Confused by python file mode "w+"


Question

From the doc,

Modes 'r+', 'w+' and 'a+' open the file for updating (note that 'w+' truncates the file). Append 'b' to the mode to open the file in binary mode, on systems that differentiate between binary and text files; on systems that don’t have this distinction, adding the 'b' has no effect.

and here

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.

But, how to read a file open with w+?

1
167
4/25/2013 6:51:34 AM

Accepted Answer

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.

109
8/27/2018 9:52:31 PM

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.


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