Printing CD Covers and Lists in iTunes | iLounge Article


Printing CD Covers and Lists in iTunes

Apple’s recent updates to iTunes (versions 4.5 and 4.6) offer users many exciting new features including the ability to print CD covers and track or album lists, the importing and converting of WMA audio files (Windows only), an all-new play queue feature called “Party Shuffle,” the sharing of “iMixes” on the Music Store, and last but certainly not least:  streaming audio to a remote set of speakers using an Apple Airport Express with AirTunes technology.  These new features will become the subjects of our next installments of our of “iPod 101” iTunes training series.

This week, we continue iPod 101 with a tutorial entitled “Printing CD Covers and Lists in iTunes.”  Thanks to iTunes and iLounge, you’ll soon be printing professional-looking covers for your CD backups and custom mixes, and archiving a listing of your tracks or albums… Enjoy!

Apple offers three main options for printing information from iTunes:  CD Jewel Case Insert, Song Listing, and Album Listing.  In each of these three options, there are various templates that allow the user to customize, to some degree, the organization and look of the final product.


We’ll review each of these methods individually, but only after mentioning an important item common to all three:

Regardless of what print method you choose, the subject of your printed material is the entire contents of whatever is selected in the Source column on the left side of your iTunes window.  Essentially, you’ll either be printing the information from your entire library if it is selected as the “Source,” or the entire contents of your currently active playlist.  Unlike prior iTunes functions that we have reviewed here (Album Art, Tagging), printing will not operate on a selected subset of tracks… only entire “Source” listings.  Therefore, if you’d like to print information only on a few tracks, you’ll still have to make a new playlist or smart playlist to contain them.  Once you’ve have this down, continue on to the detail below!

CD Jewel Case Covers:

This is the option most users will use most frequently.  Have you ever burned a (backup?) copy of one of your CDs or a CD you’ve purchased from the music store, only to turn your nose up at the bland paper sleeve you slide it into for storage?  No longer do you need to… iTunes creates great-looking two-sided inserts for the front of your jewel case for you in about 3 to 5 mouse clicks.  Sorry, no back-of-the-jewel-case insert or CD sticker.  Apple… Are you listening?!

  1. To begin, select a playlist.  (The library works, too… but for practical purposes, you’ll be using this option with a playlist belonging to a CD you’ve just burned).
  2. Select File—>Print… from the main menu atop iTunes (PC) or the screen (Mac)
  3. Select CD Jewel Case Inserts
  4. Select your Theme.  “Mosaic” is shown below.
  5. Hit Print, and you’re done!

The “Mosaic” theme is by far the coolest, most popular, and easiest cover setting to use, so I’ll discuss it specifically here.  Feel free to explore the others on your own (Apple’s descriptions are easy to follow).

Mosaic is neat because it works great for both “regular” CDs and Compilations.  When printing a “regular” CD, Mosaic prints the Album Art (explained previously) embedded in the tracks on the front, and fades it as a background image for the track listing on the back.  The result is a nice-looking two-sided insert.  For compilations and custom mixes, it gets even cooler:  Mosaic creates a… mosaic (!) of all the various album art contained in the playlist.  The result here is incredibly nice—See the examples below:


Mosaic Mode with 1 CD

Mosaic Mode with many CDs

Explore, experiment, and have fun!  iTunes’ jewel case inserts really put a fun, professional finish to the “Rip, Mix, Burn” process.

  • Tip:  Print your CD covers onto card stock or photo paper for better-looking, longer-lasting jewel case inserts.

    Song and Album Listings:

    “Song Lists” and “Album Lists” are essentially self-explanatory.  Song Lists provide a nicely-formatted (customizable) listing of your tracks, artists, ratings, playcounts, etc.  Album Lists print out a listing of your albums (with album art!! See photo below) and the tracks contined within.  (I’ll spill my largest complaint with this setting up front:  “Album Lists” do not group compilations, giving this method potential to become messy).

    These two features will be used far less by the average user than CD covers.  Nevertheless, they are quite useful in certain situations.  I use a comprehensive Song List each time I backup my Library to DVD-R, and place it in the binder next to that backup as a record of what’s there.  Perhaps you’d like to print off a playlist or your Library to show to your friends, or save it as a PDF to post on your website.  Regardless, here’s how they’re created:

    1. To begin, select your library or a playlist you’d like to print.
    2. Select File—>Print… from the main menu atop iTunes (PC) or the screen (Mac)
    3. Select either Song List or Album List.  A preview is displayed to the right.
    4. Select your Theme (Song List only).  Here, you’ll be able to customize the information that is put into your printout.  All of the options are easy enough to understand, and I therefore won’t go through them individually, although “Custom” is noteworthy:  It will mirror the columns that you have currently displayed in your iTunes window.
    5. Hit Print, and you’re done!

    What emerges from the printer?  A rather beautifully-formatted listing generated in seconds.  Hooray!  Here are two examples:


    Song Listing


    Album Listing


    iLounge would like to wish you fun in exploring iTunes’ printing features further, and welcome you back for next week’s iPod 101 feature… See you soon!

    Jerrod H. is a Forum Administrator and Contributing Editor for iLounge.

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    The printing stuff is one of the very coolest—and least-mentioned—things in iTunes. And if you print to PDF you can import into Freehand (or whatever) and it’s all editable, even the text.

    One neat thing Apple did… Depending on the number of images in the mosaic, one may have to be larger than the rest to make it all fit. How does iTunes pick which cover to show larger than the rest? The one with the most songs on the disc. Simple and clever (like most of iTunes).

    Posted by Nagromme on August 17, 2004 at 3:20 AM (CDT)


    In Media Center, you can export some or all of the Media Library contents as XML, or use transforms to render it into HTML on the fly (very useful for creating custom playback screens!). Or you can access the Media Library database directly with database connections and pull out some or all of the information yourself.

    So you can go the simple route, ala iTunes, or you can tweak it as much as you want. Like most of Media Center. It’s nice, though, that freeware like iTunes does have some reasonably flexible output options.

    Posted by XML on August 17, 2004 at 7:30 AM (CDT)


    The one thing that is sorely missing is the ability to print back spines. I can’t burn a cd, print out an insert and then put it into my collection if I can’t read the spine in the vastness of my cd tower.

    Posted by Jad on August 17, 2004 at 8:23 AM (CDT)


    I had no idea this stuff was on Itunes. This is such a cool little feature. I’ve always wanted a cheap and efficient way to print my CD covers, this is now it. The mosaic feature is also great. The cataloguing options also could be useful. Thank you iPodlounge for yet again teaching me something I didn’t know.

    Posted by Jeff C. on August 17, 2004 at 8:41 AM (CDT)


    Despite the fact that itunes does not print out the back and spines of cds, there is an answer to the calling. There is a apple script studio for itunes, which can print both the front and back, plus the spine, i think. But, i haven’t tried it out yet, so if someone does just post up how it worked (or didn’t work.)

    Posted by M Bargo in Chicago, IL on August 17, 2004 at 10:00 AM (CDT)


    how do you print to a PDF or other file? I’ve tried a few things, but I think I’m doing something wrong. Could you please explain all the steps? Thanks!!

    Posted by Jaosn on August 17, 2004 at 10:07 AM (CDT)



    In MacOS X, you’ll just select “Save to PDF…” from the Print dialog window.

    In Windows, you’ll need a PDF distiller like Acrobat Professional, or a free option like CutePDF—-

    Posted by Jerrod H. in TX on August 17, 2004 at 11:13 AM (CDT)


    ok, thanks a bundle!

    Posted by Jaosn on August 17, 2004 at 11:21 AM (CDT)


    Anyone know how to decrease the font size on the song list in the mosiac printouts?  I lose the band name on many of my songs with long titles.

    Posted by pkrug on August 18, 2004 at 8:55 PM (CDT)


    Even more important to me would be to print the CD labels themselves. Is that funcionality in iTunes/planned?
    Any other software recommended in that matter?

    Posted by Tuben on August 19, 2004 at 3:13 AM (CDT)


    arg! how dumb of me, I spelt my name wrong! lol

    Posted by Jason on August 19, 2004 at 7:40 PM (CDT)


    I am looking for an answer to this question:  Can I use ipod to store mp2 files, which includes 44, 8 hour tapes of shift work (individuals in dialogue)?  Can I convert my mp2’s to wav and then use an ipod? 
    I am not a computer wiz, and I need specific, concrete answers.  Does anyone have experience with using ipod for mp2’s?  I would appreciate any “simple” input.  Thanks, mk

    Posted by margaret on August 20, 2004 at 8:28 AM (CDT)



    The iPod can’t handle .mp2 files, but—- Luckily for you—- iTunes can.

    Add the mp2 files to your iTunes Library (drag them in, or use “Add to Library…”)

    Select all the files in iTunes

    Right Click (PC) or CTRL-Click (Mac) and choose “Convert to AAC” (Or Convert to MP3, or Convert to WAV)... you can change the filetype in iTunes—>Preferences—>Importing.

    iTunes will then proceed to convert your audio to one of the above iPod-compatible audio formats.

    Posted by Jerrod H. in TX on August 20, 2004 at 10:27 AM (CDT)


    Thanks for the VERY informative article.  Though I usually find these things out on my own, your article alerted me to a great feature within iTunes.

    Now, I have a lot of printing to do!  lol…


    Posted by Mxlplk on August 20, 2004 at 1:04 PM (CDT)


    Looks a lot like what this company does:

    Which looks a lot more consolidated, printing 200 albums took way too many pages.  Wonder what software they use?

    Posted by Jason on August 20, 2004 at 1:25 PM (CDT)


    its wicked i made one of these and it came out really good looking its awsome every one should do this for a more professional look when u burn cds !!!!

    hope every one have fun doing this

    Posted by roy on August 21, 2004 at 5:50 AM (CDT)


    Printing CD covers is a welcome addition to iTunes, but Apple definitely needs to tweek this some more; I don’t like the way it puts “Library” at the top of the tracks printed inside.  The only time it prints something different is if I make a specific playlist for someone else and it will then say “For Peter” or whatever…I’d like this area to be blank or else just have the CD’s title there if it is not a compilation that’s being burned.

    Posted by bjbear71 on August 21, 2004 at 5:21 PM (CDT)


    If you create a playlist with the CD name as the playlist title, you will not get “Library”, it will be Title/Name

    Posted by Mark Bradford2 in Just outside London, England on August 22, 2004 at 4:12 AM (CDT)


    Why would anyone with an iPod want to burn loads of CDs???  Seems a bit of a paradox. I bought the iPod so I could stop burning CDs!

    Posted by Giovanni on August 26, 2004 at 5:28 AM (CDT)


    I’m new to the Ipod…I bought a card for napster to start my library, and found out that it won’t download to my Ipod!!  I had to put in a file on my desktop, burn a CD, send to Itunes, and then download to my Ipod - WOW!  After checking out my work, the songs are entered as Track 1, Track 2, etc.  Now I have 23 songs with no title or information - how can I simplify this process and get the song info?  Thanks from a novice…

    Posted by CJ on August 26, 2004 at 8:56 AM (CDT)


    Wanna put your itunes Playlists on the web?  try this:

    Posted by skellener on August 27, 2004 at 9:37 AM (CDT)


    it would be great if iTunes would also allow us to use labels from avery or cd stomper. the reason i burn the cd’s is to archive them, if something happens then i have my backups:)

    Posted by deirdre on August 27, 2004 at 2:34 PM (CDT)


    My CD did not have the tutorial or the User Guide or MusicMatch. Apple will not explain but says Music Match no longer available. I found and downloaded the tutorial and the User Guide but they say “help” is available in MusicMatch. Any suggestions on all this? TIA John .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

    Posted by digital843 in Tampa Bay on August 27, 2004 at 2:46 PM (CDT)


    Hi all,

    I have a question in regards to the printing of CD covers in iTunes.  Currently I am printing the mosaic covers, and they look really great, but they always print too large to fit into a standard jewel case.  I always cut the CD cover around the printed edges, but then need to “trim it” even more to fit into a standard CD jewel case.  Any advice, or is that just how it works?


    Posted by Mike D on August 29, 2004 at 2:18 AM (CDT)


    This really is a nice feature, but I wish there was a way to control the fonts.  As a couple of people have noted, they’re too big, so info is lost.

    Posted by davepmiller on August 29, 2004 at 1:45 PM (CDT)


    hi, trying to use iTunes to create a wedding cd (some of our fav songs burned to cd, and given as a gift to our guests). I will have to burn about 60 cds.  I would like to create a custom cover and cd label - any recommendations on how to best do this with iTunes, other software, or even a 3rd party?



    Posted by Jaker on September 8, 2004 at 10:49 PM (CDT)


    most of my albums i have imported from my media player collection and they dont have the pictures on so they wont come out on the cd cases. is there anyway i can put the album picutres onto itunes?

    Posted by tom on September 9, 2004 at 6:22 AM (CDT)


    Any way to get itunes to print the jewel case insert to fit a dvd case?

    Posted by georgedamonkey on September 21, 2004 at 8:56 AM (CDT)


    CD is not shown in Source file in Windows?

    Posted by Jadd on September 27, 2004 at 2:37 PM (CDT)


    Hey i am 13 and i am thinking about getting a i pod i dont know my mom thinks i am too young am i ???

    Posted by Brittany on October 17, 2004 at 1:15 PM (CDT)


    RE: brittany
    of course your not too young! my sister is 10 and she has an i-pod! its just like a cd player..upgraded!

    Posted by lola on October 18, 2004 at 10:32 PM (CDT)


    Does anyone know if there is a program like “My Cover” for windows? It appears that it is Mac only…thanks

    Posted by MFnite on October 25, 2004 at 11:06 AM (CDT)


    But it _still_ cannot print DC labels.  That seems like a functionality that would not be any harder to implement than playlists, and it would be so incredibly useful to have.  I noticed no one responded to an earlier question about that.  Why doesn’t iTunes do DC labels?

    Posted by dcspacegirl on December 23, 2005 at 10:09 AM (CST)


    how do I edit the printing feature…I use printing more than any function…seems apple could make it better:  ie: whay can’t they adjust the font size to get long play lists on a standard cd insert with the picture? Duh?  But I would also like the be able to move the song lists to another program (ie word or something and add pictures or other typing.  Cannot figure out how to do this…thanks for any help…Jim

    Posted by surfless on January 17, 2007 at 9:04 AM (CST)


    I get an error mesesage when I try to print from a playlist (the printer works fine with other programs such as word). It says “printer not activated…error code -41”  It was working fine (and often) yesterday…I even tried to download the itunes software again to scrub the printing section and that did not work.  Help!!! I need this.

    Posted by surfless on January 17, 2007 at 9:07 AM (CST)


    I used to be able to print jewel case inserts with album art (mosaic)  with previous versions of itunes, but now with V7.3, it will only print the song list - no art!  I have imported the art into the album - jusst like I used to - ut no pictures!!! Any clues why?

    Posted by Carole Myers on July 13, 2008 at 7:46 AM (CDT)


    I have the same problem as Carol Meyers (36) also can you just pick one album cover art for a compilation rather than doing mosiac?  How?

    Posted by Ray Norris on August 25, 2008 at 12:48 AM (CDT)


    Is there a way in iTunes (or anywhere else) to print an image on the CD itself?  How is this done?

    Posted by berrett on September 30, 2008 at 11:08 PM (CDT)


    When trying to print a C.D. cover from iTunes (white mosaic) getting an error message.
    Message as follows;
    “iTunes has stopped working. Windows is checking for a solution to the problem.” & “A problem caused the program to stop working correctly. Windows will close the program and notify you if a solution is available.”
    I am using the latest version of iTunes ( I have printed covers successfully in the past (probably before the latest iTunes version was downloaded).
    Please can you help me to rectify this problem?
    Many thanks.

    Posted by STEVEN DAVIES on April 13, 2009 at 5:04 AM (CDT)


    i use to print some cool cd covers in itunes 8.1
    now with 8.2 it seems itunes wont let me print anything.any help with this..?

    Posted by jay on June 8, 2009 at 2:43 PM (CDT)


    As I’m new to this Itunes thing, I just uploaded one of my cd’s. I decided to print the jewel case insert and, guess what? The name of the disc is not on the SPINE!

    How can this be called a jewel case insert if there is not printing on the SPINE?

    No one stores their cd’s face-out, always sideways. What a pointless feature this jewel case printing is from I tunes. ugh ugh ugh

    Posted by FaireMaiden on August 23, 2009 at 9:04 PM (CDT)


    How can I turn off page numbering when I print a play list?

    Posted by Ray Youngblood on November 11, 2009 at 5:53 PM (CST)


    I’ve successfully made jewel case 2-sided covers (artwork and playlist) in the past, but now all I can get out is the playlist.  I think someone’s fiddled with the settings, but I can’t figure out how to fix the problem.  If anyone can help me, you’ll be my new best friend!

    Posted by Robert Howell on December 11, 2009 at 1:37 PM (CST)


    Whatever I try to print, the songs are listed in alphabetical order. This even occurs for a “Custom” print of “Song Listing” which is supposed to mirror the columms in the song list window. Any ideas what is wrong?

    Posted by Bratman91 on December 13, 2009 at 6:18 PM (CST)


    When I print my playlist song listing, the artist and record columns are reversed, ie it does not print out the same as visible in the playlist columns.  Any clues.  I;m on a MAC and have an HP printer.

    Posted by Eugene Swick on June 13, 2010 at 12:31 AM (CDT)


    I’m trying to import a cd into my itunes and it won’t do it. says itunes has stopped working. windows is checking for a solution to the problem. and a problem has caused the program to stop working correctly. Please help, I’m new to this. Thanks.

    Posted by brenda on November 16, 2010 at 5:01 PM (CST)


    I would like to print the song list from a certain artist (who has multiple albums)in alphabetical order. It shows up in ITunes main screen in order but when I ask it to print, the small screen shot is out of order and it will not print in order. How do I correct this?

    I would appreciate your help.


    Posted by Bill Konkle on February 28, 2011 at 9:31 PM (CST)


    I’ve recently finished a CD of original music.  Is it possible to create my own CD cover and insert?  If so, can someone tell me how?

    Posted by Kenny Sutton on March 9, 2011 at 9:20 AM (CST)


    thanks so much my album looks so cool now!!!

    Posted by Zach on April 2, 2011 at 7:34 PM (CDT)


    you mean a cover for a cd case you can just print it off and put in a empty cd case. But if you whant your cd to have a cover on it I think there is places where you can buy cds with an image on them.

    Posted by Responding to 48 on April 2, 2011 at 7:36 PM (CDT)


    Hi, It all sounds nice but how do i get this program onto my computer so that i can use it ? What do i have to install/download i do not see a link or i am missing the point here.

    Thanks, Frank.

    Posted by Frank on April 8, 2011 at 3:45 PM (CDT)


    thank you.

    Posted by jo on August 10, 2011 at 8:32 PM (CDT)


    i was just ready to print my cd jewel case list of songs but nothing printed. instead i got a fax box. i used to do it before with zero glitches! what happened?

    Posted by Orlando on March 24, 2012 at 1:30 AM (CDT)


    I did exactly what was stated above for printing the album cover with the artwork.  I wanted to print the album cover (which I have done before).  I picked Mosiac and it showed it in with the colored artwork, but only printed the titles to the songs, (no artwork).  Can you tell me what to do??

    Posted by Donna Rockney on April 25, 2012 at 2:48 PM (CDT)


    How come the play list was not in the numerical order that I created once the CD was burned? It just put the songs in a random order?

    Posted by Troy on May 22, 2012 at 9:01 PM (CDT)


    I installed the iTunes Update and now when I print out the case listing, all the titles are jumbled together and you can’t read them.  It’s like they are all over-printed on each other.  The pictures are fine.  This worked perfect in the prior version.  Anyone have any idea what might be wrong?  Thanks for any help.

    Posted by Dennis on December 4, 2012 at 9:43 AM (CST)


    Same problem as number 56. When I print out the case listing (tracks), all of the titles are jumbled together and you can’t read them. It’s like they are all over-printed on each other.

    Posted by Kirk Ross on December 8, 2012 at 2:53 PM (CST)


    When I print the jewel case the RHS album front is OK but the LHS they print on top of each other as though the line spacing reqires adjustment. Any ideas would be appreciated.

    Posted by Ian Beckett on December 16, 2012 at 12:36 PM (CST)


    THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!  I have spent hours trying to figure out why the cd cover was printing other songs instead of the songs on the cd I wanted.  You’re the first that pointed out the ‘source’ and adding the cd as it’s own playlist.  You earn a couple more stair steps to heaven for that tidbit of info :)

    Posted by Debbie on December 21, 2012 at 3:36 PM (CST)


    Hello - I printed off a CD jewel cae cover from iTunes a year or so ago.  I upgraded to the latest version for PC a fe wekks ago and now there are no print options and no “Top menu”.  Where is the option to print anything gone ?  Am I doing / have I done something monumenatlly stupid ?!
    Thanks !

    Posted by StevieB on January 29, 2013 at 2:26 PM (CST)


    Hi - ignore my last query - I WAS doing something incredibly stupid !! D’oh !.....

    Posted by StevieB on January 29, 2013 at 2:48 PM (CST)


    I have a question. Where is the option to print the album cover along with the track listings? I have the latest update of itunes. Thanks!

    Posted by DeShaun W. on March 7, 2013 at 1:41 PM (CST)


    having the same prblem as 56 57 & 58 Can anyone Please Help.Thanks

    Posted by Lindsay on March 31, 2013 at 10:05 PM (CDT)


    having the same prblem as 56 57 58, & 63 APPLE needs to fix this Help.Thanks This started with the last update to iTunes since I did not update my desktop and it still prints good. any ideas anyone? I even went to the apple store and spoke with a genius, no clue.

    Posted by Guy Seguin on May 17, 2013 at 10:08 PM (CDT)

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