If you need to read a file in Python, then you can use the open() built-in function to help you.

Let’s say that you have a file called somefile.txt with the following contents:

Hello, this is a test file
With some contents

How to Open a File and Read it in Python

We can read the contents of this file as follows:

f = open("somefile.txt", "r")
print(f.read())

This will print out the contents of the file.

If the file is in a different location, then we would specify the location as well:

f = open("/some/location/somefile.txt", "r")
print(f.read())

How to Only Read Parts of a File in Python

If you don’t want to read and print out the whole file using Python, then you can specify the exact location that you do want.

f = open("somefile.txt", "r")
print(f.read(5))

This will specify how many characters you want to return from the file.

How to Read Lines from a File in Python

If you need to read each line of a file in Python, then you can use the readline() function:

f = open("somefile.txt", "r")
print(f.readline())

If you called this twice, then it would read the first two lines:

f = open("somefile.txt", "r")
print(f.readline())
print(f.readline())

A better way to do this, is to loop through the file:

f = open("somefile.txt", "r")
for x in f:
  print(x)

How to Close a File in Python

It is always good practice to close a file after you have opened it.

This is because the open() method, will keep a file handler pointer open to that file, until it is closed.

f = open("somefile.txt", "r")
print(f.readline())
f.close()