Wolfram Language & System 10.4 (2016)|Legacy Documentation

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


  • Import can read files from general file directories.
  • Import also recognizes formats that are represented as a bundle of related files and organized in a directory structure.


    File system directory hierarchy.
    Can contain files and subdirectories.

Import and ExportImport and Export

  • When importing from a directory that constitutes a supported multifile Import format, the converter for this format will be used.
  • Import["dir"] gives path specifications for all files in a general directory and its subdirectories.
  • Import["dir"] returns a list of pathnames as an expression of the form .
  • Import["dir","fn"] imports .
  • Import["dir",elem] imports the specified element from a directory.
  • Import["dir",{elem,suba,subb,}] imports a subelement.
  • Import["dir",{{elem1,elem2,}}] imports multiple elements.
  • Because the Wolfram Language can determine whether a path specification refers to a directory, it is normally not necessary to specify as a format in the second argument of Import.
  • Import["dir","Directory"] or Import["dir",{"Directory",elem,}] explicitly specifies as the Import format.
  • See the reference pages for full general information on Import.


  • General Import elements:
  • "Elements"list of elements and options available in this file
    "Rules"full list of rules for each element and option
    "Options"list of rules for options, properties, and settings
  • The following can be used to select or specify individual files in a directory:
  • "FileNames"list of full pathnames for all files
    "filename"a single file
    "filename","format" a single file, taken to be in the specified format
    "filename","format",elemelement elem from the specified file
  • Import by default uses the element for directories.
  • Import["dir","fn"] imports .
  • File names can include relative or absolute directory specifications and the abbreviated string patterns supported by StringMatchQ.
  • Import["dir","*"] imports an entire directory.
  • Import["dir","subdir/*.jpg"] imports all JPEG files from .

ExamplesExamplesopen allclose all

Basic Examples  (1)Basic Examples  (1)

Import and count the file names included in this installation of the Wolfram System:

Click for copyable input

Show the names of some example files included in the Wolfram System:

Click for copyable input

Import a file from a directory, specifying its name as an Import element:

Click for copyable input
Introduced in 2007