The wxTextFile is a simple class which allows to work with text files on line by line basis. It also understands the differences in line termination characters under different platforms and will not do anything bad to files with "non native" line termination sequences - in fact, it can be also used to modify the text files and change the line termination characters from one type (say DOS) to another (say Unix).
One word of warning: the class is not at all optimized for big files and thus it will load the file entirely into memory when opened. Of course, you should not work in this way with large files (as an estimation, anything over 1 Megabyte is surely too big for this class). On the other hand, it is not a serious limitation for small files like configuration files or program sources which are well handled by wxTextFile.
The typical things you may do with wxTextFile in order are:

Derived from

No base class

Include files


Data structures

The following constants identify the line termination type:
enum wxTextFileType
    wxTextFileType_None,  // incomplete (the last line of the file only)
    wxTextFileType_Unix,  // line is terminated with 'LF' = 0xA = 10 = '\n'
    wxTextFileType_Dos,   //                         'CR' 'LF'
    wxTextFileType_Mac    //                         'CR' = 0xD = 13 = '\r'

See also




wxTextFile() const
Default constructor, use Create or Open with a file name parameter to initialize the object.


wxTextFile(const wxString& strFile) const
Constructor does not load the file into memory, use Open() to do it.


~wxTextFile() const
Destructor does nothing.


void AddLine(const wxString& str, wxTextFileType type = typeDefault) const
Adds a line to the end of file.


bool Close() const
Closes the file and frees memory, losing all changes. Use Write() if you want to save them.


bool Create() const
bool Create(const wxString& strFile) const
Creates the file with the given name or the name which was given in the constructor. The array of file lines is initially empty.
It will fail if the file already exists, Open should be used in this case.


bool Exists() const
Return true if file exists - the name of the file should have been specified in the constructor before calling Exists().


bool IsOpened() const
Returns true if the file is currently opened.


size_t GetLineCount() const
Get the number of lines in the file.


wxString& GetLine(size_t n) const
Retrieves the line number n from the file. The returned line may be modified but you shouldn't add line terminator at the end - this will be done by wxTextFile.


wxString& operator[](size_t n) const
The same as GetLine.


size_t GetCurrentLine() const
Returns the current line: it has meaning only when you're using GetFirstLine()/GetNextLine() functions, it doesn't get updated when you're using "direct access" functions like GetLine(). GetFirstLine() and GetLastLine() also change the value of the current line, as well as GoToLine().


void GoToLine(size_t n) const
Changes the value returned by GetCurrentLine and used by GetFirstLine()/GetNextLine().


bool Eof() const
Returns true if the current line is the last one.


static const char* GetEOL(wxTextFileType type = typeDefault) const
Get the line termination string corresponding to given constant. typeDefault is the value defined during the compilation and corresponds to the native format of the platform, i.e. it will be wxTextFileType_Dos under Windows, wxTextFileType_Unix under Unix (including Mac OS X when compiling with the Apple Developer Tools) and wxTextFileType_Mac under Mac OS (including Mac OS X when compiling with CodeWarrior).


wxString& GetFirstLine() const
This method together with GetNextLine() allows more "iterator-like" traversal of the list of lines, i.e. you may write something like:
wxTextFile file;
for ( str = file.GetFirstLine(); !file.Eof(); str = file.GetNextLine() )
    // do something with the current line in str
// do something with the last line in str


wxString& GetNextLine()
Gets the next line (see GetFirstLine for the example).


wxString& GetPrevLine()
Gets the previous line in the file.


wxString& GetLastLine()
Gets the last line of the file. Together with GetPrevLine it allows to enumerate the lines in the file from the end to the beginning like this:
wxTextFile file;
for ( str = file.GetLastLine();
      file.GetCurrentLine() > 0;
      str = file.GetPrevLine() )
    // do something with the current line in str
// do something with the first line in str


wxTextFileType GetLineType(size_t n) const
Get the type of the line (see also GetEOL)


wxTextFileType GuessType() const
Guess the type of file (which is supposed to be opened). If sufficiently many lines of the file are in DOS/Unix/Mac format, the corresponding value will be returned. If the detection mechanism fails wxTextFileType_None is returned.


const char* GetName() const
Get the name of the file.


void InsertLine(const wxString& str, size_t n, wxTextFileType type = typeDefault) const
Insert a line before the line number n.


bool Open(wxMBConv& conv = wxConvUTF8) const
bool Open(const wxString& strFile, wxMBConv& conv = wxConvUTF8) const
Open() opens the file with the given name or the name which was given in the constructor and also loads file in memory on success. It will fail if the file does not exist, Create should be used in this case.
The conv argument is only meaningful in Unicode build of wxWidgets when it is used to convert the file to wide character representation.


void RemoveLine(size_t n) const
Delete line number n from the file.


void Clear() const
Delete all lines from the file, set current line number to 0.


bool Write(wxTextFileType typeNew = wxTextFileType_None, wxMBConv& conv = wxConvUTF8) const
Change the file on disk. The typeNew parameter allows you to change the file format (default argument means "don't change type") and may be used to convert, for example, DOS files to Unix.
The conv argument is only meaningful in Unicode build of wxWidgets when it is used to convert all lines to multibyte representation before writing them them to physical file.
Returns true if operation succeeded, false if it failed.