How to create an iTunes album list

iTunes FAQ: How can I create a list of iTunes album names (a unique list of all iTunes album names)?

When I listen to iTunes, I often like to listen to a complete album at one time, rather than a mix of songs from different albums. I especially like to do this when I'm working, because the music and volume level is consistent. It's always surprised me that Apple doesn't provide a simple iTunes album list view, where you can see all your albums, then click a button to listen to one album or another.

Finally getting tired of this situation last night, I dug into the problem and found at least two possible ways to create an iTunes album list. In this first article I'll show you the easy way to create a list of iTunes albums — though I'm not thrilled with this approach — and in a followup article I hope to demonstrate what I think it a much better approach (that's going to take more work on my part).

How to create an iTunes album list using iTunes

In this first approach I'll demonstrate how to create a list of iTunes albums in a PDF format. These steps work on a Mac OS X computer (iMac, MacBook, etc.); I don't know if they work on Windows, as I don't have a Windows computer at the moment.

Here are the steps:

1) Start iTunes.

2) On the left side of iTunes, select the library you want to print, presumably the Music library.

3) Click File, then Print (or use the [Command][p] keystroke).

4) Click the "Album listing" radio button.

5) Select the "List of albums" theme. The dialog should look like this:

iTunes album list - The first print screen (list of albums)

6) Click Print.

7) On the next Print dialog, click the PDF drop-down box (in the lower-left of that dialog).

8) Click "Save as PDF", like this:

iTunes list album names - Print, Save as PDF

9) Save the file wherever you want to, with whatever name you want to give it. (Click the "flippy triangle" button to the right of the "Save As" field to chose a different destination directory.)

On my iMac with about 4,000 songs, this results in a ten-page PDF document, with entries that look like this:

iTunes album list - Album names and artists

iTunes album names list - Discussion

As you can see, this does generate a list of iTunes album names, but it's not exactly what I was hoping for. I just want a list of sorted, unique album names from my iTunes music collection. Also, I don't necessarily want this in a PDF format, I think there's a better way.

That's why I kept digging and found what I think is a much better approach to the problem of creating a list of unique iTunes album names. I'll share that approach just as soon as I can get it out here.