Java – How to read a large text file line by line using Java


I need to read a large text file of around 5-6 GB line by line using Java.

How can I do this quickly?

Best Solution

A common pattern is to use

try (BufferedReader br = new BufferedReader(new FileReader(file))) {
    String line;
    while ((line = br.readLine()) != null) {
       // process the line.

You can read the data faster if you assume there is no character encoding. e.g. ASCII-7 but it won't make much difference. It is highly likely that what you do with the data will take much longer.

EDIT: A less common pattern to use which avoids the scope of line leaking.

try(BufferedReader br = new BufferedReader(new FileReader(file))) {
    for(String line; (line = br.readLine()) != null; ) {
        // process the line.
    // line is not visible here.

UPDATE: In Java 8 you can do

try (Stream<String> stream = Files.lines(Paths.get(fileName))) {

NOTE: You have to place the Stream in a try-with-resource block to ensure the #close method is called on it, otherwise the underlying file handle is never closed until GC does it much later.