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File Handling in Python

  • August 14, 2023
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Bharani Kumar Depuru is a well known IT personality from Hyderabad. He is the Founder and Director of Innodatatics Pvt Ltd and 360DigiTMG. Bharani Kumar is an IIT and ISB alumni with more than 18+ years of experience, he held prominent positions in the IT elites like HSBC, ITC Infotech, Infosys, and Deloitte. He is a prevalent IT consultant specializing in Industrial Revolution 4.0 implementation, Data Analytics practice setup, Artificial Intelligence, Big Data Analytics, Industrial IoT, Business Intelligence and Business Management. Bharani Kumar is also the chief trainer at 360DigiTMG with more than Ten years of experience and has been making the IT transition journey easy for his students. 360DigiTMG is at the forefront of delivering quality education, thereby bridging the gap between academia and industry.

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Ever wondered how Python manages to effortlessly read and write data to files? Get ready to embark on an exciting journey through the concept of file handling in Python, as we understand the uses of it.

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Do you know by employing Python's built-in file handling capabilities, developers can work with different file formats, extract meaningful data, and perform data manipulation tasks efficiently?Yes,File handling in Python is a fundamental skill for developers, enabling them to manage data effectively, perform data processing tasks, and work with various data sources, making it a crucial aspect of Python programming.File handling in Python is a foundational skill that empowers developers to efficiently manage data, perform data processing, and handle various data-related tasks.We will discuss in detail in this blog how it really means.

Let us deep dive into the concept of File Handling.

Modes of File Handling in Python?

In Python, file handling modes are used to determine how a file should be opened and operated upon. Python provides several file handling modes that allow you to perform different operations on files. Here are the most commonly used file handling modes in Python:

1. Read Mode 'r': The read mode is denoted by the character 'r', and it's used when you want to open a file for reading its contents.We cannot modify the file using this mode.

2. Write Mode 'w': This mode is used to write data to a file. If files do not exist,it will get created. If it already exists, contents will be overwritten. If you want to append data to the existing file content, you can use the 'a' mode instead.

3. Append Mode 'a’: This mode is used to append data to an existing file.File will be created if not present earlier. The new data will be added to the end of the existing file content, without overwriting it.

4. Binary Mode 'b’: Binary files like images, videos, audios can be handled here. For example, 'rb' is used to read a binary file, and 'wb' is used to write to a binary file.

5. Exclusive Creation Mode 'x': This mode is used to create a new file, but it raises a FileExistsError if the file already exists.

6. Update Mode '+': This mode is used to open a file for both reading and writing. It is added to the other modes. For example, 'r+' is used to open a file for both reading and writing.

file handling in Python

To use these modes, you can pass them as the second argument when using the `open()` function to open a file. For example:

file handling in Python

Remember to close the file after you're done using it by calling the `close()` method on the file object:

file handling in Python

with statement can be used alternatively to close the file.

file handling in Python

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Let us understand uses of file handling using codes

1.Opening a File:

‘open()’ function is used to open a file in Python, which takes the file name and the mode of operation as arguments. The mode can be 'r' for reading, 'w' for writing (creating a new file or overwriting an existing file), 'a' for appending data to a file, or 'x' for creating a new file (fails if the file already exists).

file handling in Python

2. Reading from a File:

Once a file is opened, you can read its contents using various methods. The most common ones are:

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- read() : reads entire as string

- readline() : single line from file can be read.

- readlines() : all lines from file are read and displayed in list.

file handling in Python

3. Writing to a File:

A file is opened using the ‘open()’ function,and write mode ‘w’ is used to write data to a file. Then, to write a string to a file ‘write’ mode is used. Note that the file's contents will be overwritten by ‘w’ mode, while the 'a' mode will append the data to the end of the file.

file handling in Python

4. Closing a File:

It's crucial to close a file after you're done with it to free up system resources. You can use the `close()` method to close the file manually. Use of ‘with’ also closes the file as it calls 2 built in methods __enter__ and __exit__,when the operation gets complete the file will be closed automatically.

file handling in Python

5. Error Handling:

When working with files, it's important to handle exceptions that may occur. Python provides a try-except block to catch and handle any potential errors during file handling.

file handling in Python

These are some of the fundamental concepts and functions related to file handling in Python. Remember to handle exceptions, close files properly, and refer to the Python documentation for more advanced file handling operations and techniques.

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Advanced file handling in Python involves using additional modules or libraries to perform more specialized operations on files. Here are a few examples:

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Working with various File Formats

1. Working with CSV(Comma-Separated Values) Files:

CSV files are basically used to store tabular data. ’csv’ module of Python is used for reading CSV files.It allows you to handle various aspects of CSV files, such as reading rows, writing rows, specifying delimiters, handling headers, etc. Here's a basic example:

file handling in Python

2. Working with JSON Files:

JSON (JavaScript Object Notation) is a popular format for storing structured data. Python provides the `json` module for working with JSON files. It allows you to load JSON data from a file, convert it to Python objects, and vice versa. Here's an example:

file handling in Python

3. Working with Binary Files:

Binary files store data in a binary format, such as images, videos, or executable files. Python allows you to read from and write to binary files using the `'rb'` (read binary) and `'wb'` (write binary) modes. Here's an example of copying a binary file:

file handling in Python

4. File and Directory Manipulation:

The `os` module provides functions for various file and directory operations. You can create, rename, delete files, check if a file exists, get file information, list directory contents, etc. Here's an example:

file handling in Python

PDF File Handling in Python

To handle PDF files in Python, you can use third-party libraries that provide functionality for working with PDFs. One popular library for PDF manipulation in Python is PyPDF2. Here's an example of how you can use PyPDF2 to handle PDF files:

1. Installation: First, you need to install the PyPDF2 library.

file handling in Python

2. Reading PDF Content: You can use PyPDF2 to read the content of a PDF file. Here's an example that opens a PDF file, reads its content, and prints it:

file handling in Python

3. Extracting Text: PyPDF2 allows you to extract text from specific pages or the entire PDF file. Here's an example that extracts text from the first page of a PDF:

file handling in Python

4. Creating a New PDF: PyPDF2 also allows you to create new PDF files and add content to them. Here's an example that creates a new PDF file and adds a page with some text:

file handling in Python


In conclusion, file handling is a fundamental aspect of programming that empowers developers to store, manipulate, and manage data efficiently and securely.

file handling in Python

In this blog we have seen various modes of file handling like opening a file,reading a file,writing a file,closing a fine,working with csv files,binary files,error handling,PDF file handling etc.With some basic codes we have understood aspects of file handling in python.File handling plays a vital role in a wide range of applications, from simple text processing to complex data-driven applications. Its simplicity and versatility make it a critical aspect of Python programming, supporting a wide range of applications across different industries.We believe that learning is best when it's a collaborative effort, and that's why we've curated a blog experience that goes beyond the traditional format. Throughout this blog, you'll encounter interactive comment sections that allow you to share your thoughts, ask questions, and engage with fellow learners and our expert team.Thanks for all the appreciation and patience in reading this blog.

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