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  • No special processing of the data occurs and each byte of data is transferred to or from the disk unprocessed.
  • C Programming Language places no constructs on the file, and it may be read from, or written to, in any manner chosen by the programmer.

Binary files can be either processed sequentially or, depending on the needs of the application, they can be processed using random access techniques. In C Programming Language, processing a file using random access techniques involves moving the current file position to an appropriate place in the file before reading or writing data. This indicates a second characteristic of binary files – they a generally processed using read and write operations simultaneously.

For example, a database file will be created and processed as a binary file. A record update operation will involve locating the appropriate record, reading the record into memory, modifying it in some way, and finally writing the record back to disk at its appropriate location in the file. These kinds of operations are common to many binary files, but are rarely found in applications that process text files.

For all file operations you should always follow the 5-step plan as outlined below.

  1. Declare file pointer.
  2. Attach the file pointer to the file (open file).
  3. Check file opened correctly.
  4. Read or Write the data from or to the file.
  5. Close the file.

Operations on files


In C, we usually create variables of type FILE * to point to a file located on the computer.

FILE *file_pointer_name;


FILE * f1, * f2;

Open files

First things first: we have to open a file to be able to do anything else with it. For this, we use fopen function, like all the I/O functions, is made available by the stdio.h library. The fopen() function prototype is as follows.

FILE *fopen(char *filename, char *mode);

In the above prototype, there are two arguments:

  • filename is a string containing the name of the file to be opened. So if your file sits in the same directory as your C source file, you can simply enter the filename in here - this is probably the one you'll use most.
  • mode determines how the file may be accessed.
Mode Meaning
“r” Open a file for read only, starts at beginning of file (default mode).
“w” Write-only, truncates existing file to zero length or create a new file for writing.
“a” Write-only, starts at end of file if file exists,otherwise creates a new file for writing.
“r+” Open a file for read-write, starts at beginning of file. If the file is not exist, it will cause an error.
“w+” Read-write, truncates existing file to zero length or creates a new file for reading and writing.
“a+” Read-write, starts at end of file if file exists, otherwise creates a new file for reading and writing.

So there are 12 different values that could be used: "rt", "wt", "at", "r+t", "w+t", "a+t" and "rb", "wb", "ab", "r+b", "w+b", "a+b".

Character Type
“t” Text File
“b” Binary File
When work with the text file, you also can use only "r", "w", "a", "r", "w”, "a", instead of "rt", "wt", "at", "r+t", "w+t", "a+t" respectively.

Questions & Answers

how to know photocatalytic properties of tio2 nanoparticles...what to do now
Akash Reply
it is a goid question and i want to know the answer as well
Do somebody tell me a best nano engineering book for beginners?
s. Reply
what is fullerene does it is used to make bukky balls
Devang Reply
are you nano engineer ?
what is the Synthesis, properties,and applications of carbon nano chemistry
Abhijith Reply
Mostly, they use nano carbon for electronics and for materials to be strengthened.
is Bucky paper clear?
so some one know about replacing silicon atom with phosphorous in semiconductors device?
s. Reply
Yeah, it is a pain to say the least. You basically have to heat the substarte up to around 1000 degrees celcius then pass phosphene gas over top of it, which is explosive and toxic by the way, under very low pressure.
Do you know which machine is used to that process?
how to fabricate graphene ink ?
for screen printed electrodes ?
What is lattice structure?
s. Reply
of graphene you mean?
or in general
in general
Graphene has a hexagonal structure
On having this app for quite a bit time, Haven't realised there's a chat room in it.
what is biological synthesis of nanoparticles
Sanket Reply
what's the easiest and fastest way to the synthesize AgNP?
Damian Reply
types of nano material
abeetha Reply
I start with an easy one. carbon nanotubes woven into a long filament like a string
many many of nanotubes
what is the k.e before it land
what is the function of carbon nanotubes?
I'm interested in nanotube
what is nanomaterials​ and their applications of sensors.
Ramkumar Reply
what is nano technology
Sravani Reply
what is system testing?
preparation of nanomaterial
Victor Reply
Yes, Nanotechnology has a very fast field of applications and their is always something new to do with it...
Himanshu Reply
good afternoon madam
what is system testing
what is the application of nanotechnology?
In this morden time nanotechnology used in many field . 1-Electronics-manufacturad IC ,RAM,MRAM,solar panel etc 2-Helth and Medical-Nanomedicine,Drug Dilivery for cancer treatment etc 3- Atomobile -MEMS, Coating on car etc. and may other field for details you can check at Google
anybody can imagine what will be happen after 100 years from now in nano tech world
after 100 year this will be not nanotechnology maybe this technology name will be change . maybe aftet 100 year . we work on electron lable practically about its properties and behaviour by the different instruments
name doesn't matter , whatever it will be change... I'm taking about effect on circumstances of the microscopic world
how hard could it be to apply nanotechnology against viral infections such HIV or Ebola?
silver nanoparticles could handle the job?
not now but maybe in future only AgNP maybe any other nanomaterials
I'm interested in Nanotube
this technology will not going on for the long time , so I'm thinking about femtotechnology 10^-15
can nanotechnology change the direction of the face of the world
Prasenjit Reply
how did you get the value of 2000N.What calculations are needed to arrive at it
Smarajit Reply
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Source:  OpenStax, Introduction to computer science. OpenStax CNX. Jul 29, 2009 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col10776/1.1
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