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Tips on How You Can Read a Text File in Python 

Learning how to read a text file in Python is one of several tasks that a Python programmer must be able to perform. There are built-in functions in Python. And you can use them to generate, write, and read files.

In Python, there are various methods for reading text files. Explore to learn more.

Understanding How to Read a Text File in Python

In Python, it is either you are working with a file categorized as text or binary. Text files appear as a sequence of lines that includes a sequence of characters.

Because of a certain character with an ASCII value of 26, text files contain information that is simple to understand. On the other hand, encrypted data known as binary files are difficult for humans to comprehend. Furthermore, every bit of data would occupy the same amount of space on disks as it would in memory.

The open() function is crucial for working with files in Python. Filename and mode are the two parameters required by this function. When opening a file, there are four possible options:

  • The “w” file mode signifies that you wish to add a file for writing and create the file if it doesn’t already exist.
  • When the value is “r,” you anticipate the function to open a file for reading; if the file doesn’t exist, an error occurs.
  • When you include “a,” it opens a file, adds files to those that already exist, and creates a new file if one doesn’t already exist.
  • When you add “x,” you’re going to create the specified file, and if that file already exists, an error is returned.

Tips on How to Read a Text File in Python 

If you want to read a text file in Python, the Python open() function can make the process simpler. 

open(“enter the name of the file here”, “enter the mode”)

Note: you can enter just the filename if the text file and your current file are in the same directory (“folder”). If it is not, then reference the file name in the open() function.

An example showing how to read a text file in Python.

f = open("samplefile.txt", "r")
print(f.read())

You must specify the file path if you want to open a file at a different location. For example;

f = open("D:\\myfiles\sample.txt", "r")
print(f.read())

Read Lines

You can use the readline() function to read a text in Python line by line.

f = open("demofile.txt", "r")
print(f.readline())

Then again, you can read certain sections of this file by specifying the desired character count because the read() method returns the entire content.

Example 1:

Return the 10 first characters of the file:

f = open("sample.txt", "r")
print(f.read(10))

Example 2:

files_base = open("myfile.txt","w")

Nitro = ["I am presently in India","It is my first time visiting this wonderful country \n","The environment is exceptional \n"] 

files_base.write("Hello \n")
files_base.writelines(Nitro)

files_base.close() #to change file access modes


files_base = open("myfile.txt","r+") 


print("*********")

print(files_base.read())

print()

How to Read a Text File in Python Using a For Loop

If you plan to read through a file line by line until you access the whole file, then include a for loop in your code.

f = open("sample.txt", "r")
for x in f:
  print(x)

Note: Text files are used to store data in a more readable format while binary files, which are more compact formats, are used to store data. When you insert a special character with an ASCII value of 26 after the last character, it signifies the conclusion of the text file. Such a character doesn’t exist in the binary file.

Again, it is important to know that every time you use the open() function, the file will remain open until you close it. And to close a file in Python, use the close() function. When you fail to close a file in Python, you might be endangering the codes in progress as they might not compile appropriately or crash.

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