File Handling in C Language

Categories: C language

In programming, we may require some specific input data to be generated several numbers of times. Sometimes, it is not enough to only display the data on the console. The data to be displayed may be very large, and only a limited amount of data can be displayed on the console, and since the memory is volatile, it is impossible to recover the programmatically generated data again and again. However, if we need to do so, we may store it onto the local file system which is volatile and can be accessed every time. Here, comes the need of file handling in C.


File handling in C enables us to create, update, read, and delete the files stored on the local file system through our C program. The following operations can be performed on a file.


1. Creation of the new file

2. Opening an existing file

3. Reading from the file

4. Writing to the file

5. Deleting the file


Functions for file handling

There are many functions in the C library to open, read, write, search and close the file. A list of file functions are given below:


No.FunctionDescription

1fopen()opens new or existing file

2fprintf()write data into the file

3fscanf()reads data from the file

4fputc()writes a character into the file

5fgetc()reads a character from file

6fclose()closes the file

7fseek()sets the file pointer to given position

8fputw()writes an integer to file

9fgetw()reads an integer from file

10ftell()returns current position

11rewind()sets the file pointer to the beginning of the file


Opening File: fopen()

We must open a file before it can be read, write, or update. The fopen() function is used to open a file. The syntax of the fopen() is given below.


FILE *fopen( const char * filename, const char * mode );  

The fopen() function accepts two parameters:


1. The file name (string). If the file is stored at some specific location, then we must mention the path at which the file is stored. For example, a file name can be like "c://some_folder/some_file.ext".

2. The mode in which the file is to be opened. It is a string.


We can use one of the following modes in the fopen() function.


ModeDescription

ropens a text file in read mode

wopens a text file in write mode

aopens a text file in append mode

r+opens a text file in read and write mode

w+opens a text file in read and write mode

a+opens a text file in read and write mode

rbopens a binary file in read mode

wbopens a binary file in write mode

abopens a binary file in append mode

rb+opens a binary file in read and write mode

wb+opens a binary file in read and write mode

ab+opens a binary file in read and write mode

The fopen function works in the following way.


1. Firstly, It searches the file to be opened.

2. Then, it loads the file from the disk and place it into the buffer. The buffer is used to provide efficiency for the read operations.

3. It sets up a character pointer which points to the first character of the file.


Closing File: fclose()

The fclose() function is used to close a file. The file must be closed after performing all the operations on it. The syntax of fclose() function is given below:

int fclose( FILE *fp );  

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