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Reading a file in Python

Written by Rahul Lath

Python Tutorials

1Python Overview2Python Tutorial: A Comprehensive Guide for Beginners3Python Keywords and Identifiers4Download and Installation Guide for Python5Python Syntax (With Examples)6Python Comments7Python Variables (With Examples)8Taking Input in Python9Output in Python10File Handling in Python (Files I/O)11Python Operators (With Examples)12Ternary Operators in Python13Operator Overloading in Python14Division Operators in Python15Input from Console in Python16Output Formatting in Python17Any All in Python18Difference between Python Equality and Identity Operators19Python Membership and Identity Operators20Python Data Types21Python Dictionary22Control Flow in Python23Python Arrays24Looping Techniques in Python25Chaining Comparison Operators in Python26Python Functions27Python Strings28Python Numbers29Python Sets30Python For Loops31Python While Loops32Python Break Statement:33Python Continue Statement34Python pass Statement35Args and Kwargs in Python36Python Generators37Python Lambda38Global and Local Variables in Python39Global Keyword in Python40Python Closures41Python Decorators42Memoization using Decorators in Python43Constructors in Python44Encapsulation in Python45Inheritance in Python46Polymorphism in Python47Class Method vs Static Method in Python48Python Exception Handling49First Class Functions in Python50Python Classes And Objects51Errors and Exceptions in Python52Built-In Exceptions in Python53Append to file in Python54File Handling in Python55Destructors in Python56User-Defined Exceptions in Python57Class or Static Variable in Python58Python Tuples59Reading File in Python60Writing File in Python61Opening and Closing Files in Python62NZEC error in Python63Operator Function64Webscraper Python Beautifulsoup65Python Pyramid Patterns66Python Start Patterns67Web Crawler in Python68Build a Python Youtube Downloader69Currency Convertor in Python70Python Website Blocker
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What is File Handling in Python?

File handling is an important part of programming, and any programmer needs to know how to open, read, and write files in Python. A computer file is a collection of information that can be accessed, read, and modified with the help of a computer program.

Python’s in-built functions and methods make it easy to manage files effectively. This article will cover the basics of working with Python files, including opening, reading, and writing in a variety of modes.

Reading a File in Python

Once a file has been opened in Python, we can carry out a number of operations on it, including reading its contents. Python provides three methods for reading a file: read(), readline(), and readlines().

A. Using the read() method:

The read() method is used to read the entire content of a file or a specified number of characters.

Reading the entire file:

file = open("example.txt", "r") content = file.read() print(content) file.close()

In the above example, we first opened a file named “example.txt” in read-only mode using the open() function. Then we used the read() method to read the entire content of the file and store it in the content variable. Finally, we printed the content and closed the file using the close() method.

Reading a specific number of characters:

file = open("example.txt", "r") content = file.read(10) print(content) file.close()

In this example, we read the first 10 characters of the file by passing the argument 10 to the read() method.

B. Using the readline() method:

The readline() method is used to read a single line from a file.

Reading a single line:

file = open("example.txt", "r") line = file.readline() print(line) file.close()

In this example, we read the first line of the file by calling the readline() method.

Reading multiple lines:

file = open("example.txt", "r") lines = file.readlines() for line in lines: print(line) file.close()

In this example, we read all the lines of the file using the readlines() method, which returns a list of all the lines in the file. We then used a for loop to print each line.

C. Using the readlines() method:

The readlines() method is used to read all the lines of a file and store them in a list.

Reading all lines as a list:

file = open("example.txt", "r") lines = file.readlines() print(lines)

In this example, we read all the lines of the file using the readlines() method and stored them in the lines list.

Reading specific lines as a list:

file = open("example.txt", "r") lines = file.readlines()[1:3] print(lines) file.close()

In this example, we read specific lines of the file using the readlines() method and a slice of the list containing the lines we want to read.

In conclusion, the ability to open, read, and write files in Python is an essential one for all programmers. Python offers simple built-in functions and methods that make working with files productive. You can quickly change how a file’s contents are handled by using the open(), read(), readline(), and readlines() methods.

Best Practices

A. Proper file handling practices:

  • Before opening a file, make sure it already exists.
  • When working with files, use error handling to catch any exceptions that might happen.
  • Depending on the kind of operation you want to run, use the appropriate file modes. 

B. Best practices for maintaining code readability:

  • To make your code more understandable, give your variables and functions names that are descriptive.
  • Use comments to clarify difficult or crucial portions of your code.
  • To make your code easier to read and comprehend, divide it up into logical sections.

C. Pitfalls to avoid:

  • To prevent unintentionally overwriting or deleting data, always open a file in the proper mode.
  • When finished working with a file, always close it to prevent memory leaks and other problems.
  • When working with large files, exercise caution because reading or writing a lot of data can impact performance.

An essential skill for any programmer is the ability to open, read, and write files in Python. You can quickly change the contents of a file in a variety of ways by utilizing the built-in functions and methods offered by Python. To avoid common pitfalls and issues, it’s crucial to adhere to best practices for maintaining code readability and proper file handling procedures. You can master using files in Python with practice and careful attention to detail.


We covered the opening, reading, and writing of files in Python in this article. We discussed the different ways that a file can be opened as well as the various techniques for reading and writing data to files. Best practices for file handling were also covered, including how crucial it is to properly close files and keep your code readable.

Importance of proper file handling practices:

In order to guarantee the security and integrity of your data, proper file handling procedures are crucial. Performance problems, security breaches, and data loss can occur when best practices are not followed. When opening a file, you should always use the proper mode. You should also always close files when you are finished working with them.

Final thoughts and future considerations:

It is critical to continue practicing good file handling techniques as you learn and hone your Python skills and to stay current on industry trends and best practices. By doing so, you can ensure that your code is reliable, efficient, and secure.


How do you read and then write to a file in Python?

In Python, you can read and write to files by opening them in the proper mode (for example, “r+” for read and write), reading the contents, making any necessary changes, and then writing the changes back to the file.

How do you open a file for writing in Python?

To open a file for writing in Python, you can use the open() function with the “w” mode, like this:
file = open(“example.txt”, “w”)To open a file for writing in Python, you can use the open() function with the “w” mode, like this:
file = open(“example.txt”, “w”)

How would you open a file for reading in Python?

To open a file for reading in Python, you can use the open() function with the “r” mode, like this:
file = open(“example.txt”, “r”)

How do you append data to an existing file in Python?

To append data to an existing file in Python, you can use the “a” mode when opening the file, like this:
file = open(“example.txt”, “a”)
file.write(“This is new data to be appended.”)

Written by

Rahul Lath

Reviewed by

Arpit Rankwar

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