How To Check If A File Is Open in Python

In this tutorial, we will learn how to check if a file is open in Python. This may be useful when dealing with multiple open files, handling exceptions, or simply avoiding possible errors related to file handling.

Step 1: Understanding Python’s File Object

In Python, when you open a file using the open() function, it returns a file object. This object contains the following important attributes:

  • name: The name of the file, including its path.
  • mode: The mode in which the file was opened (e.g., ‘r’ for read mode, ‘w’ for write mode, etc.).
  • closed: A Boolean value indicating whether the file is closed (True) or open (False).

Step 2: Using the “closed” Attribute

To check if a file is open, you can simply use the closed attribute of the file object. Remember that it returns a Boolean value, so you can use it in a conditional statement. Here’s a simple example:

In this example, we first open the file named “example.txt” in read mode. Then, we check if the file is open using the closed attribute of the file object. If the file is open, we print a message and then close it using the close() method.

Step 3: Handling Exceptions

It’s important to handle exceptions when working with files in Python, as there can be all sorts of reasons that a file might not be accessible or might fail to open. The try-except block helps us handle exceptions gracefully.

In this example, we’ve added a try-except block to handle any exceptions that might occur while opening the file. If the file is not found, a FileNotFoundError will be raised, and if there’s an error opening the file, an IOError will be raised.


The file is open.

Note: If the file “example.txt” is not available in the current directory, create it manually, or replace the filename with an existing file before running the code.


In this tutorial, we have learned how to check if a file is open in Python using the closed attribute of the file object. Additionally, we have seen how to handle exceptions that may occur while opening a file. Remember to always close the files you open in your program to prevent any resource leaks or improper file handling issues.