Read a local text file into an array with NodeJS

You know basic Javascript. You're digging into the fundamentals of NodeJS, or server-side javascript. One of the first things you need to learn is how to read a local file on your computer.

This is useful if you are running an isolated test in a list of inputs. Examples include solving coding puzzles in your favorite code editor. Or maybe taking a list of CSV inputs and hitting API endpoints with it


First, install nodeJS to the latest stable version. Next, create a blank repo.

In that repo, create two files

  • 001.js
  • 001.txt

In your 001.txt file, copy this data below:


We need to add the nodeJS code to read this local file. Here it is:

var fs = require('fs');

var readMe = fs.readFileSync('001.txt', 'utf8').split('\n');


nodeJS comes preconfigured with a set of standard library tools you can use. One is called the fs module, which grants you methods for reading local files. First, you require the module. Next, you need to specify the encoding, in this case utf-8. Because each input value is across a new line input, you need to use Javascript's split method. This creates an array seperated by each new line designated by \n

You need to run the file afterwards. If you use visual studio code, press cmd ` and this will open a terminal.

Type this command and hit enter

$ node 001.js

The resulting execution returns this value:

  '1',  '2', '3',
  '4',  '5', '6',
  '7',  '8', '9',

Hi 👋

I'm Vincent Tang, a web developer specializing in modern Javascript. This website is my digital garden of notes on backend, frontend, and devops! I also run a coding podcast called Code Chefs