Getting a List of Folder Contents

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated March 2, 2019)


In putting together a client's file, Boneita needs to create a document that contains a list of everything in a particular folder—all documents and subfolders. She wonders if there is an easy way to get such a list in Word.

Actually, there are a few ways you can accomplish this task, but none of them are native to Word. Here's an easy way that I use all the time:

  1. Make sure your Word document is open.
  2. Click on the Desktop, outside of Word. (This makes sure that your Word document is not active.)
  3. Press Win+E. Windows immediately opens a File Explorer window.
  4. Using File Explorer, navigate to the folder whose contents you want to list.
  5. Press Ctrl+A. Everything in the folder should now be selected.
  6. While holding down the Shift key, right-click on one of the selected files. Windows displays a Context menu. (See Figure 1.)
  7. Figure 1. Context menu displayed when Shift+right-clicking on a group of files.

  8. Choose the Copy as Path option.
  9. Click in the Word document. (This activates the Word document.)
  10. Make sure the insertion point is where you want the list of file contents added.
  11. Press Ctrl+V to paste the contents of the Clipboard.

What you end up with is the list of files—including full path names—in your document. You can then edit the list in any way desired. For instance, you might want to select what was pasted and use Find and Replace to modify the path to each file, as desired.

If you are looking for a more traditional way of getting the list using the command prompt or a macro, you should consider the WordTip located at this URL:

There are also third-party solutions available, such as Karen's Directory Printer, which was suggested by more than one subscriber:

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (3435) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Microsoft 365.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...


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What is nine minus 5?

2021-07-06 10:32:43


Here's the way I do it in a macro to create a folder listing in a document via piping the DIR command to a temporary file. This allows using all of the DIR command's options. This is the guts of a larger procedure I use to compare the details of the files (dates, sizes, etc.) in two different directories using Word's CompareDocs feature.

Sub CreateFolderListing()
Const Switches As String = "/OGN /TW /B" ' Add "/S" for subfolders
Dim CommandLine As String
Dim FolderName As String
Dim TempName As String
Dim FSO As New FileSystemObject

FolderName = "c:\"
TempName = FSO.GetSpecialFolder(TemporaryFolder) & "\" & FSO.GetTempName
CommandLine = "cmd.exe /C dir " & Switches & " """ & FolderName & """ > """ & TempName & """"
Call CreateObject("WScript.Shell").Run(CommandLine, 2, True) ' See
Documents.Add.Content.InsertFile filename:=TempName, ConfirmConversions:=False
Kill TempName
End Sub

2021-07-02 15:14:52

Bob Hall

Getting a List of Folder Contents.
I followed the directions for this task and it worked first time. Great. I have wanted to do that a few times and never knew how.

I want to get macros working in Excel but have had no luck. At one time I was fluent with macros using the ancient Apple II Appleworks program. It was fantastic.

I would also like a VERY SIMPLE flat file database that is popular enough for other people to read. I wish Microsoft had made such a program.

2020-07-15 17:11:37

Laura S

I LOVE THIS TIP! SO EASY! I had a folder of documents for an instructor that he wanted help uploading to his course. After a week, he had not provided what dates to make items available. I used this process and emailed the document to him. He replied in 20 minutes!!! T

Thank you for such a helpful tip!!!

2020-06-17 18:12:59

Janice Briggs

A fast and easy way is to open the folder and using a snipping tool make a copy. This will not give you list you can manipulate, but you can print it and have access to a list of your files on paper.

2019-07-02 21:07:01


I recommend this third party tool: Directory Report
It can save the contents of your directories to many file formats: txt, csv, xml, directly to MS-Excel, and clipboard
it can get the attributes of: DLL/Exe, AVI, MP3, MSI, WAV and MS-Office properties

2019-03-10 16:25:34

Bin Man

Hi Allen
I use Directory Report to get a List of Folder Contents
It can export a directory list directly to MS-Excel
Very customizable

2019-03-05 02:46:00


Ken & Paul:

That's a lot of files . . . if I had the need to post a list even much smaller than that and potentially sort on it, I would be inclined to create the list in Excel.

To do that, I would engage a very powerful freebie called ASAP Utilities that has a built in utility to create such a file list (including subfolders) in an Excel file.

(Happily I don't have a need to reference that quantity of files in a Word document).

2019-03-04 17:15:53

Ken Endacott

I was going to give a warning not to try the macro on very large folders such as C:\Windows or C: but Paul has beaten me to it.

For file properties that can be listed, see:

DateLastModified is probably more useful than DateCreated in the macro, or maybe you need both.

2019-03-04 09:33:03

Paul Hanson

FYI, if you have 58473 files spread across 14354 sub-directories, Ken's macro will give you a Word document with all the files & sub-folders, but it won't create the table, due to Word's limit. Totally neat trick though!

2019-03-03 13:07:02


Oh My Goodness! This is a FABULOUS Tip!!! Thank you so very much. You just saved me bushels of time!

2019-03-03 08:41:07

Ken Endacott

The solution shown will give a list of files in a folder but not its sub folders.

The following macro will produce a list of all files in a folder and its sub-folders. The detail given for each file is the path, the name, the size and the creation date. Other file information could be shown by changing the statement flNames(UBound(flNames)) = …

The results are put into a table in a new document. Word’s Sort can then be used to sort into any order.

' ***** This declaration must be at the top of the module *****
Dim flNames() As String
' ************************************************************
Sub FilesInFolderAndSubFolders()
Dim FileSystem As Object
Dim mydir As String
Dim j As Long
mydir = InputBox("Folder path. For example C:\MyFolder")
ReDim flNames(0)
Set FileSystem = CreateObject("Scripting.FileSystemObject")
DoFolder FileSystem.GetFolder(mydir)
Selection.TypeText "Path" & vbTab & "File name" & vbTab & _
"Size" & vbTab & "Creation Date" & vbCrLf
For j = 1 To UBound(flNames)
Selection.TypeText flNames(j)
Next j
Selection.ConvertToTable Separator:=wdSeparateByTabs, AutoFitBehavior:=wdAutoFitFixed
Selection.Tables(1).Style = "Table Grid"
End Sub

Sub DoFolder(Folder)
Dim SubFolder
Dim aFile
Dim nextDoc As Document
For Each SubFolder In Folder.SubFolders
DoFolder SubFolder
Next SubFolder
For Each aFile In Folder.Files
ReDim Preserve flNames(UBound(flNames) + 1)
flNames(UBound(flNames)) = Folder & vbTab & _
aFile.Name & vbTab & aFile.Size & vbTab & aFile.DateCreated & vbCrLf
Next aFile
End Sub

2019-03-02 16:43:00


I too frequently need to list the file contents of a folder in my reports.

I discovered it is fastest to open the target folder in Explorer, organize/display the files you want (e.g. either or without attributes), simply take a screen shot of the file list and paste the graphic into your document.

If the directory path is important to you, just expand the screen shot coverage to include the path shown in the navigation bar too.

2019-03-02 15:15:38

David in Mississippi

"Copy as Path" does not show up on my Windows 10 (latest version) context menu. Any help there?

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