How to Copy a List of Files in a Windows Folder Into Excel: A Step-by-Step Guide

Copying a list of files from a Windows folder into an Excel spreadsheet is a handy skill that can save you time. All you need is your Windows computer and Microsoft Excel. After a few clicks, you will have a neat list of all your files in a spreadsheet.

After you complete this, you’ll have a detailed list of all the files in a particular folder, which can be useful for inventory, organization, or simply for record-keeping purposes.


Are you tired of manually typing out every single file name when you need to make a list of files in a folder? Fear not, my friend! This article is here to guide you through the incredibly simple process of copying a list of files from a Windows folder directly into an Excel spreadsheet.

But why would you want to do this? Imagine you’re an office worker with hundreds of documents, a photographer with thousands of pictures, or a music enthusiast with a vast collection of songs. Now imagine needing to catalog every single item. Quite the daunting task, right? Well, by copying the list of files into Excel, you can effortlessly manage, sort, and analyze your files. Plus, it makes sharing the list with others a breeze. This nifty trick can be a game-changer for project managers, IT professionals, or anyone who deals with large amounts of digital files daily.

Step by Step Tutorial

Before we dive into the steps, let’s make it clear what we’re aiming for. Following these steps will help you create a list in Excel that contains the names of every file in a specific Windows folder.

Step 1: Open Command Prompt

Press Win + R, type cmd, and hit Enter.

The Command Prompt is a powerful tool in Windows that allows you to execute various commands. Here, it will help us export the list of files to a format that Excel can read.

Step 2: Navigate to the Desired Folder

Type cd followed by the path of your folder.

This command changes the directory so that you can work on the folder containing the files you want to list. Make sure to replace the placeholder path with the actual path of your folder.

Step 3: Export the List to a Text File

Type dir /b > filelist.txt and hit Enter.

This command creates a new text file named ‘filelist.txt’ containing all the file names in the directory. The /b switch ensures that only the file names are exported, without additional details.

Step 4: Open the Text File in Excel

Open Excel, go to File > Open, and select the text file.

Excel can open text files and, with its Text Import Wizard, can turn a list into a column of data. You might need to change the file type to ‘All Files’ to see the text file in the Open dialog.

Step 5: Follow the Text Import Wizard

Select ‘Delimited’, click ‘Next’, choose your delimiter, and finish.

The Text Import Wizard guides you through the process of importing the text file data into Excel. By selecting ‘Delimited’, you’re telling Excel how the data is separated in the text file. Usually, you won’t need to change the delimiter settings for a simple list of file names.


Saves TimeNo more manual typing; this process will save you hours, especially if you’re dealing with large folders.
AccuracyEliminates the possibility of human error that comes with manually typing out file names.
VersatilityOnce the list is in Excel, you can sort, filter, or use it for data analysis, giving you a lot of control over your file inventory.


Learning CurveSome users might not be familiar with Command Prompt, which could make the process seem intimidating at first.
Limited DetailsThis method only copies the file names; if you need more details like size or date modified, additional steps are required.
Potential for ErrorIf the directory path is entered incorrectly, or if there’s a typo in the command, the desired results won’t be achieved.

Additional Information

While the steps outlined above are fairly straightforward, a few extra tips can make the process even smoother. For instance, if you want the list to include subfolders, you can modify the command in Step 3 to dir /b /s > filelist.txt. The /s switch makes the command recursive, meaning it will dive into subdirectories too.

If you’re struggling to find the path of your folder, a quick way to get it is by holding Shift while right-clicking on the folder. Then, select ‘Copy as path’ from the context menu. Paste this directly into the Command Prompt after the cd command.

Remember, this method only copies the file names. If you need additional information like file size or last modified date, you’ll have to tweak the dir command further. Also, if you’re not comfortable using the Command Prompt, there are third-party tools available that can accomplish the same task with a graphical interface.


  1. Open Command Prompt.
  2. Navigate to your folder.
  3. Export the file list to a text file.
  4. Open the text file in Excel.
  5. Use the Text Import Wizard to finalize the list in Excel.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I include file extensions in the Excel list?

Yes, file extensions are included by default when you use the dir /b command.

What if I want to include files from subfolders?

Add the /s switch to the command in Step 3 to include files from subfolders.

Can I copy the list into a pre-existing Excel spreadsheet?

Yes, you can copy and paste the list from the text file into any Excel spreadsheet.

Is there a way to copy more details about the files, like the size or date modified?

Yes, you’ll have to remove the /b switch from the command and then use Excel’s text functions to parse the details you need.

What if I don’t have Excel?

You can use similar steps in other spreadsheet programs like Google Sheets or OpenOffice Calc, though the import process may differ slightly.


There you have it—the ins and outs of copying a list of files into Excel. This straightforward task might seem minor, but its impact on productivity and file management can be huge. Whether you’re an office worker, a creative professional, or just someone looking to organize digital clutter, mastering this method can be a valuable addition to your skillset.

So next time you’re faced with the daunting prospect of manually creating a file list, remember this guide. With a few simple commands and clicks, you’ll have a neatly organized Excel spreadsheet ready for action. And for those who want to delve deeper, the world of Command Prompt and Excel holds even more powerful tricks to discover. Happy organizing!

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