If one wants import data from the first three rows of a file "myfile.data", one can use the command


However, if I want import the first 100 rows of the file, is there a quick way besides


And what about the case I need import the last 100 rows of the file?


3 Answers 3


To import the first 100 rows of the file you can use

Import["myfile.data", {"Data", Range[100]}]

and to import the last 100 rows

Import["myfile.data", {"Data", -Range[100]}]


Import["myfile.data", {"Data", Range[-100,-1]}]
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Warning: this reverses the order of rows. For example if your data has 3 rows and you just use Import["my file.dat"] the output will be {row1,row2,row3}. But Import["my file.dat",{"Data",-Range[2]}] will output {row3,row2} $\endgroup$
    – Tom
    Commented Jul 13, 2018 at 13:34

I encourage you to use the following command:

Import["file_name.txt", "Table"][[All, ;;100]]

It works by default with any structured data, while "Data" doesn't. And what's more important - surprisingly it works much faster than importing separated rows or columns - time difference could be the 10-100 times for huge files.

And eventually it's much easier to point what you really want to import with this usual mathematica notation, e.g. take first 5 cols and 100 last rows:

Import["file_name.txt", "Table"][[;;5, -100;;]]
  • $\begingroup$ This imports the whole file though, which may become inefficient for large files. The OP is not clear on the requirements... $\endgroup$
    – Yves Klett
    Commented Dec 11, 2014 at 14:20
  • $\begingroup$ What means inefficient? and what means large? The point is this command is universal, native for selecting rows/cols and much faster. Say, in case you import something from 10Mb file - it will take 2-4s, while importing as data takes >20s. So for really large files one would wait an hour, instead of a couple of minutes.. Concerning memory consuming - i don't actually know is there really a difference in both commands. Anyway modern computers can easily handle hundreds Mb files, yet files of several gb is surely a different story. $\endgroup$
    – funnyp0ny
    Commented Dec 11, 2014 at 14:44

Use the function 'take'

for example

list = Import["myfile.data",{"Data",{1,2,3},All}];

Take[list1, 100]

you will get the first hundred values

Take[list1, {100,200)]

you wil gett the values hundred until twohundred

  • $\begingroup$ Take[list,{100,200}] you mean? $\endgroup$
    – Gvxfjørt
    Commented Sep 11, 2017 at 1:08

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