How to read text file contents line by line?

In the following code example you will learn how to read file contents line by line using the Apache Commons FileUtils.lineIterator() method. Reading file contents one line at a time, do some processing, and release it from memory immediately will lower the memory consumption used by your program.

The snippet below give you the basic usage of the FileUtils.lineIterator() method. You pass the file to read and the encoding to use. An Iterator of the lines in the file will be returned. Use the hasNext() method to see if there are lines to read from the iterator. The nextLine() method will give you the next line from the file.

When we finished with the iterator we need to close it using the LineIterator.close() or LineIterator.closeQuietly() method.



import java.util.Objects;

public class ReadFileLineByLine {
    public static void main(String[] args) throws Exception {
        // Load file from resource directory.
        ClassLoader classLoader = ReadFileLineByLine.class.getClassLoader();
        URL url = Objects.requireNonNull(classLoader.getResource("data.txt"),
                "Resource could not be found.");

        File file = new File(url.getFile());
        LineIterator iterator = FileUtils.lineIterator(file, "UTF-8");
        try {
            while (iterator.hasNext()) {
                String line = iterator.nextLine();
                System.out.println("line = " + line);
        } finally {

In the example above we load the file from a resource directory. That’s why we use the ClassLoader.getResource() method. If you want to load a file from an absolute path you can simply create a File object and pass the absolute path to the file.

Maven Dependency


How do I set the value of file attributes?

This code snippet show you an example on how to set the value of file attributes. Here we will set the DosFileAttributes. To set the value of file attributes we use the Files.setAttributes() method. To set DosFileAttributes we can use the following attributes: "dos:archive", "dos:hidden", "dos:readonly" and "dos:system".

For details let’s see the code snippet below:

package org.kodejava.example.nio;

import java.nio.file.Files;
import java.nio.file.Path;
import java.nio.file.Paths;
import java.nio.file.attribute.DosFileAttributes;

public class UpdateDosFileAttributesExample {
    public static void main(String[] args) throws Exception {
        String path = "D:\resources\data.txt";
        Path file = Paths.get(path);

        // Get current Dos file attributes and print it.
        DosFileAttributes attr =
                Files.readAttributes(file, DosFileAttributes.class);

        // Set a new file attributes.
        Files.setAttribute(file, "dos:archive", false);
        Files.setAttribute(file, "dos:hidden", false);
        Files.setAttribute(file, "dos:readonly", false);
        Files.setAttribute(file, "dos:system", false);

        // Read the newly set file attributes and print it.
        attr = Files.readAttributes(file, DosFileAttributes.class);

     * Print the DosFileAttributes information.
     * @param attr DosFileAttributes.
    private static void printAttributes(DosFileAttributes attr) {
        System.out.println("isArchive()  = " + attr.isArchive());
        System.out.println("isHidden()   = " + attr.isHidden());
        System.out.println("isReadOnly() = " + attr.isReadOnly());
        System.out.println("isSystem()   = " + attr.isSystem());

The output of the code snippet:

isArchive()  = true
isHidden()   = true
isReadOnly() = true
isSystem()   = true
isArchive()  = false
isHidden()   = false
isReadOnly() = false
isSystem()   = false

How do I get file basic attributes?

This example you’ll learn how to get file’s basic attributes. Basic file attributes are attributes that are common to many file systems and consist of mandatory and optional file attributes as defined by the BasicFileAttributes interface.

The file’s basic attributes include file’s date time information such as the creation time, last access time, last modified time. You can also check whether the file is a directory, a regular file, a symbolic link or something else. You can also get the size of the file.

Let’s see the code snippet below:

package org.kodejava.example.nio;

import java.nio.file.Files;
import java.nio.file.Path;
import java.nio.file.Paths;
import java.nio.file.attribute.BasicFileAttributes;

public class FileAttributesDemo {
    public static void main(String[] args) throws Exception {
        String path = "D:\resources\data.txt";

        Path file = Paths.get(path);
        BasicFileAttributes attr =
                Files.readAttributes(file, BasicFileAttributes.class);
        System.out.println("creationTime     = " + attr.creationTime());
        System.out.println("lastAccessTime   = " + attr.lastAccessTime());
        System.out.println("lastModifiedTime = " + attr.lastModifiedTime());

        System.out.println("isDirectory      = " + attr.isDirectory());
        System.out.println("isOther          = " + attr.isOther());
        System.out.println("isRegularFile    = " + attr.isRegularFile());
        System.out.println("isSymbolicLink   = " + attr.isSymbolicLink());
        System.out.println("size             = " + attr.size());

The output of the code snippet:

creationTime     = 2012-11-28T00:08:55.290206Z
lastAccessTime   = 2012-11-28T00:08:55.290206Z
lastModifiedTime = 2012-11-28T00:08:55.291206Z
isDirectory      = false
isOther          = false
isRegularFile    = true
isSymbolicLink   = false
size             = 574

How do I read text file into JTextArea?

Using the read(Reader in, Object desc) method inherited from the JTextComponent allow us to populate a JTextArea with text content from a file. This example will show you how to do it.

In this example we use an InputStreamReader to read a file from our application resource. You could use other Reader implementation such as the FileReader to read to content of a file. Let’s see the code below.

package org.kodejava.example.swing;

import javax.swing.*;
import java.awt.*;

public class PopulateTextAreaFromFile extends JFrame {
    public PopulateTextAreaFromFile() {

    private void initialize() {
        setSize(300, 300);
        setTitle("Populate JTextArea from File");
        setLayout(new BorderLayout());

        JTextArea textArea = new JTextArea();
        JScrollPane scrollPane = new JScrollPane(textArea);
        try {
            // Read some text from the resource file to display in
            // the JTextArea.
        } catch (IOException e) {

        getContentPane().add(scrollPane, BorderLayout.CENTER);

    public static void main(String[] args) {
        SwingUtilities.invokeLater(new Runnable() {
            public void run() {
                new PopulateTextAreaFromFile().setVisible(true);

How do I create a web based file upload?

This example using the Apache Commons FileUpload library to create a simple application for uploading files. The program is divided into two parts, a form using JSP and a servlet for handling the upload process. To run the sample you need to download the Commons FileUpload and Commons IO get the latest stable version.

File Upload Form

The first step is to create the upload form. The form contains two fields for selecting file to be uploaded and a submit button. The form should have an enctype attribute and the value is multipart/form-data. We use a post method and the submit process is handled by the FileUploadDemoServlet as defined in the action attribute.

<%@ page contentType="text/html;charset=UTF-8" language="java" %>
    <title>File Upload</title>

    <h1>File Upload Form</h1>

        <legend>Upload File</legend>
        <form action="/uploadservlet" method="post" enctype="multipart/form-data">
            <label for="filename_1">File: </label>
            <input id="filename_1" type="file" name="filename_1" size="50"/><br/>
            <label for="filename_2">File: </label>
            <input id="filename_2" type="file" name="filename_2" size="50"/><br/>
            <input type="submit" value="Upload File"/>

The second step is to create the servlet. The doPost method checks to see if the request contains a multipart content. After that we create a FileItemFactory, in this example we use the DiskFileItemFactory which is the default factory for FileItem. This factory creates an instance of FileItem and stored it either in memory or in a temporary file on disk depending on its content size.

The ServletFileUpload handles multiple files upload that we’ve specified in the form above sent using the multipart/mixed encoding type. The process of storing the data is determined by the FileItemFactory passed to the ServletFileUpload class.

The next steps is to parse the multipart/form-data stream by calling the ServletFileUpload.parseRequest(HttpServletRequest request) method. The parse process return a list of FileItem. After that we iterate on the list and check to see if FileItem representing an uploaded file or a a simple form field. If it is represent an uploaded file we write the FileItem content to a file.

So here is the FileUploadDemoServlet.

package org.kodejava.example.commons.fileupload;

import org.apache.commons.fileupload.FileItem;
import org.apache.commons.fileupload.FileItemFactory;
import org.apache.commons.fileupload.FileUploadException;
import org.apache.commons.fileupload.disk.DiskFileItemFactory;
import org.apache.commons.fileupload.servlet.ServletFileUpload;

import javax.servlet.ServletException;
import javax.servlet.http.HttpServlet;
import javax.servlet.http.HttpServletRequest;
import javax.servlet.http.HttpServletResponse;
import java.util.Iterator;
import java.util.List;

public class FileUploadDemoServlet extends HttpServlet {
    private static final long serialVersionUID = 1L;

    protected void doPost(HttpServletRequest request, HttpServletResponse response)
            throws ServletException, IOException {
        boolean isMultipart = ServletFileUpload.isMultipartContent(request);

        if (isMultipart) {
            FileItemFactory factory = new DiskFileItemFactory();
            ServletFileUpload upload = new ServletFileUpload(factory);

            try {
                List items = upload.parseRequest(request);
                Iterator iterator = items.iterator();
                while (iterator.hasNext()) {
                    FileItem item = (FileItem);

                    if (!item.isFormField()) {
                        String fileName = item.getName();

                        String root = getServletContext().getRealPath("/");
                        File path = new File(root + "/uploads");
                        if (!path.exists()) {
                            boolean status = path.mkdirs();

                        File uploadedFile = new File(path + "/" + fileName);
            } catch (FileUploadException e) {
            } catch (Exception e) {

Finally we need to register the servlet and create a servlet mapping in the application web.xml file. Below is the content of web.xml.

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<web-app xmlns=""


Maven Dependencies

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