How to append text to an existing file in Java?

2021-6-3 anglehua

I need to append text repeatedly to an existing file in Java. How do I do that?


Are you doing this for logging purposes? If so there are several libraries for this. Two of the most popular are Log4j and Logback.

Java 7+

For a one-time task, the Files class makes this easy:

try {
    Files.write(Paths.get("myfile.txt"), "the text".getBytes(), StandardOpenOption.APPEND);
}catch (IOException e) {
    //exception handling left as an exercise for the reader
}

Careful: The above approach will throw a NoSuchFileException if the file does not already exist. It also does not append a newline automatically (which you often want when appending to a text file). Another approach is to pass both CREATE and APPEND options, which will create the file first if it doesn't already exist:

private void write(final String s) throws IOException {
    Files.writeString(
        Path.of(System.getProperty("java.io.tmpdir"), "filename.txt"),
        s + System.lineSeparator(),
        CREATE, APPEND
    );
}

However, if you will be writing to the same file many times, the above snippets must open and close the file on the disk many times, which is a slow operation. In this case, a BufferedWriter is faster:

try(FileWriter fw = new FileWriter("myfile.txt", true);
    BufferedWriter bw = new BufferedWriter(fw);
    PrintWriter out = new PrintWriter(bw))
{
    out.println("the text");
    //more code
    out.println("more text");
    //more code
} catch (IOException e) {
    //exception handling left as an exercise for the reader
}

Notes:

  • The second parameter to the FileWriter constructor will tell it to append to the file, rather than writing a new file. (If the file does not exist, it will be created.)
  • Using a BufferedWriter is recommended for an expensive writer (such as FileWriter).
  • Using a PrintWriter gives you access to println syntax that you're probably used to from System.out.
  • But the BufferedWriter and PrintWriter wrappers are not strictly necessary.

Older Java

try {
    PrintWriter out = new PrintWriter(new BufferedWriter(new FileWriter("myfile.txt", true)));
    out.println("the text");
    out.close();
} catch (IOException e) {
    //exception handling left as an exercise for the reader
}

Exception Handling

If you need robust exception handling for older Java, it gets very verbose:

FileWriter fw = null;
BufferedWriter bw = null;
PrintWriter out = null;
try {
    fw = new FileWriter("myfile.txt", true);
    bw = new BufferedWriter(fw);
    out = new PrintWriter(bw);
    out.println("the text");
    out.close();
} catch (IOException e) {
    //exception handling left as an exercise for the reader
}
finally {
    try {
        if(out != null)
            out.close();
    } catch (IOException e) {
        //exception handling left as an exercise for the reader
    }
    try {
        if(bw != null)
            bw.close();
    } catch (IOException e) {
        //exception handling left as an exercise for the reader
    }
    try {
        if(fw != null)
            fw.close();
    } catch (IOException e) {
        //exception handling left as an exercise for the reader
    }
}


You can use fileWriter with a flag set to true , for appending.

try
{
    String filename= "MyFile.txt";
    FileWriter fw = new FileWriter(filename,true); //the true will append the new data
    fw.write("add a line\n");//appends the string to the file
    fw.close();
}
catch(IOException ioe)
{
    System.err.println("IOException: " + ioe.getMessage());
}


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