Tutorials About
Java Io

1 Java IO Tutorial
2 Java IO Overview
3 Java IO: Files
4 Java IO: Pipes
5 Java IO: Networking
6 Java IO: Byte & Char Arrays
7 Java IO:, System.out, and System.error
8 Java IO: Streams
9 Java IO: Input Parsing
10 Java IO: Readers and Writers
11 Java IO: Concurrent IO
12 Java IO: Exception Handling
13 Java IO: InputStream
14 Java IO: OutputStream
15 Java IO: FileInputStream
16 Java IO: FileOutputStream
17 Java IO: RandomAccessFile
18 Java IO: File
19 Java IO: PipedInputStream
20 Java IO: PipedOutputStream
21 Java IO: ByteArrayInputStream
22 Java IO: ByteArrayOutputStream
23 Java IO: FilterInputStream
24 Java IO: FilterOutputStream
25 Java IO: BufferedInputStream
26 Java IO: BufferedOutputStream
27 Java IO: PushbackInputStream
28 Java IO: SequenceInputStream
29 Java IO: DataInputStream
30 Java IO: DataOutputStream
31 Java IO: PrintStream
32 Java IO: ObjectInputStream
33 Java IO: ObjectOutputStream
34 Java IO: Serializable
35 Java IO: Reader
36 Java IO: Writer
37 Java IO: InputStreamReader
38 Java IO: OutputStreamWriter
39 Java IO: FileReader
40 Java IO: FileWriter
41 Java IO: PipedReader
42 Java IO: PipedWriter
43 Java IO: CharArrayReader
44 Java IO: CharArrayWriter
45 Java IO: BufferedReader
46 Java IO: BufferedWriter
47 Java IO: FilterReader
48 Java IO: FilterWriter
49 Java IO: PushbackReader
50 Java IO: LineNumberReader
51 Java IO: StreamTokenizer
52 Java IO: PrintWriter
53 Java IO: StringReader
54 Java IO: StringWriter

Java IO: RandomAccessFile

The RandomAccessFile class in the Java IO API allows you to move around a file and read from it or write to it as you please. You can replace existing parts of a file too. This is not possible with the FileInputStream or FileOutputStream.

Creating a RandomAccessFile

Before you can work with the RandomAccessFile class you must instantiate it. Here is how that looks:

RandomAccessFile file = new RandomAccessFile("c:\\data\\file.txt", "rw");

Notice the second input parameter to the constructor: "rw". This is the mode you want to open file in. "rw" means read/write mode. Check the JavaDoc for more details about what modes you can open a RandomAccessFile in.

Moving Around a RandomAccessFile

To read or write at a specific location in a RandomAccessFile you must first position the file pointer at the location to read or write. This is done using the seek() method. The current position of the file pointer can be obtained by calling the getFilePointer() method.

Here is a simple example:

RandomAccessFile file = new RandomAccessFile("c:\\data\\file.txt", "rw");;

long pointer = file.getFilePointer();


Reading from a RandomAccessFile

Reading from a RandomAccessFile is done using one of its many read() methods. Here is a simple example:

RandomAccessFile file = new RandomAccessFile("c:\\data\\file.txt", "rw");

int aByte =;


The read() method reads the byte located a the position in the file currently pointed to by the file pointer in the RandomAccessFile instance.

Here is a thing the JavaDoc forgets to mention: The read() method increments the file pointer to point to the next byte in the file after the byte just read! This means that you can continue to call read() without having to manually move the file pointer.

Writing to a RandomAccessFile

Writing to a RandomAccessFile can be done using one it its many write() methods. Here is a simple example:

RandomAccessFile file = new RandomAccessFile("c:\\data\\file.txt", "rw");

file.write("Hello World".getBytes());


Just like with the read() method the write() method advances the file pointer after being called. That way you don't have to constantly move the file pointer to write data to a new location in the file.


The RandomAccessFile has a close() method which must be called when you are done using the RandomAccessFile instance. You can see example of calls to close() in the examples above.

RandomAccessFile Exception Handling

The proper exception handling of a RandomAccessFile is left out of this text for clarity. However, a RandomAccessFile must be closed properly after use, just like with a stream or reader / writer. This requires proper exception handling around the close() call. To lean more, see the text Java IO Exception Handling.

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