Create, write, and read a file

Important APIs

Read and write a file using a StorageFile object.

Note

 For a complete sample, see the File access sample.

Prerequisites

Creating a file

Here's how to create a file in the app's local folder. If it already exists, we replace it.

// Create sample file; replace if exists.
Windows.Storage.StorageFolder storageFolder =
    Windows.Storage.ApplicationData.Current.LocalFolder;
Windows.Storage.StorageFile sampleFile =
    await storageFolder.CreateFileAsync("sample.txt",
        Windows.Storage.CreationCollisionOption.ReplaceExisting);
// MainPage.h
#include <winrt/Windows.Storage.h>
...
Windows::Foundation::IAsyncAction ExampleCoroutineAsync()
{
    // Create a sample file; replace if exists.
    Windows::Storage::StorageFolder storageFolder{ Windows::Storage::ApplicationData::Current().LocalFolder() };
    co_await storageFolder.CreateFileAsync(L"sample.txt", Windows::Storage::CreationCollisionOption::ReplaceExisting);
}
// Create a sample file; replace if exists.
StorageFolder^ storageFolder = ApplicationData::Current->LocalFolder;
concurrency::create_task(storageFolder->CreateFileAsync("sample.txt", CreationCollisionOption::ReplaceExisting));
' Create sample file; replace if exists.
Dim storageFolder As StorageFolder = Windows.Storage.ApplicationData.Current.LocalFolder
Dim sampleFile As StorageFile = Await storageFolder.CreateFileAsync("sample.txt", CreationCollisionOption.ReplaceExisting)

Writing to a file

Here's how to write to a writable file on disk using the StorageFile class. The common first step for each of the ways of writing to a file (unless you're writing to the file immediately after creating it) is to get the file with StorageFolder.GetFileAsync.

Windows.Storage.StorageFolder storageFolder =
    Windows.Storage.ApplicationData.Current.LocalFolder;
Windows.Storage.StorageFile sampleFile =
    await storageFolder.GetFileAsync("sample.txt");
// MainPage.h
#include <winrt/Windows.Storage.h>
...
Windows::Foundation::IAsyncAction ExampleCoroutineAsync()
{
    Windows::Storage::StorageFolder storageFolder{ Windows::Storage::ApplicationData::Current().LocalFolder() };
    auto sampleFile{ co_await storageFolder.CreateFileAsync(L"sample.txt", Windows::Storage::CreationCollisionOption::ReplaceExisting) };
    // Process sampleFile
}
StorageFolder^ storageFolder = ApplicationData::Current->LocalFolder;
create_task(storageFolder->GetFileAsync("sample.txt")).then([](StorageFile^ sampleFile) 
{
    // Process file
});
Dim storageFolder As StorageFolder = Windows.Storage.ApplicationData.Current.LocalFolder
Dim sampleFile As StorageFile = Await storageFolder.GetFileAsync("sample.txt")

Writing text to a file

Write text to your file by calling the FileIO.WriteTextAsync method.

await Windows.Storage.FileIO.WriteTextAsync(sampleFile, "Swift as a shadow");
// MainPage.h
#include <winrt/Windows.Storage.h>
...
Windows::Foundation::IAsyncAction ExampleCoroutineAsync()
{
    Windows::Storage::StorageFolder storageFolder{ Windows::Storage::ApplicationData::Current().LocalFolder() };
    auto sampleFile{ co_await storageFolder.GetFileAsync(L"sample.txt") };
    // Write text to the file.
    co_await Windows::Storage::FileIO::WriteTextAsync(sampleFile, L"Swift as a shadow");
}
StorageFolder^ storageFolder = ApplicationData::Current->LocalFolder;
create_task(storageFolder->GetFileAsync("sample.txt")).then([](StorageFile^ sampleFile) 
{
    //Write text to a file
    create_task(FileIO::WriteTextAsync(sampleFile, "Swift as a shadow"));
});
Await Windows.Storage.FileIO.WriteTextAsync(sampleFile, "Swift as a shadow")

Writing bytes to a file by using a buffer (2 steps)

  1. First, call CryptographicBuffer.ConvertStringToBinary to get a buffer of the bytes (based on a string) that you want to write to your file.

    var buffer = Windows.Security.Cryptography.CryptographicBuffer.ConvertStringToBinary(
        "What fools these mortals be", Windows.Security.Cryptography.BinaryStringEncoding.Utf8);
    
    // MainPage.h
    #include <winrt/Windows.Security.Cryptography.h>
    #include <winrt/Windows.Storage.h>
    #include <winrt/Windows.Storage.Streams.h>
    ...
    Windows::Foundation::IAsyncAction ExampleCoroutineAsync()
    {
        Windows::Storage::StorageFolder storageFolder{ Windows::Storage::ApplicationData::Current().LocalFolder() };
        auto sampleFile{ co_await storageFolder.GetFileAsync(L"sample.txt") };
        // Create the buffer.
        Windows::Storage::Streams::IBuffer buffer{
            Windows::Security::Cryptography::CryptographicBuffer::ConvertStringToBinary(
                L"What fools these mortals be", Windows::Security::Cryptography::BinaryStringEncoding::Utf8)};
        // The code in step 2 goes here.
    }
    
    StorageFolder^ storageFolder = ApplicationData::Current->LocalFolder;
    create_task(storageFolder->GetFileAsync("sample.txt")).then([](StorageFile^ sampleFile)
    {
        // Create the buffer
        IBuffer^ buffer = CryptographicBuffer::ConvertStringToBinary
        ("What fools these mortals be", BinaryStringEncoding::Utf8);
    });
    
    Dim buffer = Windows.Security.Cryptography.CryptographicBuffer.ConvertStringToBinary(
        "What fools these mortals be",
        Windows.Security.Cryptography.BinaryStringEncoding.Utf8)
    
  2. Then write the bytes from your buffer to your file by calling the FileIO.WriteBufferAsync method.

    await Windows.Storage.FileIO.WriteBufferAsync(sampleFile, buffer);
    
    co_await Windows::Storage::FileIO::WriteBufferAsync(sampleFile, buffer);
    
    StorageFolder^ storageFolder = ApplicationData::Current->LocalFolder;
    create_task(storageFolder->GetFileAsync("sample.txt")).then([](StorageFile^ sampleFile)
    {
        // Create the buffer
        IBuffer^ buffer = CryptographicBuffer::ConvertStringToBinary
        ("What fools these mortals be", BinaryStringEncoding::Utf8);      
        // Write bytes to a file using a buffer
        create_task(FileIO::WriteBufferAsync(sampleFile, buffer));
    });
    
    Await Windows.Storage.FileIO.WriteBufferAsync(sampleFile, buffer)
    

Writing text to a file by using a stream (4 steps)

  1. First, open the file by calling the StorageFile.OpenAsync method. It returns a stream of the file's content when the open operation completes.

    var stream = await sampleFile.OpenAsync(Windows.Storage.FileAccessMode.ReadWrite);
    
    // MainPage.h
    #include <winrt/Windows.Storage.h>
    #include <winrt/Windows.Storage.Streams.h>
    ...
    Windows::Foundation::IAsyncAction ExampleCoroutineAsync()
    {
        Windows::Storage::StorageFolder storageFolder{ Windows::Storage::ApplicationData::Current().LocalFolder() };
        auto sampleFile{ co_await storageFolder.GetFileAsync(L"sample.txt") };
        Windows::Storage::Streams::IRandomAccessStream stream{ co_await sampleFile.OpenAsync(Windows::Storage::FileAccessMode::ReadWrite) };
        // The code in step 2 goes here.
    }
    
    StorageFolder^ storageFolder = ApplicationData::Current->LocalFolder;
    create_task(storageFolder->GetFileAsync("sample.txt")).then([](StorageFile^ sampleFile)
    {
        create_task(sampleFile->OpenAsync(FileAccessMode::ReadWrite)).then([sampleFile](IRandomAccessStream^ stream)
        {
            // Process stream
        });
    });
    
    Dim stream = Await sampleFile.OpenAsync(Windows.Storage.FileAccessMode.ReadWrite)
    
  2. Next, get an output stream by calling the IRandomAccessStream.GetOutputStreamAt method from the stream. If you're using C#, then enclose this in a using statement to manage the output stream's lifetime. If you're using C++/WinRT, then you can control its lifetime by enclosing it in a block, or setting it to nullptr when you're done with it.

    using (var outputStream = stream.GetOutputStreamAt(0))
    {
        // We'll add more code here in the next step.
    }
    stream.Dispose(); // Or use the stream variable (see previous code snippet) with a using statement as well.
    
    Windows::Storage::Streams::IOutputStream outputStream{ stream.GetOutputStreamAt(0) };
    // The code in step 3 goes here.
    
    // Add to "Process stream" in part 1
    IOutputStream^ outputStream = stream->GetOutputStreamAt(0);
    
    Using outputStream = stream.GetOutputStreamAt(0)
    ' We'll add more code here in the next step.
    End Using
    
  3. Now add this code (if you're using C#, within the existing using statement) to write to the output stream by creating a new DataWriter object and calling the DataWriter.WriteString method.

    using (var dataWriter = new Windows.Storage.Streams.DataWriter(outputStream))
    {
        dataWriter.WriteString("DataWriter has methods to write to various types, such as DataTimeOffset.");
    }
    
    Windows::Storage::Streams::DataWriter dataWriter;
    dataWriter.WriteString(L"DataWriter has methods to write to various types, such as DataTimeOffset.");
    // The code in step 4 goes here.
    
    // Added after code from part 2
    DataWriter^ dataWriter = ref new DataWriter(outputStream);
    dataWriter->WriteString("DataWriter has methods to write to various types, such as DataTimeOffset.");
    
    Dim dataWriter As New DataWriter(outputStream)
    dataWriter.WriteString("DataWriter has methods to write to various types, such as DataTimeOffset.")
    
  4. Lastly, add this code (if you're using C#, within the inner using statement) to save the text to your file with DataWriter.StoreAsync and close the stream with IOutputStream.FlushAsync.

    await dataWriter.StoreAsync();
    await outputStream.FlushAsync();
    
    dataWriter.StoreAsync();
    outputStream.FlushAsync();
    
    // Added after code from part 3
    dataWriter->StoreAsync();
    outputStream->FlushAsync();
    
    Await dataWriter.StoreAsync()
    Await outputStream.FlushAsync()
    

Reading from a file

Here's how to read from a file on disk using the StorageFile class. The common first step for each of the ways of reading from a file is to get the file with StorageFolder.GetFileAsync.

Windows.Storage.StorageFolder storageFolder =
    Windows.Storage.ApplicationData.Current.LocalFolder;
Windows.Storage.StorageFile sampleFile =
    await storageFolder.GetFileAsync("sample.txt");
Windows::Storage::StorageFolder storageFolder{ Windows::Storage::ApplicationData::Current().LocalFolder() };
auto sampleFile{ co_await storageFolder.GetFileAsync(L"sample.txt") };
// Process file
StorageFolder^ storageFolder = ApplicationData::Current->LocalFolder;
create_task(storageFolder->GetFileAsync("sample.txt")).then([](StorageFile^ sampleFile)
{
    // Process file
});
Dim storageFolder As StorageFolder = Windows.Storage.ApplicationData.Current.LocalFolder
Dim sampleFile As StorageFile = Await storageFolder.GetFileAsync("sample.txt")

Reading text from a file

Read text from your file by calling the FileIO.ReadTextAsync method.

string text = await Windows.Storage.FileIO.ReadTextAsync(sampleFile);
Windows::Foundation::IAsyncOperation<winrt::hstring> ExampleCoroutineAsync()
{
    Windows::Storage::StorageFolder storageFolder{ Windows::Storage::ApplicationData::Current().LocalFolder() };
    auto sampleFile{ co_await storageFolder.GetFileAsync(L"sample.txt") };
    co_return co_await Windows::Storage::FileIO::ReadTextAsync(sampleFile);
}
StorageFolder^ storageFolder = ApplicationData::Current->LocalFolder;
create_task(storageFolder->GetFileAsync("sample.txt")).then([](StorageFile^ sampleFile)
{
    return FileIO::ReadTextAsync(sampleFile);
});
Dim text As String = Await Windows.Storage.FileIO.ReadTextAsync(sampleFile)

Reading text from a file by using a buffer (2 steps)

  1. First, call the FileIO.ReadBufferAsync method.

    var buffer = await Windows.Storage.FileIO.ReadBufferAsync(sampleFile);
    
    Windows::Storage::StorageFolder storageFolder{ Windows::Storage::ApplicationData::Current().LocalFolder() };
    auto sampleFile{ co_await storageFolder.GetFileAsync(L"sample.txt") };
    Windows::Storage::Streams::IBuffer buffer{ co_await Windows::Storage::FileIO::ReadBufferAsync(sampleFile) };
    // The code in step 2 goes here.
    
    StorageFolder^ storageFolder = ApplicationData::Current->LocalFolder;
    create_task(storageFolder->GetFileAsync("sample.txt")).then([](StorageFile^ sampleFile)
    {
        return FileIO::ReadBufferAsync(sampleFile);
    
    }).then([](Streams::IBuffer^ buffer)
    {
        // Process buffer
    });
    
    Dim buffer = Await Windows.Storage.FileIO.ReadBufferAsync(sampleFile)
    
  2. Then use a DataReader object to read first the length of the buffer and then its contents.

    using (var dataReader = Windows.Storage.Streams.DataReader.FromBuffer(buffer))
    {
        string text = dataReader.ReadString(buffer.Length);
    }
    
    auto dataReader{ Windows::Storage::Streams::DataReader::FromBuffer(buffer) };
    winrt::hstring bufferText{ dataReader.ReadString(buffer.Length()) };
    
    // Add to "Process buffer" section from part 1
    auto dataReader = DataReader::FromBuffer(buffer);
    String^ bufferText = dataReader->ReadString(buffer->Length);
    
    Dim dataReader As DataReader = Windows.Storage.Streams.DataReader.FromBuffer(buffer)
    Dim text As String = dataReader.ReadString(buffer.Length)
    

Reading text from a file by using a stream (4 steps)

  1. Open a stream for your file by calling the StorageFile.OpenAsync method. It returns a stream of the file's content when the operation completes.

    var stream = await sampleFile.OpenAsync(Windows.Storage.FileAccessMode.Read);
    
    Windows::Storage::StorageFolder storageFolder{ Windows::Storage::ApplicationData::Current().LocalFolder() };
    auto sampleFile{ co_await storageFolder.GetFileAsync(L"sample.txt") };
    Windows::Storage::Streams::IRandomAccessStream stream{ co_await sampleFile.OpenAsync(Windows::Storage::FileAccessMode::Read) };
    // The code in step 2 goes here.
    
    StorageFolder^ storageFolder = ApplicationData::Current->LocalFolder;
    create_task(storageFolder->GetFileAsync("sample.txt")).then([](StorageFile^ sampleFile)
    {
        create_task(sampleFile->OpenAsync(FileAccessMode::Read)).then([sampleFile](IRandomAccessStream^ stream)
        {
            // Process stream
        });
    });
    
    Dim stream = Await sampleFile.OpenAsync(Windows.Storage.FileAccessMode.Read)
    
  2. Get the size of the stream to use later.

    ulong size = stream.Size;
    
    uint64_t size{ stream.Size() };
    // The code in step 3 goes here.
    
    // Add to "Process stream" from part 1
    UINT64 size = stream->Size;
    
    Dim size = stream.Size
    
  3. Get an input stream by calling the IRandomAccessStream.GetInputStreamAt method. Put this in a using statement to manage the stream's lifetime. Specify 0 when you call GetInputStreamAt to set the position to the beginning of the stream.

    using (var inputStream = stream.GetInputStreamAt(0))
    {
        // We'll add more code here in the next step.
    }
    
    Windows::Storage::Streams::IInputStream inputStream{ stream.GetInputStreamAt(0) };
    Windows::Storage::Streams::DataReader dataReader{ inputStream };
    // The code in step 4 goes here.
    
    // Add after code from part 2
    IInputStream^ inputStream = stream->GetInputStreamAt(0);
    auto dataReader = ref new DataReader(inputStream);
    
    Using inputStream = stream.GetInputStreamAt(0)
    ' We'll add more code here in the next step.
    End Using
    
  4. Lastly, add this code within the existing using statement to get a DataReader object on the stream then read the text by calling DataReader.LoadAsync and DataReader.ReadString.

    using (var dataReader = new Windows.Storage.Streams.DataReader(inputStream))
    {
        uint numBytesLoaded = await dataReader.LoadAsync((uint)size);
        string text = dataReader.ReadString(numBytesLoaded);
    }
    
    unsigned int cBytesLoaded{ co_await dataReader.LoadAsync(size) };
    winrt::hstring streamText{ dataReader.ReadString(cBytesLoaded) };
    
    // Add after code from part 3
    create_task(dataReader->LoadAsync(size)).then([sampleFile, dataReader](unsigned int numBytesLoaded)
    {
        String^ streamText = dataReader->ReadString(numBytesLoaded);
    });
    
    Dim dataReader As New DataReader(inputStream)
    Dim numBytesLoaded As UInteger = Await dataReader.LoadAsync(CUInt(size))
    Dim text As String = dataReader.ReadString(numBytesLoaded)