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How to: Read From a Text File (C# Programming Guide)

This example reads the contents of a text file by using the static methods ReadAllText and ReadAllLines from the System.IO.File class.

For an example that uses StreamReader, see How to: Read a Text File One Line at a Time (Visual C#).

Note Note

The files that are used in this example are created in the topic How to: Write to a Text File (C# Programming Guide).

class ReadFromFile
    static void Main()
        // The files used in this example are created in the topic 
        // How to: Write to a Text File. You can change the path and 
        // file name to substitute text files of your own. 

        // Example #1 
        // Read the file as one string. 
        string text = System.IO.File.ReadAllText(@"C:\Users\Public\TestFolder\WriteText.txt");

        // Display the file contents to the console. Variable text is a string.
        System.Console.WriteLine("Contents of WriteText.txt = {0}", text);

        // Example #2 
        // Read each line of the file into a string array. Each element 
        // of the array is one line of the file. 
        string[] lines = System.IO.File.ReadAllLines(@"C:\Users\Public\TestFolder\WriteLines2.txt");

        // Display the file contents by using a foreach loop.
        System.Console.WriteLine("Contents of WriteLines2.txt = ");
        foreach (string line in lines)
            // Use a tab to indent each line of the file.
            Console.WriteLine("\t" + line);

        // Keep the console window open in debug mode.
        Console.WriteLine("Press any key to exit.");

Copy the code and paste it into a C# console application.

If you are not using the text files from How to: Write to a Text File (C# Programming Guide), replace the argument to ReadAllText and ReadAllLines with the appropriate path and file name on your computer.

The following conditions may cause an exception:

  • The file doesn't exist or doesn't exist at the specified location. Check the path and the spelling of the file name.

Do not rely on the name of a file to determine the contents of the file. For example, the file myFile.cs might not be a C# source file.