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How to create a list of all the files inside a macOS directory in seconds with TextEdit

On the rare occasion a list of all of the files within a folder are required, there is a simpler way than manually typing it out or creating a collage of Finder screenshots. AppleInsider reveals how to compile the list using TextEdit.

There aren't many reasons why one would want to create a list of file names, but sometimes it can be quite a useful thing to produce. For example, a developer may want to keep a record of files and folders within a directory when they are producing an app, while those with extensive media collections could require a list based on their archives.

First, open up the folder you want to create the list from, and select all of the files and folders you want to include. Once all of the relevant files and folders are selected, copy the list by either selecting Edit then Copy Items in the menu or the Command-C keyboard shortcut.

Open up TextEdit, Apple's included text editor, and create a New Document. Once it is open, go to Format in the Menu and select Make Plain Text.

Finally, paste the files into the text document by selecting Edit then Paste, right clicking the document and selecting Paste, or by using the Command-V keyboard shortcut. This will paste the entire list of file and folder names into TextEdit.

There is also the option to create the same list that includes the folder path for each item, instead of just the file names. This can be created by dragging the selected files and folders into the TextEdit document, again set to Plain Text, instead of pasting.

If the TextEdit document is kept as Rich Text, the Mac will instead attempt to insert a copy of the documents and folder into the document. By keeping it as Plain Text, only the file and folder names will be pasted.

If you want to use this list elsewhere, be sure to select the pasted text and copy it before pasting in the app you want to use, otherwise you could end up pasting a copy of the folders and files themselves.