Mac OS X: Print or Save a List of File Names

There are a couple of good ways to print or save a list of a folder’s contents, depending on what result you’re looking for. We’re going to be using the TextEdit program for this, which is a nifty little word processor that comes by default on your Mac. It’s in your Applications folder.

So open that and get a new document started. You’ll want to make sure that you’re using a plain-text document and not a rich-text one, which you can toggle under the Format menu or by hitting Shift-Command-T.

The first way to start your list is to select the files you want in it and drag them into that TextEdit document.

If you’ve ignored my rich-text/plain-text advice above, you may get a bunch of pasted graphics (or what have you). Never ignore my advice, you silly thing.

If you see the formatting toolbar pointed out above, your TextEdit document is set to rich text.


If, however, you’ve done as I suggested, you’ll get a neatly formatted list of files, complete with the folder path that contains each of them.

What if you don’t like the paths, though? What if a file path traumatized you when you were a child? It’s lucky that there’s an easy way around that, then. Select the files again, and instead of dragging them, hit Command-C (or choose Edit > Copy), then go back to your TextEdit document and hit Command-V (or choose Edit > Paste). Holy crap, it’s a list of just the file names without the paths.

Easy, huh? Now you can print a list of your files without having to resort to third-party programs, screenshots, Terminal, or Automator. Or banging your head against a wall, either. That rarely does anyone any good.