Anyone know how to take the contents of a Finder Window and make an Excel file out of it? - Macenstein

Anyone know how to take the contents of a Finder Window and make an Excel file out of it?

This is just a purely selfish post – we’re looking for a suggestion. Right now in The Lab we are backing up our video files to 400 GB LTO tapes. The problem is, we don’t really have a great way to search through the contents of those tapes without loading them one by one and then doing a search. Right now we are simply taking screen grabs of the Finder windows, printing them out (ie killing trees), and stroing them with the tapes in a library, which as you can imagine, seems like taking 5 steps back in efficiency. What we’d really like to be able to do is is grab the contents of a Finder window (for example, the folder full of video projects, folders and files we are backing up to the tape), and export it to an Excel sheet or XML file of some sort that we could search through quickly to figure out which tape a file or project is on. Any ideas? Thanks!

17 Responses to “Anyone know how to take the contents of a Finder Window and make an Excel file out of it?”
  1. Brandon says:

    Check out PrintWindow 4.0 ( ). Granted, you need to pay $20 to get this feature in the Advanced version, but they clearly state that it can save the information from a Finder window into a tab delimited file or MS Excel file 🙂

  2. wigwamman says:

    Go into terminal and do
    ls -alh > list.txt
    This will give you directory contents in a text file which you can then do whatever you like with.
    Not exactly what you where looking for but certainly better than print screen.

  3. Required says:


    (path/foldername) > (path/filename).txt


    ls /Desktop/Stuff > /Desktop/contents.txt

    You should then be able to import this into Excel ?

    Or something like Printwindow 4 from –

  4. Danksi says:

    What backup software are you using with the LTO? Does it have a media library feature built in?

    Rather than printing to paper, how about to PDF and storing the list on a USB drive with the tapes.

  5. Julian says: + bash + find + awk or perl

  6. Thanks guys Print Window looks like the answer!
    -The Doc

  7. Nathan Toone says:

    Can’t this be achieved by using terminal instead – and exporting to a CSV file?

    Something like this seems like it would work:

    ls -lT | \
    awk ‘{print “\””$10″\”””;””\””$6″ “$7”, “$9″\”””;””\””$5″\””}’ > filename.csv

    (Taken from

  8. dizzy says:

    Yeah, if it were me and there was $20 software to do exactly what I need and would save me hours of time it’s not much to ask.

  9. Big League Chew says:

    I’m a Windows programmer so here’s how I would do it.

    1: Download Delphi Explorer for free from

    2: Create an app with a database, MS Access is fine, that is populated from a procedure that uses calls to FindFirst and calls FindNext with in a recursive loop.

    3: Create an GUI for the app that uses an TDriveComboBox and a TDirectoryListBox. As long as you can network share your tape under OS X you will be able to access it from Windows.

    4: Run the app and point the drive combobox and drivelistbox to the tape and let her rip! You can write the app so you can catalog all your tape with a single database. Since you’re running the app under windows you can import the Access database into Excel if there’s still some reason you want to do this.

    Maybe we’ll all get lucky and CodeGear will create a Delphi for OS X!

  10. Bastiaan says:

    Why don’t you try DiskTracker ( This application creates a searchable index of your disk.

  11. Philou says:

    On Mac, select all the content of your window, copy and paste direct on your Excel sheet.
    Did I miss something ?

  12. Rich says:

    Didn’t see anyone mention the wonderful grep command yet, so I will.

    Why not do a ls on each tape after you create it and pipe the output to a seperate text file for each, so for tape #1 you’d do

    ls > tape1.txt

    and on down thru tape # whatever, then save all those text files in a folder called Movie_Directory so then when you need to find the movie Shooter for example you could just cd into that folder and do a

    grep -H Shooter *.txt

    and it’ll tell you what tape # you’d put Shooter on. If you keep all your tapes in order on your shelf it’d be relatively quick to find this way, and you’d just have to use the Terminal you already have, no need to use Excel, no need to print anything.

  13. thomi says:

    just dragNdrop the files to textedit

  14. Drew says:

    We use Microsoft Expression Media 2 to scan in multi-media files. Yes it’s Microsoft, but it was originally a program they bought out called iVeiw Pro. From there we can add all sorts of metadata to the files and search/preview files with the program. I think it’s around $200, but being able to quickly navigate through my library of content quickly and across multiple hard drives makes it worth it. Oh, you can have a list view of metadata organized how you like it, then you can export it as an XML file or a CSV data file.

  15. SirFoxey says:

    some people these days, so god damn lazy….silly Americans :p

  16. Mirko says:

    Use CDFINDER. It’s made exactly for this purpose. I use it to keep track of my files scattered around >30 HDDs.

    Don’t use Excel, just don’t 🙂

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