Confused by python file mode "w+" Confused by python file mode "w+" python python

Confused by python file mode "w+"


Here is a list of the different modes of opening a file:

  • r

    Opens a file for reading only. The file pointer is placed at the beginning of the file. This is the default mode.

  • rb

    Opens a file for reading only in binary format. The file pointer is placed at the beginning of the file. This is the default mode.

  • r+

    Opens a file for both reading and writing. The file pointer will be at the beginning of the file.

  • rb+

    Opens a file for both reading and writing in binary format. The file pointer will be at the beginning of the file.

  • w

    Opens a file for writing only. Overwrites the file if the file exists. If the file does not exist, creates a new file for writing.

  • wb

    Opens a file for writing only in binary format. Overwrites the file if the file exists. If the file does not exist, creates a new file for writing.

  • w+

    Opens a file for both writing and reading. Overwrites the existing file if the file exists. If the file does not exist, creates a new file for reading and writing.

  • wb+

    Opens a file for both writing and reading in binary format. Overwrites the existing file if the file exists. If the file does not exist, creates a new file for reading and writing.

  • a

    Opens a file for appending. The file pointer is at the end of the file if the file exists. That is, the file is in the append mode. If the file does not exist, it creates a new file for writing.

  • ab

    Opens a file for appending in binary format. The file pointer is at the end of the file if the file exists. That is, the file is in the append mode. If the file does not exist, it creates a new file for writing.

  • a+

    Opens a file for both appending and reading. The file pointer is at the end of the file if the file exists. The file opens in the append mode. If the file does not exist, it creates a new file for reading and writing.

  • ab+

    Opens a file for both appending and reading in binary format. The file pointer is at the end of the file if the file exists. The file opens in the append mode. If the file does not exist, it creates a new file for reading and writing.


All file modes in Python

  • r for reading
  • r+ opens for reading and writing (cannot truncate a file)
  • w for writing
  • w+ for writing and reading (can truncate a file)
  • rb for reading a binary file. The file pointer is placed at the beginning of the file.
  • rb+ reading or writing a binary file
  • wb+ writing a binary file
  • a+ opens for appending
  • ab+ Opens a file for both appending and reading in binary. The file pointer is at the end of the file if the file exists. The file opens in the append mode.
  • x open for exclusive creation, failing if the file already exists (Python 3)


Let's say you're opening the file with a with statement like you should be. Then you'd do something like this to read from your file:

with open('somefile.txt', 'w+') as f:    # Note that f has now been truncated to 0 bytes, so you'll only    # be able to read data that you write after this point    f.write('somedata\n')    f.seek(0)  # Important: return to the top of the file before reading, otherwise you'll just read an empty string    data = f.read() # Returns 'somedata\n'

Note the f.seek(0) -- if you forget this, the f.read() call will try to read from the end of the file, and will return an empty string.


matomo