How To Write A List To A File In Python

In this tutorial, you will learn how to write a list to a file in Python. This is a common task in programming where you want to store the contents of a list in a file for later use. You will learn about Python’s built-in functions to write data in a file and also some best practices to follow when working with files.

Step 1: Open a File

To write a list to a file, the first step is to open the file in write mode. You can use Python’s built-in open() function to do this. The syntax of the open() function is as follows:

The mode parameter in the open() function determines the operation that will be performed on the file. The commonly used modes are:

– ‘r‘: Read mode, for reading the content of an existing file
– ‘w‘: Write mode, for creating a new file or overwriting the content of an existing file
– ‘a‘: Append mode, for appending new text at the end of an existing file
– ‘x‘: Exclusive creation mode, for creating a new file but raising an error if the file already exists

In this case, we will use the ‘w’ mode to write the list to the file.

Step 2: Write the List to the File

To write the list to the file, you can use the writelines() function. This function takes an iterable object (like a list or a tuple) as an argument and writes the content of the object to the file.

By default, the writelines() function writes the content of the list without any special formatting or line breaks. Therefore, you might want to add line breaks between the list elements before writing them to the file.

You can do this by using a loop or a list comprehension to add line breaks:

Step 3: Close the File

After you have written the list to the file, you need to close the file by calling the close() function. This is an important step to ensure that the changes are saved, and the file is released from Python’s control.

Using the “With” Statement

It is often better to use the “with” statement when working with files, as it automatically takes care of closing the file after the indented code block has been executed. Additionally, it makes the code more readable.

Here is the complete code to write a list to a file using the “with” statement:

With this approach, you don’t need to call the close() function explicitly.

When running the above code, it writes the list to the file called “list_data.txt”:



In this tutorial, you learned how to write a list to a file in Python using the built-in open() function along with the ‘with’ statement. You also learned how to properly format the list data before writing it to the file.

By following these steps and using best practices for working with files, you will ensure that your Python programs are efficient, reliable, and easy to understand.