Moving a huge list of filenames from my Windows 7 computer to an Excel file is something I’ve avoided because the prospect of copying and pasting one filename at a time was too painful to bear. Until now. I’ve reached a point where processing digital objects composed of many files is absolutely necessary and I needed to find a solution.
For those of you with a Mac, the process for copying filenames in a Mac are listed in the Mac Observer.
For Windows, it is a bit more complex. There are some software solutions available for download but there is a simpler way to do it with features your computer already has if you are using Windows; the Command Line Interface. With the helpful suggestion of the dir/b command and the Windows Command Prompt Tips and Tricks I saved a huge amount of time. I have barely ever used this feature of my computer before so it does not take any significant amount of computer skills to do this.
Here are the steps:
1. Open the Command Line Interface
- At the bottom of the Windows Start Button menu – Type “Run” into the Search box
- Click on “Run” under the Programs category and type “cmd” into the field that appears:
2. Direct the computer toward the folder where your files are:
2A. If the folder is in the C: drive see below (if a different drive i.e. “G:” see step 2B):
- Type the command “cd” for Change Directory followed by a space and the new file path
- Include the File path to the folder you want:
- C:\Users\keg82724\My Documents\My Documents\Metadata
2B. If in a different drive (ex. G:) then the “cd” command will not work as above.
- Type the drive you must go to and a colon – “G:”
- Type “cd”
- Type the filename path starting with the new drive
- G:\BUL\Dept\BU Digital Library\Metadata
- It should look like this:
3. At the next prompt type the command: “dir/b”
- All the files in the selected folder should appear.
4. Right click in the command prompt box and choose the menu item “Mark”
- Highlight all the files you want to copy by holding the left click and dragging over all the files you want to include.
- Let go of the button and type Enter to Copy the filenames
- The highlighting will disappear
5. Paste them into the Excel Spreadsheet or Notepad application.
You now have avoided a dreadful day of copy/paste delirium!!