Background & Context

    • Column of numbers or strings.
    • Stores a list of numbers or strings as lines.
    • Plain text format.
    • Is essentially a single-column version of the "Table" format.

Import & Export

  • Import["file","List"] imports a text file, returning each line as a string or a number.
  • Export["file",list,"List"] writes any list as a column of numbers or strings.
  • Import["file","List"] returns a list of strings or numbers, each representing a line of file.
  • Export["file",list,"List"] exports list as a column, writing the CForm of each element as a separate line.
  • Import["file",{"List",elem} ] imports the specified element from a "List" file.
  • Import["file",{"List",elem,suba,subb,}] imports a subelement.
  • Import["file",{"List",{elem1,elem2,}}] imports multiple elements.
  • The format "List" must be explicitly given.
  • Export["file",expr, {"List",elem}] creates a "List" file by treating expr as specifying element elem.
  • Export["file",{expr1,expr2,},{"List",{elem1,elem2,}}] treats each expri as specifying the corresponding elemi.
  • Export["file",expr,"List",opt1->val1,] exports expr with the specified option elements taken to have the specified values.
  • Export["file",{elem1->expr1,elem2->expr2,},{"List","Rules"}] uses rules to specify the elements to be exported.
  • See the following reference pages for full general information:
  • Import, Exportimport from or export to a file
    CloudImport, CloudExportimport from or export to a cloud object
    ImportString, ExportStringimport from or export to a string
    ImportByteArray, ExportByteArrayimport from or export to a byte array

Import Elements

  • General Import elements:
  • "Elements" list of elements and options available in this file
    "Summary"summary of the file
    "Rules"list of rules for all available elements
  • Data representation elements:
  • "Data"list of numbers or strings, each representing a line
    "Grid"list data as a Grid object
  • Import and Export use the "Data" element by default.


  • Import and Export option:
  • "EmptyField"""how to represent empty fields
  • Import options:
  • CharacterEncoding"ISOLatin1"raw character encoding used in the file
    "CurrencyTokens"{{"$", "£", "¥", "€"}, {"c", "¢", "p", "F"}}currency units to be skipped when importing numerical values
    "DateStringFormat"Nonedate format, given as a DateString specification
    "HeaderLines"0number of lines to skip at the beginning of the file
    "IgnoreEmptyLines"Falsewhether to ignore empty lines
    "LineSeparators"{"r\n","n","\r"}string tokens taken to separate list elements
    "NumberPoint""."string to use for a decimal point
    "NumberSigns"{"-","+"}strings to use for signs of negative and positive numbers
    "Numeric"Truewhether to import data fields as numbers if possible
  • With CharacterEncoding -> Automatic, Import will attempt to infer the character encoding of the file.
  • Import converts table entries formatted as specified by the "DateStringFormat" option to a DateList representation of the form {y,m,d,h,m,s}.
  • Empty lines and lines containing only whitespace characters are converted to an empty string by default. With "IgnoreEmptyLines" set to True, Import will skip empty lines.
  • With "Numeric"->False, numbers will be imported as strings in the form they appear in the file.
  • All common conventions for the encoding of newline characters are recognized with the default setting of "LineSeparators".
  • General Export options:
  • AlignmentNonehow data is aligned within table columns
    CharacterEncoding"UTF8"raw character encoding used in the file
  • Possible settings for Alignment are None, Left, Center, and Right.


Basic Examples  (4)

Import a text file as a list of strings:

Import converts records to integers or reals if possible:

Currency symbols are automatically omitted when importing as a list:

Export a list of numbers using the "List" format: