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How to Get the Size of a File in Python

How to Get the Size of a File in Python

Python language comes with a lot of inbuilt modules and packages. When writing a program, the need may arise to use the contents of a file. It could be a .doc, .docx, .jpg, .png, .pdf, .mp4, .txt or .csv file, to mention but a few. Using Python to get the file size can be crucial in determining the flow of your program. It can help ascertain the computational requirements needed or to make sure a user doesn’t submit a file beyond an allowable file size threshold. On the other hand, checking the file size could be used to make sure the file is not empty. In the following sections, we will be looking at different approaches used to get the size of files in Python.

Methods to get file sizes in Python

The following are some of the ways you can get the size of files in Python.

Making use of OS module’s stat function

As shown in the code snippet below, the stat function is an easy way for Python to get the file size in bytes. The relative path to the file is used as an argument for the stat function which is used to obtain the statistics of the file. In the example below, a .csv file was used. However, another file of a different format can be used and the stat function will still get the file size.

  Using the OS module's stat function  
import os
file_size = os.stat('/content/sample_file.csv')
print("file size :", file_size.st_size, "bytes")

Making use of os.path module’s getsize function

Still using the OS module, the getsize function can be used in Python to get the file size. It is easy and straightforward and only requires one argument. As shown below, the file path is the argument which was used in Python to get the size of the file.

  Using the os.path module's getsize function  
import os
file_size = os.path.getsize('/content/sample_file.csv')
print("file size :", file_size, "bytes")

Making use of the pathlib module

The pathlib module is simply a wrapper for most functions in the OS module. It still uses the stat function from the module. As shown below, using the pathlib module to get the size of a file in Python still shows a consistent result.

  Using the pathlib module getsize function  
import pathlib
file_path = pathlib.Path('/content/sample_file.csv')
file_size = file_path.stat().st_size
print("file size :", file_size, "bytes")

Making use of file object

The file object can be used in Python to get the file size. This approach takes a longer approach than the previously discussed ones. To implement this, the file is first opened after which the seek method is used to set the location of the cursor. Taking two arguments, the seek method sets the cursor at the beginning and end of the file's location. Furthermore, the tell method gets the corresponding cursor location or total bytes moved by the cursor.

  Using the file object
# open the file
file = open('/content/sample_file.csv')
# position the cursor at the end, os.SEEK_END)
# use tell to get size of file
print("Size of file is :", file.tell(), "bytes")


Having gone through the different methods used to get the size of files in Python, you can now choose which one best works for you. It should be worth noting that the getsize function of the os.path module is the fastest, followed by the stat function. On the other hand, the file object performed the least and took more time. Knowing the speed of performance helps as the file size increases. The method to be used should be the one that gives the best performance in the least possible amount of time. This will enable you to write efficient code that optimally utilizes resources.


  • Author

    Arinze Ugwu

    Arinze is an experienced Data Scientist (ML), driven by a strong desire to solve business challenges with Advanced technologies. He is also passionate about sharing knowledge through technical writing.

Frequently Asked Questions

This is an inbuilt module that aids with a user's interaction with the operating system and obtains information.

The scandir function can be used to get the individual files, after which any of the methods above can be applied to get the size of any file needed.

The OS module can be used by importing it.

To get the size of a folder, the sizes of files in the folder can be obtained and summed up.

The file size is in bytes by default but can be further converted to KB, MB or GB.

By default, the size is given in bytes. However, it can be converted to KB, MB or GB, divided by the equivalent size.

View more FAQs


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