How to redirect 'print' output to a file using python?

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I want to redirect the print to a .txt file using python. I have a 'for' loop, which will 'print' the output for each of my .bam file while I want to redirect ALL these output to one file. So I tried to put

 f = open('output.txt','w'); sys.stdout = f

at the beginning of my script. However I get nothing in the .txt file. My script is:


import os,sys
import subprocess
import glob
from os import path

f = open('output.txt','w')
sys.stdout = f

path= '/home/xug/nearline/bamfiles'
bamfiles = glob.glob(path + '/*.bam')

for bamfile in bamfiles:
    filename = bamfile.split('/')[-1]
    print 'Filename:', filename
    samtoolsin = subprocess.Popen(["/share/bin/samtools/samtools","view",bamfile],
    linelist= samtoolsin.stdout.readlines()
    print 'Readlines finished!'

So what's the problem? Any other way besides this sys.stdout?

I need my result look like:

Filename: ERR001268.bam
Readlines finished!
Mean: 233
SD: 10
Interval is: (213, 252)

The most obvious way to do this would be to print to a file object:

with open('out.txt', 'w') as f:
    print >> f, 'Filename:', filename     # Python 2.x
    print('Filename:', filename, file=f)  # Python 3.x

However, redirecting stdout also works for me. It is probably fine for a one-off script such as this:

import sys

orig_stdout = sys.stdout
f = open('out.txt', 'w')
sys.stdout = f

for i in range(2):
    print 'i = ', i

sys.stdout = orig_stdout

Redirecting externally from the shell itself is another good option:

./ > out.txt

Other questions:

What is the first filename in your script? I don't see it initialized.

My first guess is that glob doesn't find any bamfiles, and therefore the for loop doesn't run. Check that the folder exists, and print out bamfiles in your script.

Also, use os.path.join and os.path.basename to manipulate paths and filenames.

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You can redirect print with the >> operator.

f = open(filename,'w')
print >>f, 'whatever'     # Python 2.x
print('whatever', file=f) # Python 3.x

In most cases, you're better off just writing to the file normally.


or, if you have several items you want to write with spaces between, like print:

f.write(' '.join(('whatever', str(var2), 'etc')))

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Python 2 or Python 3 API reference:

print(*objects, sep=' ', end='\n', file=sys.stdout, flush=False)

The file argument must be an object with a write(string) method; if it is not present or None, sys.stdout will be used. Since printed arguments are converted to text strings, print() cannot be used with binary mode file objects. For these, use file.write(...) instead.

Since file object normally contains write() method, all you need to do is to pass a file object into its argument.

Write/Overwrite to File
with open('file.txt', 'w') as f:
    print('hello world', file=f)
Write/Append to File
with open('file.txt', 'a') as f:
    print('hello world', file=f)

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This works perfectly:

import sys
print ("hello")

Now the hello will be written to the test.txt file. Make sure to close the stdout with a close, without it the content will not be save in the file

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Don't use print, use logging

You can change sys.stdout to point to a file, but this is a pretty clunky and inflexible way to handle this problem. Instead of using print, use the logging module.

With logging, you can print just like you would to stdout, or you can also write the output to a file. You can even use the different message levels (critical, error, warning, info, debug) to, for example, only print major issues to the console, but still log minor code actions to a file.

A simple example

Import logging, get the logger, and set the processing level:

import logging
logger = logging.getLogger()
logger.setLevel(logging.DEBUG) # process everything, even if everything isn't printed

If you want to print to stdout:

ch = logging.StreamHandler()
ch.setLevel(logging.INFO) # or any other level

If you want to also write to a file (if you only want to write to a file skip the last section):

fh = logging.FileHandler('myLog.log')
fh.setLevel(logging.DEBUG) # or any level you want

Then, wherever you would use print use one of the logger methods:

# print(foo)

# print('finishing processing')'finishing processing')

# print('Something may be wrong')
logger.warning('Something may be wrong')

# print('Something is going really bad')
logger.error('Something is going really bad')

To learn more about using more advanced logging features, read the excellent logging tutorial in the Python docs.

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  • Why not use f.write(data)?
  • yeah, but I have several data for each bam file (mean, SD,interval...), how can I put these data one by one?
  • f.write(line) - it inserts a line break at the end.
  • @Eran Zimmerman: f.write(line) does not add a line break to the data.
  • You're right, my bad. Could always f.write(line+'\n'), however..
  • Line 8 of your code uses a variable named filename, but it hasn't been created yet. Later in the loop you use it again, but not relevant.
  • Bad practice to change sys.stdout if you don't need to.
  • @my I'm not convinced it is bad for a simple script like this.
  • +1 Haha well you can have my upvote because it's the right way to do it if you absolutely must do it the wrong way... But I still say you should do it with regular file output.
  • How to redirect and print the output on the console ? Seems the "print()" in Python cannot be shown when the stdrr is redirected ?