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Read line from file, keeping newline characters



tline = fgets(fileID) reads the next line of the specified file, including the newline characters.

tline = fgets(fileID,nchar) returns up to nchar characters of the next line.

[tline,ltout] = fgets(___) also returns the line terminators, if any, in ltout.


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Read a single line from a file, first excluding newline characters, and then including them. Use the following file.

To read the first line from the file badpoem.txt, use fopen to open the file. Then read the first line using fgetl, which excludes the newline character.

fid = fopen('badpoem.txt');
line_ex = fgetl(fid)  % read line excluding newline character
line_ex = 
'Oranges and lemons,'

To reread the same line from the file, first reset the read position indicator back to the beginning of the file.


Use the fgets function to read the first line from the file badpoem.txt, which reads the line including the newline character.

line_in = fgets(fid) % read line including newline character
line_in = 
    'Oranges and lemons,

Compare the output by examining the lengths of the lines returned by the fgetl and fgets functions.

ans = 19
ans = 20

fgetl returns an output that displays in one line, while fgets returns an output that includes the newline character and, therefore, displays it in two lines.

line_ex = 
'Oranges and lemons,'
line_in = 
    'Oranges and lemons,

Close the file.


Input Arguments

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File identifier of an open file, specified as an integer. Before using fgets to read a line from the file, you must use fopen to open the file and obtain its fileID.

Data Types: double

Number of characters to read from the next line, specified as an integer. fgets returns at most nchar characters of the next line. If the number of characters specified by nchar includes characters beyond the newline character or the end-of-file marker, then fgets does not return any characters beyond the new line character or the end-of-file marker.

Data Types: double

Output Arguments

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Next line in file, returned as a character vector or numeric scalar.

  • If the file is nonempty, then fgets returns tline as a character vector.

  • If the file is empty and contains only the end-of-file marker, then fgets returns tline as a numeric value -1.

Line terminators, returned as an integer.

The integers from 0 to 65535 correspond to Unicode®characters. You can convert integers to their corresponding Unicode representations using the char function.


  • tline does not include any characters after the newline characters or the end-of-file marker.

  • fgets reads characters using the encoding scheme associated with the file. To specify the encoding scheme, use fopen.

Extended Capabilities

Version History

Introduced before R2006a

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