Correct way to write line to file? – Dev

The best answers to the question “Correct way to write line to file?” in the category Dev.


I’m used to doing print >>f, "hi there"

However, it seems that print >> is getting deprecated. What is the recommended way to do the line above?

Regarding all those answers with "\n"…is this universal or Unix-specific? IE, should I be doing "\r\n" on Windows?


You should use the print() function which is available since Python 2.6+

from __future__ import print_function  # Only needed for Python 2
print("hi there", file=f)

For Python 3 you don’t need the import, since the print() function is the default.

The alternative would be to use:

f = open('myfile', 'w')
f.write('hi there\n')  # python will convert \n to os.linesep
f.close()  # you can omit in most cases as the destructor will call it

Quoting from Python documentation regarding newlines:

On output, if newline is None, any '\n' characters written are translated to the system default line separator, os.linesep. If newline is '', no translation takes place. If newline is any of the other legal values, any '\n' characters written are translated to the given string.


This should be as simple as:

with open('somefile.txt', 'a') as the_file:

From The Documentation:

Do not use os.linesep as a line terminator when writing files opened in text mode (the default); use a single ‘\n’ instead, on all platforms.

Some useful reading:

  • The with statement
  • open()
    • ‘a’ is for append, or use
    • ‘w’ to write with truncation
  • os (particularly os.linesep)


Regarding os.linesep:

Here is an exact unedited Python 2.7.1 interpreter session on Windows:

Python 2.7.1 (r271:86832, Nov 27 2010, 18:30:46) [MSC v.1500 32 bit (Intel)] on
Type "help", "copyright", "credits" or "license" for more information.
>>> import os
>>> os.linesep
>>> f = open('myfile','w')
>>> f.write('hi there\n')
>>> f.write('hi there' + os.linesep) # same result as previous line ?????????
>>> f.close()
>>> open('myfile', 'rb').read()
'hi there\r\nhi there\r\r\n'

On Windows:

As expected, os.linesep does NOT produce the same outcome as '\n'. There is no way that it could produce the same outcome. 'hi there' + os.linesep is equivalent to 'hi there\r\n', which is NOT equivalent to 'hi there\n'.

It’s this simple: use \n which will be translated automatically to os.linesep. And it’s been that simple ever since the first port of Python to Windows.

There is no point in using os.linesep on non-Windows systems, and it produces wrong results on Windows.

DO NOT USE os.linesep!


The python docs recommend this way:

with open('file_to_write', 'w') as f:
    f.write('file contents\n')

So this is the way I usually do it 🙂

Statement from

It is good practice to use the ‘with’ keyword when dealing with file
objects. This has the advantage that the file is properly closed after
its suite finishes, even if an exception is raised on the way. It is
also much shorter than writing equivalent try-finally blocks.