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.

package org.kodejava.example.commons.io;

import org.apache.commons.io.FileUtils;
import org.apache.commons.io.LineIterator;

import java.io.File;
import java.net.URL;
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 {
            LineIterator.closeQuietly(iterator);
        }
    }
}

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

<dependency>
    <groupId>commons-io</groupId>
    <artifactId>commons-io</artifactId>
    <version>2.5</version>
</dependency>

How do I find files in a directory using DirectoryStream?

In this example we are going to learn to use the DirectoryStream, which part of java.nio.file package, to find files in a directory. We are begin by creating a Path, the directory where the search will be conducted.

After that we create a DirectoryStream using Files.newDirectoryStream(). To create a directory stream we passed two arguments, the starting path and a glob expression. Below we use *.txt glob expression to filter all text files in the D:/Workbench.

To get all the entries of the directory stream we can use a foreach loop as can be seen below. We iterate each entries, which is a Path object. And we print the entries file name using the getFileName() method.

package org.kodejava.example.io;

import java.io.IOException;
import java.nio.file.DirectoryStream;
import java.nio.file.Files;
import java.nio.file.Path;
import java.nio.file.Paths;

public class FindFilesInDirectory {
    public static void main(String[] args) {
        Path dir = Paths.get("D:/Workbench");

        try (DirectoryStream<Path> stream = Files.newDirectoryStream(dir, "*.txt")) {
            for (Path entry : stream) {
                System.out.println(entry.getFileName());
            }
        } catch (IOException e) {
            e.printStackTrace();
        }
    }
}

You can also notice that in this example we are using the try-with-resource statement. This mean that the DirectoryStream will be closed appropriately when the process is done. This type of try statement is an improvement introduced in JDK 7.

How do I create and delete a file in JDK 7?

In this example you’ll learn how to create and delete a file. Using the new Files class helper from the JDK 7 you can create a file using the Files.createFile(Path) method. To delete a file you can use the Files.delete(Path) method.

Before create a file and delete a file we can check to see if the file is exist or not using the Files.exists(Path) method. In the code snippet below we’ll create a file when the file is not exist. And we’ll delete the file if the file is exist.

package org.kodejava.example.io;

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

public class CreateDeleteFile {
    public static void main(String[] args) {
        try {
            // Create a config.cfg file under D:Temp directory.
            Path path = Paths.get("D:/Temp/config.cfg");
            if (!Files.exists(path)) {
                Files.createFile(path);
            }

            // Delete the path.cfg file specified by the Path.
            if (Files.exists(path)) {
                Files.delete(path);
            }
        } catch (Exception e) {
            e.printStackTrace();
        }
    }
}

How to recursively list all text files in a directory?

In this example you’ll learn how to use the Files.walkFileTree() to walk through file tree. This method requires two parameters. The first parameter is the starting file, in this example we’ll start from drive D:. And the second parameter is the file visitor to invoke for each file. Here we’ll create a file visitor call FindTextFilesVisitor which extend the java.nio.file.SimpleFileVisitor.

To get all the text files (files end with .txt) we override the visitFile() defined by the SimpleFileVisitor. In this method we check if the file ends with .txt extension and print the file name when the extension match. And we continue to walk the file tree by returning FileVisitResult.CONTINUE.

package org.kodejava.example.io;

import java.io.IOException;
import java.nio.file.*;
import java.nio.file.attribute.BasicFileAttributes;

public class WalkFileTree {
    public static void main(String[] args) {
        try {
            Path startDir = Paths.get("D:/");
            Files.walkFileTree(startDir, new FindTextFilesVisitor());
        } catch (IOException e) {
            e.printStackTrace();
        }
    }

    /**
     * FindTextFilesVisitor.
     */
    static class FindTextFilesVisitor extends SimpleFileVisitor<Path> {
        @Override
        public FileVisitResult visitFile(Path file, BasicFileAttributes attrs) throws IOException {
            if (file.toString().endsWith(".txt")) {
                System.out.println(file.getFileName());
            }
            return FileVisitResult.CONTINUE;
        }
    }
}

Instead of listing files, you can modify the code snippet above for instance use it to delete all the files that ends with .bak. Simply change the extension and replace the print out statement with a file delete statement in the visitFile() method.

How do I remove redundant elements from a Path?

To eliminate redundant elements from a Path we can use the Path.normalize() method. For example in the following code snippet. When try accessing the README file in the current directory the . symbol in the Path elements considered to be redundant, we don’t need it. That’s why we normalize the Path.

package org.kodejava.example.io;

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

public class PathNormalize {
    public static void main(String[] args) {
        // The following Path contains a redundant element. The "." which 
        // basically point to the current directory can simply removed when 
        // we are working on the current directory.
        Path path = Paths.get("./README");
        System.out.println("Path = " + path);

        // Removes redundant name elements from the path.
        path = path.normalize();
        System.out.println("Path = " + path);
    }
}

How to get some information about Path object?

The java.nio.Path provides some methods to obtain information about the Path. For example you can get information about the file name, the parent and the root path. For these you can call the getFileName(), getParent() and getRoot() method respectively.

You can also get the number of elements that make up this Path using the getNameCount() method. And to get the sub-path you can use the subpath() method and specify the starting and ending indexes. The code snippet below demonstrate to you how to get these information.

package org.kodejava.example.io;

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

public class PathInfoExample {
    public static void main(String[] args) {
        // Create a Path for Windows notepad program.
        Path notepad = Paths.get("C:/Windows/System32/notepad.exe");

        // Get some information about the Path object.
        System.out.printf("File name         : %1$s%n", notepad.getFileName());
        System.out.printf("Name count        : %1$s%n", notepad.getNameCount());
        System.out.printf("Parent path       : %1$s%n", notepad.getParent());
        System.out.printf("Root path         : %1$s%n", notepad.getRoot());
        System.out.printf("Sub path from root: %1$s%n", notepad.subpath(0, 2));
    }
}

This code will print something like:

File name         : notepad.exe
Name count        : 3
Parent path       : C:\Windows\System32
Root path         : C:\
Sub path from root: Windows\System32

How do I create a java.nio.Path?

The following code snippet show you how to create a Path. A Path (java.nio.Path) in an interface that represent a location in a file system, such as C:/Windows/System32 or /usr/bin.

To create a Path we can use the java.nio.Paths.get(String first, String... more) methods. Below you can see how to create a Path by passing only the first string and by passing a first string plus some varargs string.

package org.kodejava.example.io;

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

public class PathCreate {
    public static void main(String[] args) {
        // Create a Path that represents Windows installation location.
        Path windows = Paths.get("C:/Windows");

        // Check to see if the path represent a directory.
        if (Files.isDirectory(windows)) {
            // do something
        }

        // Create a Path that represent Windows programs installation location.
        Path programFiles = Paths.get("C:/Program Files");
        Files.isDirectory(programFiles);

        // Create a Path that represent the notepad.exe program
        Path notepad = Paths.get("C:/Windows", "System32", "notepad.exe");

        // Check to see if the path represent an executable file.
        if (Files.isExecutable(notepad)) {
            // do something
        }
    }
}

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.io;

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);
        printAttributes(attr);

        // 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);
        printAttributes(attr);
    }

    /**
     * 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());
        System.out.println("----------------------------------------");
    }
}

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 write a text file in JDK 7?

In JDK 7 we can write all lines from a List of String into a file using the Files.write() method. We need to provide the Path of the file we want to write to, the List of strings and the charsets. Each line is a char sequence and is written to the file in sequence with each line terminated by the platform’s line separator.

Let’s see the code snippet below:

package org.kodejava.example.io;

import java.nio.charset.StandardCharsets;
import java.nio.file.Files;
import java.nio.file.Path;
import java.nio.file.Paths;
import java.util.ArrayList;
import java.util.List;

public class WriteTextFile {
    public static void main(String[] args) {
        Path file = Paths.get("D:/resources/data.txt");

        List<String> lines = new ArrayList<>();
        lines.add("Lorem Ipsum is simply dummy text of the printing ");
        lines.add("and typesetting industry. Lorem Ipsum has been the ");
        lines.add("industry's standard dummy text ever since the 1500s, ");
        lines.add("when an unknown printer took a galley of type and ");
        lines.add("scrambled it to make a type specimen book.");

        try {
            // Write lines of text to a file.
            Files.write(file, lines, StandardCharsets.UTF_8);
        } catch (Exception e) {
            e.printStackTrace();
        }
    }
}

This code snippet will create a file called data.txt under the resources folder. Please make sure that this folder is exist before you tried to run the code.

How do I read all lines from a file?

The java.nio.file.Files.readAllLines() method read all lines from a file. This method ensures that the file is closed when all bytes have been read or an I/O error, or other runtime exception, is thrown. Bytes from the file are decoded into characters using the specified charset.

Note that this method is intended for simple cases where it is convenient to read all lines in a single operation. It is not intended for reading in large files. This method is available in Java 7.

package org.kodejava.example.io;

import java.net.URI;
import java.nio.charset.Charset;
import java.nio.file.Files;
import java.nio.file.Paths;
import java.util.List;

public class ReadFileAsListDemo {
    public static void main(String[] args) {
        ReadFileAsListDemo demo = new ReadFileAsListDemo();
        demo.readFileAsList();
    }

    private void readFileAsList() {
        String fileName = "/data.txt";

        try {
            URI uri = this.getClass().getResource(fileName).toURI();
            List<String> lines = Files.readAllLines(Paths.get(uri),
                Charset.defaultCharset());

            for (String line : lines) {
                System.out.println(line);
            }
        } catch (Exception e) {
            e.printStackTrace();
        }
    }
}