Wolfram Language & System 10.3 (2015)|Legacy Documentation

This is documentation for an earlier version of the Wolfram Language.View current documentation (Version 11.2)


  • Import can read any file as a sequence of characters.
  • Export writes a list of characters to a file.


    Sequence of 8-bit characters.
    Raw binary format.

Import and ExportImport and Export

  • Import["file","Character8"] imports any file, returning a list of 8-bit characters.
  • Export["file",list,"Character8"] exports a list of characters to a binary file.
  • Export["file",expr,"Character8"] converts an expression to a string of characters and exports it to a binary file in which each byte represents a character.
  • Import["file",{"Character8",elem}] or Import["file",elem ] imports the specified element.
  • Import["file",{"Character8",{elem1,elem2,}}] imports multiple elements.
  • See the reference pages for full general information on Import and Export.
  • ImportString and ExportString support the Character8 format.


  • General Import elements:
  • "Elements" elements and options available in this file
    "Rules"full rules for each element and option
    "Options"rules for options, properties, and settings
  • Data representation element:
  • "Data"list of 8-bit characters
  • By default, Import and Export use the element.
  • Import["file",{"Character8",n}] gives the n^(th) byte.


  • Import option:
  • "HeaderBytes"0how many bytes to skip at the beginning of the file

ExamplesExamplesopen allclose all

Basic Examples  (2)Basic Examples  (2)

Convert a list of characters to a string representing an 8-bit character array:

Click for copyable input

The Wolfram Language can also convert expressions of multicharacter strings to 8-bit characters:

Click for copyable input

Convert the previous result back to an expression:

Click for copyable input

Multibyte characters cannot be exported to the Character8 format:

Click for copyable input
Introduced in 2004
| Updated in 2007