Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007, 2010, and 2013. If you are using an earlier version (Excel 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Excel, click here: Pulling Filenames into a Worksheet.

Pulling Filenames into a Worksheet

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated June 6, 2015)

2

Carol has a directory with about 1,000 files with names such as YR1905-LIC12345-Smith,Harry-Brown,Mary. She would like to bring all of these filenames (not the files themselves) into a worksheet and separate the names at the dash. Thus, the example filename would actually occupy four cells in a single row. Carol figures this will take a macro to accomplish, but she's not sure how to access the filenames in that macro.

You can, of course, use a macro to do this, but you don't need to use a macro. You can, instead, use an old DOS-era trick to get what you need. At the command prompt (accessible through Windows: Start | All Programs | Accessories | Command Prompt), navigate until you are in the directory that contains the files. Let's assume, for this example, that you are trying to get a listing of the files in this directory:

c:\Users\e07482\My Documents\rnp

To navigate to that directory, enter in this command at the command prompt:

chdir "\Users\e07482\My Documents\rnp"

You need to use the quote marks around the directory because of the space in the path name. Then, type the following command to see, on-screen, what the file listing is:

dir /b /a-d

The "/a-d" part means "don't list directories." If you are satisfied with what you see on the screen, then you can send it to the file by using the following:

dir /b /a-d > filelist.txt

This creates a text file (filelist.txt) that contains a list of all the files within the current directory. Now, within Excel, you can follow these steps:

  1. Display the Excel Options dialog box. (In Excel 2007 click the Office button and then click Excel Options. In Excel 2010 and Excel 2013 display the File tab of the ribbon and then click Options.)
  2. Using the Files of Type drop-down list at the bottom of the dialog box, indicate that you want to open Text Files (*.prn; *.txt; *.csv).
  3. Navigate to and select the filelist.txt file you created at the command prompt.
  4. Click on Open. Excel starts the Text Import Wizard, displaying the Step 1 of 3 dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
  5. Figure 1. The Text Import Wizard.

  6. Make sure the Delimited choice is selected, then click on Next. Excel displays the Step 2 of 3 dialog box.
  7. Make sure you specify a dash as your delimiter. (You'll need to click on Other and then enter a dash as the delimiter.)
  8. Click on Finish. Your file is imported and broken at the dashes, just as you wanted.

The above steps are fairly easy to accomplish, particularly if you only need to get the file listing into Excel once in a while. If you need to do it more routinely, then you should probably seek a way to do it using a macro. The following macro will work very quickly:

Sub GetFileNames()
    Dim sPath As String
    Dim sFile As String
    Dim iRow As Integer
    Dim iCol As Integer
    Dim splitFile As Variant

    'specify directory to use - must end in "\"
    sPath = "C:\"

    iRow = 0
    sFile = Dir(sPath)
    Do While sFile <> ""
        iRow = iRow + 1
        splitFile = Split(sFile, "-")
        For iCol = 0 To UBound(splitFile)
            Sheet1.Cells(iRow, iCol + 1) = splitFile(iCol)
        Next iCol
        sFile = Dir     ' Get next filename
    Loop
End Sub

When you run the macro, make sure that there is nothing in the current worksheet. (Anything there will be overwritten.) Also, you should change the directory path that is assigned to the sPath variable near the beginning of the macro.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (11144) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, and 2013. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Excel here: Pulling Filenames into a Worksheet.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He  is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Navigating Your Document Using Outline View

When you need to get around a long document, a really helpful method is to use the Outline view built into Word. This tip ...

Discover More

Tools to View Field Codes

Fields can be used to add all sorts of dynamic data to your documents. Viewing the field codes, at times, is desirable. ...

Discover More

Hiding a Huge Number of Rows

Need to hide a large number of rows? It's easy to do if you combine a few keyboard shortcuts. Here are several techniques ...

Discover More

Professional Development Guidance! Four world-class developers offer start-to-finish guidance for building powerful, robust, and secure applications with Excel. The authors show how to consistently make the right design decisions and make the most of Excel's powerful features. Check out Professional Excel Development today!

More ExcelTips (ribbon)

Getting Rid of Empty Rows after Importing

Import data into a worksheet (or paste it there) and you may find that you end up with a group of blank cells you need to ...

Discover More

Who Has the File Open?

Open a workbook that someone else is working on, and you won't be able to save your changes back into the same file. ...

Discover More

Jumping Around Folders

When you open a workbook in Excel, the Open dialog box always starts within the folder in which you were last working. ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is 9 - 4?

2016-07-04 03:20:41

V

Thank you. Its helpful.


2016-04-06 16:36:52

Josh

How do you get rid of the ".docx" extension that comes up when the file name shows in excel?


This Site

Got a version of Excel that uses the ribbon interface (Excel 2007 or later)? This site is for you! If you use an earlier version of Excel, visit our ExcelTips site focusing on the menu interface.

Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.