How to Open and Close Files in Go

1. Introduction

In Go, working with files is a fundamental aspect of many programs. Whether you're reading from a file or writing to one, you need to open the file first, and it's crucial to close it afterward. This blog post will explain how to open and close files in Go using the os package.


Opening a file in Go is done using the os.Open function, which returns a file handle for accessing the file. Closing a file is equally important to free up system resources and is done using the Close method on the file handle.

2. Program Steps

1. Import the os package.

2. Use os.Open to open a file for reading.

3. Check for errors during file opening to handle any issues like file not found.

4. Close the file using the Close method.

5. Use os.Create to create or truncate a file for writing.

6. Write data to the file and close it.

3. Code Program

package main

import (

func main() {
	// Step 2: Open a file for reading
	file, err := os.Open("example.txt")
	if err != nil {
		// Step 3: Handle errors during file opening
		fmt.Println("Error opening file:", err)
	fmt.Println("File opened successfully")

	// Step 4: Close the file
	defer file.Close()

	// Step 5: Use os.Create to create or truncate a file for writing
	outputFile, err := os.Create("output.txt")
	if err != nil {
		fmt.Println("Error creating file:", err)
	fmt.Println("File created successfully")

	// Write a simple string to the file
	_, err = outputFile.WriteString("Hello, Go!\n")
	if err != nil {
		fmt.Println("Error writing to file:", err)
	// Step 4 (repeated): Close the output file
	defer outputFile.Close()


File opened successfully
File created successfully


1. package main - The package declaration for the Go program.

2. import "fmt" and import "os" - Importing packages necessary for formatted output and operating system functionality, respectively.

3. os.Open is used to open "example.txt". If the file does not exist or cannot be opened, an error is returned.

4. If os.Open succeeds, the program prints "File opened successfully".

5. defer file.Close() is used to ensure that file will be closed when the surrounding function main returns, regardless of where it returns.

6. os.Create is used to create or truncate "output.txt". If this process fails, it returns an error.

7. Upon successful creation, the program prints "File created successfully".

8. outputFile.WriteString is used to write a string to outputFile. If writing fails, an error is returned.

9. defer outputFile.Close() ensures that outputFile will be closed at the end of the program's execution, similar to file.Close().

10. The output shows the success messages for opening and creating files. Errors in opening, creating, or writing to the file would result in an error message and early return from the main function.