Fast Tip Friday – Using DOS to Create File Listing

FTF-Using-DOS-to-Create-File-Listing

This fast tip will demonstrate how to use DOS commands to create a file listing.

In another Fast Tip Friday, I demonstrated how to get a list of all files in a folder using an Excel macro.

Download Sample Files

    Amy is a legal industry educator, passionate about helping legal professionals succeed. She even quit her day job to devote more time!

    Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are salesy, offensive or off-topic.

    • Andy Alcindor

      Nice tip. Classic tool in the Lit Support tool belt. 11 years strong for me! Love ‘Fast Tip Friday’ Looking forward to next week’s tip. Keep it up! Have a great weekend! 🙂

    • RpTheHotrod

      Great tip! I used to use this awhile back, but I’ve been able to expand on it just a bit. It’s sometimes a pain to browse out to your location via the command prompt, so what you can do is (on Windows 7 only…XP requires you to install an addon for this),

      1. Go to your folder where you data is to verify it’s indeed what you’re wanting.

      2. Back out one folder level so you’re seeing the actual folder.

      3. SHIFT-RightClick on your folder. This will reveal a hidden command of OPEN COMMAND WINDOW HERE. Click it.

      4. Your command prompt should now open to that path automatically.

      From there, I do this:

      Copy the following (I put this in a txt file on my desktop)
      5. dir /a:-d /o:n /b /s > ..DirList.txt
      (this will create a directory listing including hidden files AND sort them in order…handy when you need exhibits to be in a proper order and such)
      6. Right click on the command prompt and choose PASTE. This should paste the directory list code.
      7. Hit Enter.

      the .. part of ..DirList.txt will tell it to place the resulting .txt file one folder previously.This prevents the directory listing command from “seeing” the actual directory listing file itself and listing it in your directory listing.

      Hope this helps!

      • Thanks for chiming in RpTheHotrod. I wish I knew your real first name.

        I was hoping that by sharing these FTF videos that it would rally the litigation support community to share more tips, so thanks for sharing what you’ve learned. I will add your tip to my list of video tutorials so that newbies can visualize it a little better. Cool!

        Please let me know if you have any other tips you think I should share with newbies. My email address is alb@litigationsupportguru.com.

      • Sean Hert

        I also keep a text file on my desktop full of command shortcuts.

    • mgolab

      Great tip Amy, and a tool/technique that we use only about every hour or so of each and every day.

      A further tip for you, there is a quicker way to launch the command prompt and navigate to the source directory being:
      click in the windows explorer address bar (like you did) and type cmd.exe.
      a command prompt window is launched, and it is already sitting at the correct directory

      Another similar tool that we use is called filelist.exe (http://www.jam-software.com/filelist/changes.shtml), which amongst many nifty things, can also generate an MD5 value at the same time as the file list. Its also free. Filelist is developed by Jam software who make the excellent treesize pro tool (that is not free, but is really worth buying).

      • Thanks Matthew for the added cmd tip. It is difficult to share all of the nuances to our job and not overwhelm a newbie, but I hope to break them down piece by piece in future FTF videos. I am also excited about the litigation support community sharing their knowledge in response to the FTF videos. Thanks so much.

        I will also add the Filelist tool to my Litigation Support Tools of the Trade Guide. They now have a free version of Treesize too. I noticed it when I added TreeSize to the guide.

    • Excellent, thanks!

    • Phillip Burton

      I used “cmd /s >>” only today on a computer where I couldn’t install my regular program. It is limited, giving only the equivalent of name, rank and serial number, and not in the best format.

      Over here in Britain we have Practice Direction 35b, which requires information which is to be submitted to be in a table with certain data showing, such as author and recipient, so I find it a lot easier to use a dedicated Metadata Extractor to do this.

      My personal favorite is Filecats Professional, but I’m curious if you have any other examples of similar programs which can catalog folders and files with document properties.

      • Philip – thanks so much for sharing requirements for Britain. Matthew (commented here also) is working in Australia and he always lets us know how things are slightly different over there. As for other tools, you might be interested in picking up my Tools of the Trade digital guide. It has over 50 tools in it right now and I am in the process of adding another 40 tools. Look under the Products link for more info.

    • Thanks Sean for chiming in — good tips! I am breaking down these tutorials into small bits and I definitely have “creating a batch file” on the list. I want newbies to understand the “how” and the “why” and then we can teach them the shortcuts we use. If you can think of any other basic tips you think I should create a video for, shoot me an email. I love how the lit support community is coming together to share knowledge. It’s awesome!

    • Pingback: Fast Tip Friday - Get List of All Files in a Folder Using Excel Macro()