To open a file, use this general form:
The path name of the file to be opened, as a string.
An optional string specifying what you plan to do with the file. If omitted, you will get read access to the file. In general the value consists of three parts:
General mode, one of:
|Read access. The file must already exist. You will not be allowed to write to it.|
Write access. If there is no file by this name, a new one will be created.
If there is an existing file, it will be deleted!
|Append access. If there is a file by this name, your initial position will be at the end of the file, and you will be allowed to write (and read). If there is no file by this name, a new one will be created. On some systems, all writes to a file with append mode are added at the end of the file, regardless of the current file position.|
If you plan to modify the file, append a “
For example, mode “
puts you at the beginning of an existing file and
allows you to write to the file anywhere.
w+” is the same as
w”: it deletes an
existing file if there is any, then creates a new file
and gives you write access.
a+” allows you to
write new data at the end of an existing file; if no
file by this name exists, it will create a new one.
If you are handling binary data, as opposed to lines
of text, add “
b” at the
end of the
For modes beginning with
may append a capital
request universal newline treatment. This is
handy when you are reading files made on a
platform with different line termination
When reading lines from a file opened in this
way, any line terminator (
will appear in the return value as the standard
'\n'. Also, files so opened will
have an attribute named
this attribute will be
initially, but after any line terminators have
been read, it will be a tuple containing all the
different line terminator strings seen so far.
Buffer size: this affects when physical device writes are done, compared to write operations that your program performs.
In most cases you will probably want to omit this argument. The default is to use line buffering for terminal-type devices, or some system default for other devices.
0 to force unbuffered operation.
This may be inefficient, but any file writes are
1 for line buffering: output lines
are written whenever you write a line terminator such
Use larger values to specify the actual size of the buffer.
Use a negative value to request the system defaults.
If you are reading text files, and you don't want to worry about
the variety of line termination protocols, you may use a
U” for “universal line
terminator mode.” In this mode, input lines may be
terminated with either carriage return (
'\n'), or both, but the lines you
receive will always be terminated with a single newline.
(Exception: If the last line is unterminated, the string you get
will also be unterminated.)
There are a number of potential error conditions. For modes
starting with “
r”, the file must
exist before you open it. Also, you must have access according
to the underlying operating system. For example, in Linux
environments, you must have read access to read a file, and you
must have write access to modify or delete a file. These sorts
of failures will raise an
A file is its own iterator (see Section 24.2, “Iterators: Values that can produce a sequence of
Hence, if you have a file
inFile opened for
reading, you can use a
for loop that looks like
this to iterate over the lines of the file:
for line in inFile: ...
line will be set to each line of the
file in turn. The line terminator character (if any) will be
present in that string.
Other aspects of files:
Every open file has a current
position. Initially, this will
0L if you opened it for reading or writing, or the size of
the file if you opened it with append access. Each write or
read operation moves this position by the amount read or
written. You can also query or set the file position; see
Section 17.1, “Methods on
Files may use a technique called buffering. Because physical access to some storage media (such as disk drives) takes a relatively long time, Python may employ a storage area called a buffer as a holding area for data being input or output.
For example, if you are writing data to a disk file, Python
may keep the data in the file's buffer area until the buffer
is full and only then actually write it to the physical
disk. There are various techniques for controlling this
behavior; see Section 17.1, “Methods on