Preserving or importing playlists into Excel
Ask iLounge offers readers the opportunity to get answers to their iPod-, iPhone-, iPad-, iTunes-, or Apple TV-related questions from a member of the iLounge editorial team. We'll answer several questions here each week, and of course, you can always get help with more immediate concerns from the iLounge Discussion Forums. Submit your questions for consideration using our Ask iLounge Submit Form. We reserve the right to edit questions for grammar, spelling, and length.
Q: I like to keep everything backed up on an external hard drive, but I haven’t seen a way to do this for playlists. I want to keep the playlists themselves (some are of sentimental value, e.g. from our wedding) but don’t want the actual tunes - they can stay in the library. Does iTunes store playlists in a file format anywhere on the hard disk, so I can back them up?
Alternatively, is there a simple way to export a playlist, for example to an Excel spreadsheet or database format? This may also help greatly in clearing up the clutter in my iTunes “Source” column, which is currently full of old playlists that I want to keep for future reference.
A: There are several ways to do what you want. Take your pick:
- As long as you’re backing up the iTunes Music Library files (in the “iTunes” folder you have selected), you’re backing up all playlists as well. Keep this intact, and you can restore this file along with your music in the event of library loss. Check out our Complete Guide to Backing up iPod & iTunes Music
- To export a simple tab-separated text file of a playlist containing all the metadata you could ever want (track name, artist, album, filename, rating, playcount, etc.), simply right click (PC) or control-click (Mac) on the playlist name and select “Export Song List…”. This will write the file to the location of your choosing. Because this is a tab-separated file, you can easily import it into Excel.
- Want to go straight to Excel without the intermediate file? Simply open a playlist in iTunes, select Edit—> Select All from the menu, and select Edit—> Copy. Then open Excel and “Paste” your data in. This is often more convenient, as you’ll only be copying the columns shown in iTunes, which are likely the ones you’d like to archive.
- Will removing a credit card from Safari also remove it from Apple Pay?
- Can I mute Handoff calls coming into my Mac from my iPhone?
- How do I keep my iPhone calls from ringing on my Mac?
- Why doesn’t Traffic show up on my Today Notifications Screen?
- Why doesn’t my iPhone reconnect to Wi-Fi after I turn it on?
- Why can’t I see the iPad-style landscape view on my iPhone 6 Plus?
- Walgreens adds digital coupons to Apple Pay
- China orders Apple and others to monitor, report on app users
- South Korea regulators investigating Apple
- Apple Q3 earnings call set for July 26
- Apple’s UK tax bill under scrutiny
- Apple lays out ‘differential privacy’ plan for data collection
- Report: New iPhone’s space gray to be ‘much darker color’
- Incipio to acquire Skullcandy
- Apple confirms iOS 10 kernel was left open to improve performance
- Apple leaves iOS 10 kernel open to scrutiny
- Philips Hue White Ambience Starter Kit
- Naim Audio Mu-so Qb Speaker
- Phiaton BT 460 Wireless Bluetooth Headphones
- Zagg Slim Book for 9.7” iPad Pro
- Element Case Ronin for iPhone 6/6s
- JBL Clip 2 Wireless Bluetooth Speaker
- Audio-Technica ATH-SR5BT Wireless On-Ear Headphones
- Catalyst Case for iPad mini 4
- Jaybird Freedom Wireless Bluetooth Headphones
- Zagg Flex Arc Wireless Earbuds + Speakers
- Inside the betas: iOS 10 Photos gets Advanced Computer Vision
- Inside the betas: iOS 10 Music app delivers ‘clarity and simplicity’
- Inside the betas: iOS 10 Maps gets a major redesign
- Inside the betas: iOS 10 shakes up the user experience
- Inside the betas: watchOS 3 promises a real speed boost
- Inside the betas: A sneak peek at what’s new in tvOS 10
- Filling the Gap: A look at third-party HomeKit apps
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of tvOS 9.2
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of iOS 9.3
- Opinion: Why Apple needs a dedicated HomeKit app