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Important This document may not represent best practices for current development, links to downloads and other resources may no longer be valid. Current recommended version can be found here.

My.Computer.FileSystem.ReadAllText Method 

Returns the contents of a text file as a String.

' Usage
Dim value As String = My.Computer.FileSystem.ReadAllText(file)
Dim value As String = My.Computer.FileSystem.ReadAllText(file ,encoding)
' Declaration
Public Function ReadAllText( _
   ByVal file As String _
) As String
' -or-
Public Function ReadAllText( _
   ByVal file As String, _
   ByVal encoding As System.Text.Encoding _
) As String



String. Name and path of the file to read. Required.


System.Text.Encoding. Character encoding to use in reading the file. Required. Default is UTF-8.

String containing the contents of the file.

The contents of the file may not be what is expected, and methods to read from the file may fail.

The following conditions may cause an exception:

  • The path is not valid for one of the following reasons: it is a zero-length string; it contains only white space; it contains invalid characters; or it is a device path (starts with \\.\) (ArgumentException).

  • The file name ends with a trailing slash (ArgumentException).

  • The path is not valid because it is Nothing (ArgumentNullException).

  • The file does not exist (FileNotFoundException).

  • The file is in use by another process, or an I/O error occurs (IOException).

  • The path exceeds the system-defined maximum length (PathTooLongException).

  • A file or directory name in the path contains a colon (:) or is in an invalid format (NotSupportedException).

  • There is not enough memory to write the string to buffer (OutOfMemoryException).

  • The user lacks necessary permissions to view the path (SecurityException).

The ReadAllText method of the My.Computer.FileSystem object allows you to read from a text file. The contents of the file are returned as a string.

The file encoding can be specified if the contents of the file are in an encoding such as ASCII or UTF-8. If you are reading from a file with extended characters, you need to specify the file encoding.

Do not make decisions about the contents of the file based on the name of the file. For example, the file Form1.vb may not be a Visual Basic source file. Verify all inputs before using the data in your application.

The following table lists examples of tasks involving the My.Computer.FileSystem.ReadAllText method.

To See

Read from a text file

How to: Read From Text Files in Visual Basic

This example reads the contents of Test.txt into a string and then displays it in a message box.

Dim reader As String
reader = My.Computer.FileSystem.ReadAllText("C:\test.txt")

This example reads the contents of the ASCII file Test.txt into a string and then displays it in a message box.

Dim reader As String
reader = My.Computer.FileSystem.ReadAllText("C:\test.txt", _

Namespace: Microsoft.VisualBasic.MyServices

Class: FileSystemProxy (provides access to FileSystem)

Assembly: Visual Basic Runtime Library (in Microsoft.VisualBasic.dll)

Availability by Project Type

Project type Available

Windows Application


Class Library


Console Application


Windows Control Library


Web Control Library


Windows Service


Web Site


The following permission may be necessary:

Permission Description


Controls the ability to access files and folders. Associated enumeration: Unrestricted.

For more information, see Code Access Security and Requesting Permissions.

Community Additions

© 2015 Microsoft