How to make your MP3 CD play in the order you want

You can usually drop an MP3 playlist file in portable MP3 players, which specifies the order you want.  But basic MP3 CD players such as those found in car stereos usually do not support MP3 playlists.

The second option is adding ID3 tags to the MP3 files, with each ID3 tag displaying the track number. The best freeware utility for adding ID3 tags is tag-mp3-saito (Windows only) which can allow you to make use of the advanced table features of Microsoft Excel.  The display of ID3 tag information such as artist, album, filename and track number is supported by almost all MP3 players. But again, basic MP3 CD players are usually not equipped with the algorithms to obtain playback information from the tags.

A known issue relates to MP3 files being played in the order that they were copied. But this pertains to USB based MP3 players, and not MP3 CDs.

The last resort is renaming or prefixing your MP3 files numerically, and expecting them to play in ascending order.  Renaming or prefixing them alphabetically will also work. MP3 files in basic MP3 CD players are played alphabetically, unless overridden by having a numeric name or prefix. But having them renamed or prefixed alphabetically can be confusing.

The best freeware utility for bulk renaming your MP3 files is the Bulk Rename Utility (Windows only). In the case of MP3 CD players, your files may play in order as long as they are less then ten. For example, 9 files will play in the following order:


But if your files are 10, you will find your MP3s being played in the following order:


Or if you exceed 10 files, let’s say you have 20 files, will find your MP3s being played in the following order:


This can be corrected by using the Bulk Rename Utility to prefix the MP3 filenames. First check how many total files you have. If suppose you have 300 files, change the filenames or filename prefixes from

1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13,14,15,16,17,18,19,20…….98, 99,100,101,102,103……300


001, 002, 003, 004, 005, 006, 007, 008, 009, 010, 011, 012, 013, 014, 015, 016, 017, 018, 019, 020…..098, 099, 100, 101, 102, 103…..300

Note that you can quit renaming or prefixing after reaching 100. If suppose you have a 1000 files, you would be prefixing the above as:

0001, 0002, 0003, 0004, 0005, 0006, 0007, 0008, 0009, 0010, 0011, 0012, 0013, 0014, 0015, 0016, 0017, 0018, 0019, 0020…..0098, 0099, 0100, 0101, 0102, 0103…..0998, 0999, 1000

Similarly, if you have less than 100 files, you would be prefixing them as:


Thanks to the Roxio Support Community for the tip.


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5 Responses

  1. Owen R says:

    I’ve never used “Bulk Rename Utility”, but I suspect mp3 tag is better for dealing with both id3 tags and filenames.

    People on their forums tend to be really fast and helpful, too.

  2. john says:

    You could use a tool like plgen (, arrange the files in any order you want.

  3. SAM says:

    THANKS !!!!! 😀

  4. vasudevan says:

    I would like to share my experience. i was using a pen drive to play songs on a bluetooth speaker where i encountered two songs playing out of the sequence of 30 songs. i solved this problem by creating separate folders. for eg, i had problem of two songs playing out of the sequence. then i put them in a separate folder and named the folders 01 and 02 and the problem was solved. earlier i made several attempts by renaming with prefix 001,002 etc.. which could not solve the issue.,

  5. Frank Beachem says:

    Solution: Here’s what works for me….

    Sorting MP3s on CD

    Get a good CD-R (Staples okay)

    Put songs in desktop folder in order as you want

    Rename song (main file name) to 001+ (Whatever else you want)

    Rename next song title to 002+ (Whatever else you want)

    Right click on each song, go all the way down to properties and click

    In Properties, on “General” tab, make sure song title is listed the same at top.

    Then, go to “Details” tab and go down to “Title” (root file name)

    Click on “Title” and name the song just like you did previously (001+ etc.)
    Optional, you can also drop down to Unknown Artist and Unknown Album, and add values there

    When done, click OK. Then, go to next song in your folder and do the same.

    When completed with full list of songs, prepare for CD burning.
    Format CD-R first.

    KEY STEP: Copy (click and drag) song number 1 to separate window onto your DVD disk. Let it fully transfer.
    Wait for about 10 seconds after transfer appears complete.

    Go tn second song in folder, and copy to the DVD just like the first; again, wait for full transfer and count 10 second further delay.

    After copying all songs, DVD should automatically burn the CD. If not, click to Burn songs.

    After all is done, click eject CD from DVD (if it hasn’t triggered a burn yet, this should do it_.

    When CD ejects it should now be ready to play in your CD player, in the order you wanted it.

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