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Create a (M3U) Playlist File

There are many ways, using many programs, to create playlist files.

Two key things to remember no matter which program you use:

  1. Save as an .m3u file.
  2. Save the playlist file in the same directory as the .mp3 files. (Do not save then move it.)

M3U files are the most cross-compatible playlist file for different devices and operating systems, but feel free to create or save additional playlist files (using the same file name) with different formats.

Creating a Playlist File Using Windows Media Player

Create and Save a Playlist in WMP (from Microsoft)

Tip: You can drag and drop files from Windows Explorer to Windows Media Player's list area.

Creating a Playlist File Using iTunes

  1. Creating an iTunes Playlist (from ehow)
  2. Export a iTunes Playlist (from wikihow)

The big catch with iTunes is that by default, iTunes copies new audio files to your iTunes Media folder, and then works with them in that folder instead of your original directory. That means that the playlist file you create will, by default, appear in the iTunes Media folder instead of the folder where you originally had the audio files. You can find the location of your iTunes Media folder under Preferences... -> Advanced.

To get around this problem, either:

  • save the playlist to the appropriate folder in the iTunes Media folder, or
  • under Preferences... -> Advanced, uncheck "Copy Files to iTunes Media folder when adding to library" before adding the .mp3 files to iTunes.

To double check that the playlist worked properly, open the playlist in a text editor (such as Notepad or TextEdit), and make sure the playlist just has the file names and is not looking for files in /Users/nnels/Music/iTunes/, or the like.