Loads an ASCII or binary file into a string.


str_contents = getf(filename, mode)
  • filename (string) – any valid file name.

  • mode (scalar) – 1 or 0 which determines if the file is to be loaded in ASCII mode (0) or binary mode (1)


str_contents (string) – contains the file contents.


Suppose you have a file which writes the results of its calculations to a file in a report format. For this example, we will use the code snippet below:

// Generate random x1 and y1
x1 = rndn(100, 5);
y1 = rndu(100, 1);

** Set output file on and set
** name to `regression_results`
output file = regression_results.txt reset;

// Run OLS
call ols("", y1, x1);

// Turn output off
output off;

// Generate random x2 and y2
x2 = rndn(100, 5);
y2 = rndu(100, 1);

** Set output file on and set
** name to `ols_results`
output file = ols_results.txt reset;

// Run OLS
call ols("", y2, x2);

// Turn output off
output off;

Running the code above will create a file named regression_results.txt and a file named ols_results.txt in your current working directory. You can retrieve the output from either of these files with the getf() command.

str_contents = getf("regression_results.txt", 1);
print str_contents;

You can take this further and create a procedure that will load a list of output files for you. It can then print the output from each file as you are ready to read it.

declare string array fileList = { "regression_results.txt", "ols_results.txt" };

proc (0) = showOutput(fileList);
   local k;

   for i(1, rows(fileList), 1);

      print "Press any key to view the next file:";

      ** Wait for user input and assign the first key stroke
      ** to 'k'
      k = keyw;
      print getf(fileList[i], 1);



If the file is loaded in ASCII mode, it will be tested to see if it contains any end of file characters. These are ^Z (ASCII 26). The file will be truncated before the first ^Z, and there will be no ^Z’s in the string. This is the correct way to load most text files because the ^Z’s can cause problems when trying to print the string to a printer.

If the file is loaded in binary mode, it will be loaded just like it is with no changes.

See also

Functions load, save, let, con()