After purchasing my Sansa Clip (great form factor), I spent countless hours trying to get playlists and podcasts to work properly. Unfortunately the Clip, for all it’s tiny brilliance, doesn’t have folder based browsing. This makes file navigation a royal pain - especially for podcasts. You’ll find plenty of Tagheads who are happy to browse by album, artist or genre - happy to scold everyone who doesn’t have their tags in order - and happy to suggest complex workarounds that shouldn’t be necessary. It’s ridiculous for example to expect people to fart around with tag information every time new podcasts are downloaded.
So the only way to make the Clip podcast friendly is to use playlists. This is also a very confusing subject judging by the number of questions on the forums. The following is what I suggest Sandisk should include with the sale of each new Clip, recognizing that many who buy one aren’t necessarily very computer savvy.
CREATING PLAYLISTS FOR PODCASTS, MUSIC AND AUDIOBOOKS
In the Clips’ Main menu, go into settings and scroll down til you find USB Mode.
Make sure it’s in Auto Detect.
Plug in the USB cable to your computer and find the player in Explorer (Start, My Computer, Sansa Clip). Click “Internal Memory” to get to the Clips’ folders. We’ll call this the Clip Explorer. If you want to create a podcast playlist, open the Podcast folder and by selecting File, New Folder, create and name it whatever you want. If you want your podcasts organized into two or three categories, just create more folders. Do the same for Music and/or Audiobooks.
Leave it open and using Explorer again (Start, My Computer), find the files or folders you want to copy onto the Clip. We’ll call this the Computer File Explorer. It’s easier if you put your mp3 files in a folder in the Computer File Explorer first. Then you can just copy those music, podcast or audiobook folders to the appropriate folder on the Clip (copy and paste).
What we have done thus far _ does not _ create playlists. It merely puts all files into a big jumble on the player where they can only be accessed by tags in categories such as Artists, Albums and Genre. In order to create a list that will play in sequence, we have to create a .pla file (a playlist from those files on the player). Go back to the Clip Explorer, open a folder (Podcasts for example), select one of your created folders with a Right Click, and then select “Create Playlist” from the drop down menu. At the bottom you’ll see “New Playlist.pla” flashing. Now you just name it again whatever you want to and you’re done. Get out of Explorer and unplug the USB cord. Whenever you open up the Clip Explorer on your computer again, you’ll find that .pla file in the same folder. If you want to rearrange the order of that playlist, just double click the .pla file and use the arrows at the bottom of the pop-up window.
The confusing category in the Clip Explorer is Playlists. This is simply a place where you can drag and drop (or cut and paste) your .pla playlist files and see them all in one place in the Clip Explorer. You don’t need to put them there. You can just leave them in the Music, Podcast or Audiobook folders and they’ll still show up as playlists on the player, but if you have a lot of playlists, it is convenient to be able to see them all in one place.
Now we’ll start the Clip and browse to Music, and then Playlists. Voila. There they are. Now when you play a podcast from your podcast playlist, you’ll see for example 03/21 meaning number 3 of 21 total in that playlist. They’ll play in order and you can skip back and forth. You’ll notice that if you go into the main Podcast or Audiobook folder instead of your created folders under Playlists, you can only play one file at a time - so remember to access your lists from the Playlist folder.
That was a detailed explanation for those without much computer experience. A much more succinct version can be found in a post by DG at:
Connect the MP3 player with the USB connector
Go to My Computer and open Sansa Clip folder
Go to the Music Folder
In the Music Folder, right click and make a New Folder and name it.
Copy and paste all the songs you want to be in a playlist into the New Folder.
Right click the New Folder with the songs you just dropped in and click on Make Playlist
Name the Playlist
Disconnect the MP3 player
Hope that relieves a few headaches.