Display Styled Directory Contents

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Chris Coyier on (Updated on )

Servers can be configured to show the contents of a directory that doesn’t have an index file to render. The result is usually less than visually spectacular:

Lackluster default in Chrome
More better, View Demo

We can take control of this ourselves by replicating this functionality with PHP.

  1. Make an index file (.index.php, starting with the dot, really) which reads the files in the directory and outputs them into a table
  2. Make an .htaccess file that serves that file as the index
  3. Have the index file load in CSS and other resources that are also prefixed with a dot (hidden)

The following PHP reads the directory of files and displays a styled table of their name, file type, and file size. It also applies a class name in which to apply icons for the different major file types (see CSS).

<!doctype html>

  <meta charset="UTF-8">
  <title>Directory Contents</title>
  <link rel="stylesheet" href=".style.css">
  <script src=".sorttable.js"></script>


  <div id="container">
    <h1>Directory Contents</h1>
    <table class="sortable">
          <th>Size <small>(bytes)</small></th>
          <th>Date Modified</th>
        // Opens directory
        // Gets each entry
        while($entryName=readdir($myDirectory)) {
        // Finds extensions of files
        function findexts ($filename) {
          $exts=split("[/\\.]", $filename);
          return $exts;
        // Closes directory
        // Counts elements in array
        // Sorts files
        // Loops through the array of files
        for($index=0; $index < $indexCount; $index++) {
          // Allows ./?hidden to show hidden files
          if(substr("$dirArray[$index]", 0, 1) != $hide) {
          // Gets File Names
          // Gets Extensions 
          // Gets file size 
          // Gets Date Modified Data
          $modtime=date("M j Y g:i A", filemtime($dirArray[$index]));
          $timekey=date("YmdHis", filemtime($dirArray[$index]));
          // Prettifies File Types, add more to suit your needs.
          switch ($extn){
            case "png": $extn="PNG Image"; break;
            case "jpg": $extn="JPEG Image"; break;
            case "svg": $extn="SVG Image"; break;
            case "gif": $extn="GIF Image"; break;
            case "ico": $extn="Windows Icon"; break;
            case "txt": $extn="Text File"; break;
            case "log": $extn="Log File"; break;
            case "htm": $extn="HTML File"; break;
            case "php": $extn="PHP Script"; break;
            case "js": $extn="Javascript"; break;
            case "css": $extn="Stylesheet"; break;
            case "pdf": $extn="PDF Document"; break;
            case "zip": $extn="ZIP Archive"; break;
            case "bak": $extn="Backup File"; break;
            default: $extn=strtoupper($extn)." File"; break;
          // Separates directories
          if(is_dir($dirArray[$index])) {
          } else {
          // Cleans up . and .. directories 
          if($name=="."){$name=". (Current Directory)"; $extn="&lt;System Dir&gt;";}
          if($name==".."){$name=".. (Parent Directory)"; $extn="&lt;System Dir&gt;";}
          // Print 'em
          <tr class='$class'>
            <td><a href='./$namehref'>$name</a></td>
            <td><a href='./$namehref'>$extn</a></td>
            <td><a href='./$namehref'>$size</a></td>
            <td sorttable_customkey='$timekey'><a href='./$namehref'>$modtime</a></td>
    <h2><?php print("<a href='$ahref'>$atext hidden files</a>"); ?></h2>


The resources loaded in that index file are the top-in table sorter script sortable.js and a .style.css file. (Remember, prefacing the files with a dot makes the invisible in most operating systems, and also won’t show up in your directory of files (good)). Here’s that CSS:

* {

body {
  color: #333;
  font: 14px Sans-Serif;
  padding: 50px;
  background: #eee;

h1 {
  text-align: center;
  padding: 20px 0 12px 0;
  margin: 0;

h2 {
  font-size: 16px;
  text-align: center;
  padding: 0 0 12px 0; 

#container {
  box-shadow: 0 5px 10px -5px rgba(0,0,0,0.5);
  position: relative;
  background: white; 

table {
  background-color: #F3F3F3;
  border-collapse: collapse;
  width: 100%;
  margin: 15px 0;

th {
  background-color: #FE4902;
  color: #FFF;
  cursor: pointer;
  padding: 5px 10px;

th small {
  font-size: 9px; 

td, th {
  text-align: left;

a {
  text-decoration: none;

td a {
  color: #663300;
  display: block;
  padding: 5px 10px;

th a {
  padding-left: 0

td:first-of-type a {
  background: url(./.images/file.png) no-repeat 10px 50%;
  padding-left: 35px;

th:first-of-type {
  padding-left: 35px;

td:not(:first-of-type) a {
  background-image: none !important;

tr:nth-of-type(odd) {
  background-color: #E6E6E6;

tr:hover td {

tr:hover td a {
  color: #000;

/* icons for file types (icons by famfamfam) */

/* images */
table tr td:first-of-type a[href$=".jpg"], 
table tr td:first-of-type a[href$=".png"], 
table tr td:first-of-type a[href$=".gif"], 
table tr td:first-of-type a[href$=".svg"], 
table tr td:first-of-type a[href$=".jpeg"] {
  background-image: url(./.images/image.png);

/* zips */
table tr td:first-of-type a[href$=".zip"] {
  background-image: url(./.images/zip.png);

/* css */
table tr td:first-of-type a[href$=".css"] {
  background-image: url(./.images/css.png);

/* docs */
table tr td:first-of-type a[href$=".doc"],
table tr td:first-of-type a[href$=".docx"],
table tr td:first-of-type a[href$=".ppt"],
table tr td:first-of-type a[href$=".pptx"],
table tr td:first-of-type a[href$=".pps"],
table tr td:first-of-type a[href$=".ppsx"],
table tr td:first-of-type a[href$=".xls"],
table tr td:first-of-type a[href$=".xlsx"] {
  background-image: url(./.images/office.png)

/* videos */
table tr td:first-of-type a[href$=".avi"], 
table tr td:first-of-type a[href$=".wmv"], 
table tr td:first-of-type a[href$=".mp4"], 
table tr td:first-of-type a[href$=".mov"], 
table tr td:first-of-type a[href$=".m4a"] {
  background-image: url(./.images/video.png);

/* audio */
table tr td:first-of-type a[href$=".mp3"], 
table tr td:first-of-type a[href$=".ogg"], 
table tr td:first-of-type a[href$=".aac"], 
table tr td:first-of-type a[href$=".wma"] {
  background-image: url(./.images/audio.png);

/* web pages */
table tr td:first-of-type a[href$=".html"],
table tr td:first-of-type a[href$=".htm"],
table tr td:first-of-type a[href$=".xml"] {
  background-image: url(./.images/xml.png);

table tr td:first-of-type a[href$=".php"] {
  background-image: url(./.images/php.png);

table tr td:first-of-type a[href$=".js"] {
  background-image: url(./.images/script.png);

/* directories */
table tr.dir td:first-of-type a {
  background-image: url(./.images/folder.png);

View Demo   Download Files

REMEMBER: The .zip file might appear to be empty, but it’s not. The files are all prefaced with a dot. View them in a file editor which shows you “hidden” files.

Special thanks to Cliff White.

Update November 2012: The demo and downloadable files have been updated to (1) show more human readable file sizes (2) have error pages