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Reading and writing files in Java (Input/Output) - Tutorial

Lars Vogel

Version 1.2


Java Input Output

This tutorial explains how to read and write files via Java.

Table of Contents

1. Java I/O (Input / Output) for files
1.1. Overview
1.2. Reading a file in Java
1.3. Writing a file in Java
1.4. How to identify the current directory
2. Exercise: Reading and writing files
3. Reading resources out of your project / jar
4. Support this website
4.1. Thank you
4.2. Questions and Discussion
5. Links and Literature

1. Java I/O (Input / Output) for files

1.1. Overview

Java provides a standard way of reading from and writing to files. Traditionally the package was used, but in modern Java applications you use the java.nio.file API.

Java will read all input as a stream of bytes. The InputStream class is the superclass of all classes representing an input stream of bytes.

1.2. Reading a file in Java

To read a text file you can use the Files.readAllBytes method as demonstrated by the following listing.

import java.nio.file.Files;
import java.nio.file.Paths;

// somewhere in your code
String content = new String(Files.readAllBytes(Paths.get(fileName))); 

To read a text file line by line into a List of type String structure you can use the following example.

List<String> lines = Files.readAllLines(Paths.get(fileName)); 

1.3. Writing a file in Java

To write a file you can use the following method:

Files.write(Paths.get(fileName), content.getBytes(), StandardOpenOption.CREATE); 

1.4. How to identify the current directory

You can access files relative to the current execution directory of your Java program. To print the current directory in which your Java program is running, you can use the following statement.


2. Exercise: Reading and writing files

Create a new Java project called Create the following class.


import java.nio.file.Files;
import java.nio.file.Paths;
import java.nio.file.StandardOpenOption;
import java.util.List;

public class FilesUtil {
  public static String readTextFile(String fileName) throws IOException {
    String content = new String(Files.readAllBytes(Paths.get(fileName)));
    return content;
  public static List<String> readTextFileByLines(String fileName) throws IOException {
    List<String> lines = Files.readAllLines(Paths.get(fileName));
    return lines;
  public static void writeToTextFile(String fileName, String content) throws IOException {
    Files.write(Paths.get(fileName), content.getBytes(), StandardOpenOption.CREATE);

To test these methods, create a text file called file.txt with some content in your project folder. Create the following Main class and run it.


import java.nio.file.Path;
import java.nio.file.Paths;

public class Main {
  public static void main(String[] args) throws IOException {
    String input = FilesUtil.readTextFile("file.txt");
    FilesUtil.writeToTextFile("copy.txt", input);
    Path path = Paths.get("file.txt");

3. Reading resources out of your project / jar

You can read resources from your project or your jar file via the .getClass().getResourceAsStream() method chain from any object.

4. Support this website

This tutorial is Open Content under the CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 DE license. Source code in this tutorial is distributed under the Eclipse Public License. See the vogella License page for details on the terms of reuse.

Writing and updating these tutorials is a lot of work. If this free community service was helpful, you can support the cause by giving a tip as well as reporting typos and factual errors.

4.1. Thank you

Please consider a contribution if this article helped you. It will help to maintain our content and our Open Source activities.

4.2. Questions and Discussion

If you find errors in this tutorial, please notify me (see the top of the page). Please note that due to the high volume of feedback I receive, I cannot answer questions to your implementation. Ensure you have read the vogella FAQ as I don't respond to questions already answered there.

5. Links and Literature - Sun Coding Convention.