Go - Read File Into String

1. Introduction

Reading a file into a string is a common operation in many programming tasks. Whether it's for parsing configurations, reading input data, or processing text files, Go provides a simple and efficient way to accomplish this. This post will guide you through reading a file's contents into a string in Go.


Reading a file into a string in Go involves opening the file, reading its contents, and then converting those contents into a string type. Go's ioutil package, although deprecated since Go 1.16, makes this process very straightforward with the ReadFile function. In Go versions 1.16 and later, the same operation is recommended using the os and io packages.

2. Program Steps

1. Open the file using os.Open.

2. Read the file's content into a byte slice using io.ReadAll.

3. Convert the byte slice into a string.

4. Handle any errors that may occur during file operations.

5. Close the file.

3. Code Program

package main

import (

func main() {
	// Step 1: Open the file
	fileName := "example.txt"
	file, err := os.Open(fileName)
	if err != nil {
		log.Fatalf("failed to open file: %s", err)
	defer file.Close() // Ensure the file is closed after reading

	// Step 2 & 3: Read the file's content into a byte slice and convert to string
	data, err := ioutil.ReadAll(file)
	if err != nil {
		log.Fatalf("failed to read file: %s", err)
	content := string(data)

	// Step 4: Print the file content
	fmt.Println("File Content:\n", content)


File Content:
Hello, this is the content of the example.txt file.


1. The os package is used to open the file and the ioutil package to read from it. It is important to note that for Go versions 1.16 and later, it's recommended to use os.ReadFile instead of ioutil.

2. os.Open is called to open the file with the specified fileName.

3. ioutil.ReadAll reads the entire content of the file into a byte slice.

4. defer file.Close() ensures that file.Close will be called at the end of the main function, which is good practice for resource management.

5. The byte slice data is converted to a string with string(data).

6. fmt.Println prints the file content to the console.

7. Error handling is done using log.Fatalf, which prints the error message and immediately stops program execution.

8. The output demonstrates the contents of the file being printed as a string.