Friend: “Hey, I wanted to borrow some music from you.”
Me: “Sure, what do you need?”
Friend: “Well, what do you have?”
When you have been ripping music CDs since the last millennium and buying digital ever since the iTunes store opened, it gets pretty much impossible to list all the artists or albums you have, let alone those stray songs.
In fact, the need to list a bunch of files comes up quite often. On past occasions, I’ve needed a file stored on my PC at home and couldn’t remember what it was called or where it was saved. Asking my wife to read out every file over the phone would’ve probably resulted in a call from a divorce lawyer. Is there a better way out? Sure there is!
Two other times, I’ve also needed to save the entire list of every file on my work hard drive, with its paths and folder structure intact, before giving it for repair; we have backups, of course, but my particular way of organizing the files is unique and I wanted to remember where everything goes.
Stefan Trost Media’s nifty Filelist Creator sure does help in instances like these.
Select Your Files
When you start off, Filelist Creator seems to throw a bunch of options your way with the cluttered screen. But if you take just a couple of minutes, it all makes sense and you can breeze through the program to get exactly what you want.
The first step, of course, is to point it to the right folder which hosts the files you want to be listed. You can either open the folder through Filelist Creator, or simply drag-and-drop the files. Further options let you search through sub-folders and even to watch the content of a folder, to track it for changes.
TIP: I don’t like sharing my Dropbox folders with anyone and everyone, but I host a lot of data there, which keeps changing often. The ‘Watch Content’ option lets me just share a list of updated files at any point to see if someone else wants to download a file I have; it’s easier (and safer) than granting them access to the folder.
The app also lets you filter the types of files you want to show up in the list. It comes with a few pre-loaded options with formats already loaded up in categories like Image, Text, Office Documents, Media, Archives and Other, but you can obviously key in custom formats.
I found this particularly helpful when I was once looking for all the Quark Xpress files I had on the system, with a ready list that I could mail to my colleagues.
What do you want?
The number of options that Filelist Creator throws your way is incredible. Any single thing you can think of, rest assured that the app has it.
First, choose whether you want just the file names listed or you want to append the name of the folder as well, through the option in Settings.
In the right pane, aptly titled ‘Columns & Design’, you get to choose which aspects of the file you want to show up in the final list.
Column options include File Name, File Format, Windows File Type, File Size, Date (Created, Accessed, Changed), Hidden/Read-only, Associated Application, File Path and Checksums.
Design options are a lot more customizable, and fall under four basic subheads: General options (Header, hyphens, padding, delimiter), Grouping (Group according to which aspect, what information to include about groups) and Order of Columns.
Any change you make is instantly reflected in the Preview window on the left, provided you’ve kept it switched on. It does tend to slow down the application at times when you make big changes, but it’s worth it to know what your final output will look like before you give the command.
Save Your Settings And Your List
Once you have customized the columns and design to your liking, and if you would like to retain those settings for future use, Filelist Creator offers options to save configurations as profiles. It’s quite a helpful little feature, especially if you are going to be using the program often to send people lists of a particular type of folder.
And finally, when you are done with it all, choose the format you would like to save your file (TXT, CSV, JPG, BMP, GIF and HTM) in and hit the button. You can alternatively choose to copy the whole thing onto your clipboard and paste it wherever you please, without saving the file.
Stefan Trost Media develops several utility programs for Windows, and they’ve thrown a free add-on in Filelist Creator: a batch file renamer.
Again, it’s quite simple and intuitive to use. Add the files or folders (again, with options to filter them) and choose the ‘mask’ for the files. ‘Mask’ is basically a short command that mimics a function. For example, “%name%” would use the full file name; “%num%” would insert a number there in the file name, in order of files.
You can also find and replace expressions in the file names, as well as the file extension.
And of course, everything comes with a preview so that you can see the changes you are making before you rename the files.
I’ve used quite a few file list creation programs in the past, such as List Maker and File List Creator. But none of these have managed to give the amount of options that Filelist Creator has in an easy-to-use interface. There’s nothing left wanting in this one.