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:usersadacostadocuments”.
  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?