File.ReadAllText Method (String, Encoding)

Note: This method is new in the .NET Framework version 2.0.

Opens a file, reads all lines of the file with the specified encoding, and then closes the file.

Namespace: System.IO
Assembly: mscorlib (in mscorlib.dll)

public static string ReadAllText (
	string path,
	Encoding encoding
public static String ReadAllText (
	String path, 
	Encoding encoding
public static function ReadAllText (
	path : String, 
	encoding : Encoding
) : String



The file to open for reading.


The encoding applied to the contents of the file.

Return Value

A string array containing all lines of the file.

Exception typeCondition


path is a zero-length string, contains only white space, or contains one or more invalid characters as defined by InvalidPathChars.


path is a null reference (Nothing in Visual Basic).


The specified path, file name, or both exceed the system-defined maximum length. For example, on Windows-based platforms, paths must be less than 248 characters, and file names must be less than 260 characters.


The specified path is invalid (for example, it is on an unmapped drive).


An I/O error occurred while opening the file.


path specified a file that is read-only.


This operation is not supported on the current platform.


path specified a directory.


The caller does not have the required permission.


The file specified in path was not found.


path is in an invalid format.


The caller does not have the required permission.

This method opens a file, reads each line of the file, and then adds each line as an element of a string array. It then closes the file. A line is defined as a sequence of characters followed by a carriage return ('\r'), a line feed ('\n'), or a carriage return immediately followed by a line feed. The resulting string does not contain the terminating carriage return and/or line feed.

This method attempts to automatically detect the encoding of a file based on the presence of byte order marks. Encoding formats UTF-8 and UTF-32 (both big-endian and little-endian) can be detected.

The file handle is guaranteed to be closed by this method, even if exceptions are raised.

The following code example demonstrates the use of the ReadAllText method to display the contents of a file. In this example a file is created, if it doesn't already exist, and text is added to it.

using System;
using System.IO;

class Test
    public static void Main()
        string path = @"c:\temp\MyTest.txt";

        // This text is added only once to the file.
        if (!File.Exists(path))
            // Create a file to write to.
            string createText = "Hello and Welcome" + Environment.NewLine;
            File.WriteAllText(path, createText);

        // This text is always added, making the file longer over time
        // if it is not deleted.
        string appendText = "This is extra text" + Environment.NewLine;
        File.AppendAllText(path, appendText);

        // Open the file to read from.
        string readText = File.ReadAllText(path);

Windows 98, Windows 2000 SP4, Windows Millennium Edition, Windows Server 2003, Windows XP Media Center Edition, Windows XP Professional x64 Edition, Windows XP SP2, Windows XP Starter Edition

The .NET Framework does not support all versions of every platform. For a list of the supported versions, see System Requirements.

.NET Framework

Supported in: 2.0