Java FileOutputStream

FileOutputStream class in Java is used to write binary data to the file. It is a subclass of OutputStream class and it is available from java 1.0 version onwards. It is used to writing data into a file in a binary format one byte at a time. These data can be number, character, boolean, image e.t.c.

public class FileOutputStream
extends OutputStream

Since FileOutputStream is a connection based, where one end is a Java application and another end is a File. We must always pass the file information to the constructor. Therefore, it doesn’t contain a 0 parameter constructor.

Differenent constructors in Java FileOutputStream class are,

  • public FileOutputStream(String name) throws FileNotFoundException
  • public FileOutputStream(File file) throws FileNotFoundException
  • public FileOutputStream(FileDescriptior file) throws FileNotFoundException
  • public FileOutputStream(String name, boolean append) throws FileNotFoundException
  • public FileOutputStream(File file, boolean append) throws FileNotFoundException

The constructor having only one parameter will write data in the file from the beginning. If we want to append the file, instead of overriding then we must use constructors having two parameters. If we pass append as true then existing data of the file won’t be overridden and new data will be written from the end of the file. But if we pass append as false then it is similar to the one-parameter constructor without append values which will override the existing data.

If the file is not available then the FileOutputStream class constructors itself creates the new file. But these constructors are throwing FileNotFoundException not because the file is not available but because of the below reasons,
1) file doesn’t exist and doesn’t have file creation permission.
2) The passed file name is a directory or folder rather than a regular file.
3) File is available but writing permission is not there i.e. it is a read-only file.

Generally in C drive of Windows OS we can create folder/directory only, not the file. Similarly in Linux we can’t create file in another user.

Methods of FileOutputStream

FileOutputStream is a subclass of OutputStream, so all its superclass methods are inherited from it. The important methods are given below. All these methods throw IOException if an input/output occurs.

Method & return typeDescription
void write(int b)It writes the specified byte to this file output stream.
void write(byte b[])It writes b.length bytes from the specified byte array to this file output stream.
void write(byte b[], int off, int len)Writes len bytes from the specified byte array starting at offset off to the file output stream.
void close()Closes this file output stream and releases any system resources associated with this stream.

Other Methods are,

  • public FileChannel getChannel()
  • public final FileDescriptor getFD() throws IOException

Java FileOutputStream Example

Steps to writing binary data into a file using FileOutputStream

1) Import package or required classes
2) Create FileOutputStream class object, let us say it variable name is fos
3) Invoke fos.write(data) method to store the data
5) Call fos.close() method to close the stream and release the system resources
6) Handle IOException and FileNotFoundException

public class FileOutputStreamDemo {

   public static void main(String[] args) 
     throws FileNotFoundException, IOException {

      // create FileOutputStream class object
      FileOutputStream fos = new FileOutputStream("output.txt");

      // write data to the file
      int n1 = 97;

      // to store string, convert it into byteArray
      String s = "Hello, World!";

      // display some message (optional)
      System.out.print("Data is saved");

      // close stream

After executing the Java program, the data in output.txt is,

abHello, World!

In this program, if the abc.txt file is not already available then the constructor won’t give an Exception rather it creates the abc.txt file itself. But if it is already available then it will override. If we the same program once again then existing data will be overridden.

By default, FileOutputStream opens the connection in override mode. If we want to append the file then we must use 2 parameter constructors, and pass true as the second parameter value.

FileOutputStream fos = new FileOutputStream(“abc.txt”, true);
// file connected in append mode

We are saying that FileOutputStream is used to write data in binary form, but when we open the output.txt file then it is display characters or text data, how? While the execution of the program, the write() method converts given data to byte format and write that data. Actually, data is stored in binary form, but when we use any text editor to open the file then the text editor converts them to correspondence ASCII character. For example, the ASCII value of ‘#’ is 35, and ‘$’ is 36.

// Output:-

Limitation of Java FileOutputStream

1) It write data only in one byte format. It is not possible to write data in the format of primitive or objects.

We can write 97 as byte, short, int, long, char, float, double data type, which requires different bytes. But when we pass 97 in any data type format to the write method then it will be written in only one byte. If the passed value exceeds the range of byte data type, then it will be typecast to byte and then written. For example byte 256 is the maximum range of byte, but if we try to write 353, (i.e. 256 + 97), then it will be typecast and 97 will be stored.

// 256 + 48 = 304
// 256 + 65 = 321
// 256 + 97 = 353



2) Using FileOutputStream we can’t write long, float, double, boolean, String values directly.

fos.write(50L); // error
fos.write(9.9); // error
fos.write(true); // error
fos.write("Hello"); // error

To save data in primitive values we must save data using DataOutputStream, similarly to store data as Object we must use ObjectOutputStream class.

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