How To Make Python Open A File

In this tutorial, we will learn how to make Python open a file. Opening and reading files is an essential skill for any programmer, as it allows you to access and manipulate data stored in external files. Python provides several built-in functions and libraries for working with files, making it easy to open, read, write, and close files.

Step 1: Create a File for the Tutorial

Before we start writing any code, let’s create a simple text file that we will use as an example in this tutorial. Create a new file called example.txt and add the following content:

Hello World!
This is a simple file for the tutorial.
Python is great for working with files.

Make sure to save the file in the same directory as your Python script.

Step 2: Open the File in Python

Python’s built-in open() function is used to open a file. It has several modes that define how a file can be accessed – read mode ('r'), write mode ('w'), append mode ('a'), and read-write mode ('r+'). By default, the open() function opens the file in read mode.

To open a file, we simply pass the file name (including the file extension) to the open() function. Let’s open the example.txt file:

Note: It’s important to close the file after you’re done working with it. You can do this using the close() method:

Step 3: Read the File Content

There are several ways to read the content of a file in Python. The most common method is to use the read() function. The read() function reads the entire content of the file and returns it as a string.

Here’s how to read the content of our example.txt file:

In addition, you can also read a file line by line using the readline() method, or read all lines at once as a list of strings with the readlines() method.

Step 4: Use the ‘with’ Statement

It’s recommended to use the with statement when working with files, as it automatically takes care of closing the file for you. This is called context management, and it ensures that resources are properly managed and cleaned up after use.

The code below demonstrates how to open the example.txt file using the with statement:

Full Example Code

Here’s the full code from the tutorial for quick reference:


Hello World!
This is a simple file for the tutorial.
Python is great for working with files.


In this tutorial, we learned how to make Python open a file, read its content, and close the file properly. By learning these basic file operations, you can easily start working with external data files in your Python projects. Always remember to close the files you open and consider using context management with the with statement.