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How to print all files within a directory using Python?
  • Difficulty Level : Medium
  • Last Updated : 17 Feb, 2021

In this article, we will learn “How to print all files within a directory using Python?”. To do this task we are using the os module in Python. So, let’s discuss some concepts related to that.

The os module is one of the most popular Python modules for automating the systems calls and operations of an operating system. With a rich set of methods and an easy-to-use API, the os module is one of the standard packages and comes pre-installed with Python. 

For this article, the following methods from the os module will be required:

1. os.startfile(): This method prints the contents of a given file.

Syntax: os.startfile(path, operation=’open’)


  • path – String containing the path to a given file
  • operation – A string containing one of the following ‘command verbs’
    • ‘print’ Prints the file pertaining to path
    • ‘edit’ – Opens the file in the default text-editor for editing
    • ‘properties’ – Opens the properties window of the given file
    • ‘find’ – Initiates a search starting from directory mentioned in the path
    • ‘open’ – Opens the application/file pertaining to the path. If the given file is not an executable file, its associated application is opened

2. os.listdir(): This method lists all the files and directories within a given directory. For more detailed coverage of this method consisting of examples and use-cases, please refer here.

Syntax: os.listdir(path=’.’)


  • path String containing the path of the directory containing the files to be printed

Returns: A list containing the names of all the sub -directories and files present in the corresponding directory.

3. os.path.isfile(): As we can only print the given folder’s subdirectories, we’ll use this method to check if a given entity is either a file or a directory. For more detailed coverage of this method consisting of examples and use cases, please refer here.

Syntax: os.path.isfile(path)


  • path – String containing the path of the entity being checked

Returns: True if path coresponds to a file, else returns False

Note: Aside from the above modules, you’ll also need a fully functional printer connected to your PC!


The line of code “time.sleep(5)” of the given script is completely optional and is just there to avoid any un-necessary glitching or overlapping of the operations in consecutive files. For reading more about the time.sleep() method, please refer to here.


# Import libraries
import os
import time
# Insert the directory path in here
path = ''
# Extracting all the contents in the directory corresponding to path
l_files = os.listdir(path) 
# Iterating over all the files
for file in l_files:
  # Instantiating the path of the file
    file_path = f'{path}\\{file}'
    # Checking whether the given file is a directory or not
    if os.path.isfile(file_path):
            # Printing the file pertaining to file_path
            os.startfile(file_path, 'print')
            print(f'Printing {file}')
            # Sleeping the program for 5 seconds so as to account the 
      # steady processing of the print operation.
            # Catching if any error occurs and alerting the user
            print(f'ALERT: {file} could not be printed! Please check\
            the associated softwares, or the file type.')
        print(f'ALERT: {file} is not a file, so can not be printed!')
print('Task finished!')


The demo was done on a Windows 10 machine. The environment is as follows:

  • Path of the directory containing files being printed: “Local Disk (D):/Files”
  • Files in the given directory:
    • Dir A sample subdirectory
    • File_a.pdf – A sample .pdf file
    • File_b.txt – A sample .txt file
    • File_c.docx – A sample .docx file

Note: Since os.startfile() is only available in Windows operating system, so macOS and Linux users might experience some issues while running the script given in the article.

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