In version 10.4 the command CreateFile was introduced:

CreateFile documentation

I am using version 10.3.1 on a Raspberry Pi. I have not found any command which does what CreateFile does. Is there one?

In order to use OpenRead, OpenWrite, ReadList and Close, I have created an empty text file in a Text Editor first. But of course I would like to be able to create the file from inside Mathematica. Should I use something like


if I want to make an empty file?

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ The predecessor to CreateFile is CreateTemporary, but it was more limited - it only creates a temporary file. OpenWrite and OpenAppend will create a file if it doesn't exist. So will Export["file.ext", "","Text"] $\endgroup$
    – Jason B.
    Commented Aug 12, 2016 at 13:19
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    $\begingroup$ I dont follow the issue, OpenWrite creates the file if it does not exist. Close[OpenWrite["file"]] creates an empty file. (unless there is something peculiar about the Raspberry Pi os. I suppose) $\endgroup$
    – george2079
    Commented Aug 12, 2016 at 18:35
  • $\begingroup$ @george2079 Why not give it as an answer? It is a perfect answer. $\endgroup$ Commented Aug 13, 2016 at 14:01
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    $\begingroup$ Thank you for the edit, @Alexey Popkov. The readability is improved. By the way, "inside Mathematica" is correct grammar. Here "inside" is used a preposition in its own right. In "I cleaned the inside of the car", "inside" is used as a noun. In American English "Inside of" is sometimes used as a preposition, but I am using something more like British English. I know that my spaces preceding question marks and exclamation marks are not standard - I have borrowed that convention from French :) I feel awkward when the letters touch those two particular punctuation marks ! $\endgroup$
    – Simon
    Commented Aug 20, 2016 at 4:07
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    $\begingroup$ @Simon Thanks for the lesson (I have removed the redundant "of") and the explanation. I always wondered where it comes from when seeing the spaces before question marks and exclamation marks. I feel them as "floating" and not connected to the sentence, so it awkward to me :) $\endgroup$ Commented Aug 20, 2016 at 6:14

1 Answer 1


The new function CreateFile has two main tasks,

  1. CreateFile[] - will create a file in the "default area for temporary files on your computer". Like

(* "/var/folders/yy/3fh5ypq11nx5032xgf6xy36w000_6y/T/m000005141861" *)
  1. CreateFile["filename"] will create an empty file with the given name.

Prior to version 10.4, you could get the effect of (1) via CreateTemporary[]. (2) could be achieved by any of the methods in this (nonexhaustive, I'm sure) list:

WriteString["file3", ""];
Export["file4", "", "Text"];
Export["file5", {}, "Text"];
Run["touch file6"];
FileByteCount /@ {"file1", "file2", "file3", "file4", "file5", "file6"}
(* {0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0} *)

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