Java File list()

In this guide, you will learn about the File list() method in Java programming and how to use it with an example.

1. File list() Method Overview


The list() method of the File class returns an array of strings naming the files and directories in the directory denoted by the File object. If the File object denotes a file or doesn't exist, it will return null.


public String[] list()



Key Points:

- This method is useful for obtaining the names of all files and directories inside a specified directory.

- If the method is called on a File object that represents a file (not a directory) or if the directory doesn't exist, it will return null.

- If the directory is empty, it returns an empty array.

- The method does not provide information about sub-directories beyond their names.

- The result does not include special entries like "." and "..".

- The order of names returned is not specified and can vary over time.

2. File list() Method Example


public class FileListExample {
    public static void main(String[] args) {
        // Creating a File object for a directory
        File directory = new File("path/to/directory");

        // Getting the list of files and directories
        String[] contents = directory.list();

        // Checking if contents is null or not
        if (contents != null) {
            for (String name : contents) {
        } else {
            System.out.println("The provided path does not denote a directory or the directory doesn't exist.");




In the demonstrated example, a File object, directory, is created representing a specific directory. 

Invoking the list() method on this object fetches the names of all files and directories within the specified directory. These names are then printed out to the console. If the specified path was not a directory or if it didn't exist, the method would return null and the output would state that the provided path doesn't denote a directory.