

    Re Karenware

    If you agree to allow microsoft (chat line staff) to run the malware checker that goes with their ‘Assure’ sub then expect to be told that you have malware on your system as their checker considers the Karenware install to be suspect
    It may also cause you to get the Office installing panel show when you try to use it.

    But that seems to be associated with doing the installs and app startup the ‘microsoft way’ – their later upgrades to their facility start interacting badly with the earlier usage.

    Re the office app install – just let it run (usually after a win-10 update).
    Re the malware indication – DO NOT let Microsoft persuade you to pay for Assure on the basis that you have malware on your system – REQUIRE them to identify what malware they have determined to actually be RUNNING – and that they have REMOVED without killing off any of your APPS.

    And – the collection of Karenware facilities is AFAIK no longer supported – Karen being greatly missed by many.

  3. Ziggy October 8, 2017 at 3:33 am #

    A very simple and portable tool to do this is File List Maker, version 1.3.0

    Tried this tool on Windows 10, 64 bit and worked a treat.

  4. Harris October 9, 2017 at 8:26 am #

    My favourite is a small portable program – Snap2HTML – 448 kb. It makes a list of folders and subfolders which can be opened up to see the content. It works on Windows 10 x64. It’s great for making lists of what you have on a portable drive.

    • Ziggy October 9, 2017 at 5:45 pm #

      @Harris: Just tried your suggested program and, I must say, it’s excellent. Thanks.

    • Andre October 10, 2017 at 11:50 am #

      Gonna check it out. Thanks!

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