How To Read File In Python From Directory

In this tutorial, we will learn how to read a file in Python from a directory. Working with files is a common task when programming and Python provides easy-to-use functions and methods for dealing with files. We will focus on opening, reading, and closing files using Python’s built-in functions.

Step 1: Selecting a File and Directory

First, you need to choose the file you want to work with and the directory it is located in. For this tutorial, let’s create a simple text file called “sample.txt” containing the following text:

Hello, World!
This is a sample text file.

Place this file in a convenient location on your computer, such as the desktop or your Documents folder. Be sure to note the file path of the file, as you will need it in the following steps.

Step 2: Opening the File in Python

To open and read the file in Python, we will use the open() function. The open() function takes two arguments: the file path and the mode in which you want to open the file. The most common modes are:

  • ‘r’: Read-only mode (default)
  • ‘w’: Write mode
  • ‘a’: Append mode
  • ‘x’: Exclusive creation mode

In this tutorial, we will use the read-only mode (‘r’) to open the file:

Replace /path/to/your/sample.txt with the actual file path of your sample.txt file.

Step 3: Reading the File

After opening the file, you can use Python’s built-in file methods to read its contents. There are several ways to do this:

  • read(): Reads the entire content of the file as a string
  • readline(): Reads a single line from the file
  • readlines(): Reads all lines and stores them in a list.

For this tutorial, let’s use the read() method:

Step 4: Closing the File

After reading the file, it’s important to close it to free up system resources. Use the close() method to do this:

Note: You can also use with the statement to automatically close the file once you’re done working with it. This method is recommended when working with large files or multiple files:

Full Code:


Hello, World!
This is a sample text file.


In this tutorial, we’ve learned how to read a file in Python from a directory, utilizing the open() function, read the file’s content, and closing the file. This basic skill will allow you to manipulate, analyze, and process data from various file formats in your Python projects.