Mp3ListShellEx: create audio playlists on the fly, in the context menu

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Mp3ListShellEx is Windows Explorer shell extension that allows you to create playlists or text lists of your MP3s simply by highlighting a folder and selecting an option from the right click context menu.

Some things, such as organizing a large MP3 collection, never seem to end. Mp3ListShellEx is a program that could potentially make your audio library easier to manage, especially if you organize your audio files within a folder structure, by enabling you to create playlists (and track lists) out of folder contents simply by right clicking on the folder.

It relieves you from the need to keep launching your media player every time you need to do this simple operation. Here are more notes on this program:

  • Formats supported: creates playlists that can be played by media players (M3U, WPL, B4S, PLS), or lists of files in HTM, XML, CSV, or XLS (Excel) formats.
  • Recursive processing: from the settings, the program can be configured to either process folders-within-folders recursively or not. Folders-within-folders are included in a single playlist.
  • Processing multiple folders: check “seperate list for each folder” in the settings, then select multiple folders and run. A seperate playlist will be created for each folder.
  • Sorting: you can select to sort the generated playlist by any column available in the explorer details view (Album, artist, title, track, etc). Unfortunately doesn’t allow for multiple sorting criteria (see wish list below).
  • Creation location: you can create playlists inside the folder itself, or set to create inside a pre-determined location (e.g. Desktop, My Documents), or have the program prompt you for a location.
  • Wildcards: you can define a wildcard from the settings. By default it’s “*.mp3” but it could be anything you need (e.g. *depeche mode* will filter depeche mode tracks assuming that string is in the file name).
  • Mp3ListShellEx list optionsList options: if generating lists of audio files in HTM, XML, CSV, or XLS formats, you can customize exactly which columns to include and their order from the settings (see screenshot to the right).

Wish list: I am not sure if this program is still in development, but here’s my wish list all the same.

  • Process audio files, not just folders: strangely, the version I tested would not allow me to CTRL-select a bunch of MP3s and create a playlist out of them. Instead it would require me to move them into a folder first and then process that folder.
  • Multiple successive sorting criteria: to set it to, for example, first sort by album name, then by track number. Currently you can only select a single criteria.

The verdict: overall a very nice tool, though not perfect. I couldn’t help but get the sense that it could be greatly improved by implementing a couple of simple, easy modifications (see wish list above). As it is, however, it is quite a useful tool that does what it sets out to do quite well.

Compatibility: WinAll. requires Visual C and Visual Basic run-time files (Windows 2K/Me/XP already have them). Some users may also need to install “Microsoft Windows Common Controls” – COMCTL32.OCX. There are links to all of these on the program page.

Go to the program page to download the latest version (approx 83K).