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Python – Check if a file or directory exists

  • Last Updated : 06 May, 2021

Sometimes the need to check whether a directory or file exists or not becomes important because maybe you want to prevent overwriting to the already existing file, or maybe you want to make sure that the file is available or not before loading it. 
There are various ways to check that a file or directory already exists or not. They are – 
 

 

Using os.path.exists()

OS module in Python provides functions for interacting with the operating system. OS comes under Python’s standard utility modules. This module provides a portable way of using operating system dependent functionality. os.path module is a submodule of OS module in Python used for common path name manipulation.
Note: To know more about the OS module click here.
os.path.exists() method in Python is used to check whether the specified path exists or not. This method can be also used to check whether the given path refers to an open file descriptor or not.
 

Syntax: os.path.exists(path)
Parameter: 
path: A path-like object representing a file system path. A path-like object is either a string or bytes object representing a path.
Return Type: This method returns a Boolean value of class bool. This method returns True if path exists otherwise returns False. 
 

Example: 



Python3




# Python program to explain os.path.exists() method 
     
# importing os module 
import os
   
# Specify path
path = '/usr/local/bin/'
   
# Check whether the specified
# path exists or not
isExist = os.path.exists(path)
print(isExist)
   
   
# Specify path
path = '/home/User/Desktop/file.txt'
   
# Check whether the specified
# path exists or not
isExist = os.path.exists(path)
print(isExist)

Output: 

True
False

 

Using os.path.isfile()

os.path.isfile() method in Python is used to check whether the specified path is an existing regular file or not.
 

Syntax: os.path.isfile(path)
Parameter: 
path: A path-like object representing a file system path. A path-like object is either a string or bytes object representing a path.
Return Type: This method returns a Boolean value of class bool. This method returns True if specified path is an existing regular file, otherwise returns False. 
 

Example: 

Python3




# Python program to explain os.path.isfile() method
 
# importing os module 
import os
 
# Path
path = 'C:/Users/gfg/Desktop/file.txt'
 
# Check whether the 
# specified path is 
# an existing file
isFile = os.path.isfile(path)
print(isFile)
 
# Path
path = '/home/User/Desktop/'
 
# Check whether the 
# specified path is 
# an existing file
isFile = os.path.isfile(path)
print(isFile)

Output: 
 

True
False

 

Using os.path.isdir()

os.path.isdir() method in Python is used to check whether the specified path is an existing directory or not. This method follows a symbolic link, which means if the specified path is a symbolic link pointing to a directory then the method will return True.
 



Syntax: os.path.isdir(path)
Parameter: 
path: A path-like object representing a file system path.
Return Type: This method returns a Boolean value of class bool. This method returns True if specified path is an existing directory, otherwise returns False. 
 

Example: 
 

Python3




# Python program to explain os.path.isdir() method 
     
# importing os.path module 
import os.path
   
# Path
path = '/home/User/Documents/file.txt'
   
# Check whether the 
# specified path is an
# existing directory or not
isdir = os.path.isdir(path)
print(isdir)
   
   
# Path
path = '/home/User/Documents/'
   
# Check whether the 
# specified path is an
# existing directory or not
isdir = os.path.isdir(path)
print(isdir)

Output: 
 

False
True

Example: If the specified path is a symbolic link.
 

Python3




# Python program to explain os.path.isdir() method 
     
# importing os.path module 
import os.path
   
   
# Create a directory
# (in current working directory)
dirname = "GeeksForGeeks"
os.mkdir(dirname)
   
# Create a symbolic link
# pointing to above directory
symlink_path = "/home/User/Desktop/gfg"
os.symlink(dirname, symlink_path)
   
   
path = dirname
   
# Now, Check whether the 
# specified path is an
# existing directory or not
isdir = os.path.isdir(path)
print(isdir)
   
path = symlink_path
   
# Check whether the 
# specified path (which is a
# symbolic link ) is an
# existing directory or not
isdir = os.path.isdir(path)
print(isdir)

Output: 
 

True
True

 

Using pathlib.Path.exists()

Pathlib module in Python provides various classes representing file system paths with semantics appropriate for different operating systems. This module comes under Python’s standard utility modules. Path classes in Pathlib module are divided into pure paths and concrete paths. Pure paths provide only computational operations but do not provides I/O operations, while concrete paths inherit from pure paths provides computational as well as I/O operations.
Note: To know more about pathlib module click here.
pathlib.Path.exists() method is used to check whether the given path points to an existing file or directory or not.
 

Syntax: pathlib.Path.exists(path)
Parameter: 
path: A path-like object representing a file system path.
Return Type: This method returns a Boolean value of class bool. This method returns True if path exists otherwise returns False. 
 

Example: 
 

Python3




# Import Path class
from pathlib import Path
   
# Path
path = '/home/gfg/Desktop'
   
# Instantiate the Path class
obj = Path(path)
   
# Check if path points to 
# an existing file or directory 
print(obj.exists())

Output: 
 

True

 

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