This is an experimental technology
Check the Browser compatibility table carefully before using this in production.

This feature is non-standard and is not on a standards track. Do not use it on production sites facing the Web: it will not work for every user. There may also be large incompatibilities between implementations and the behavior may change in the future.

The FileSystemDirectoryEntry interface's method getFile() returns a FileSystemFileEntry object corresponding to a file contained somewhere within the directory subtree rooted at the directory on which it's called.


FileSystemDirectoryEntry.getFile([path][, options][, successCallback][, errorCallback]);


path Optional
A USVString specifying the path, relative to the directory on which the method is called, describing which file's entry to return.
options Optional
An object based on the FileSystemFlags dictionary, which allows you to specify whether or not to create the entry if it's missing and if it's an error if the file already exists. These options are currently not useful in Web contexts.
successCallback Optional
A method to be called once the FileSystemFileEntry has been created. The method receives a single parameter: the FileSystemFileEntry object representing the file in question.
errorCallback Optional
A method to be called if an error occurs. Receives as its sole input parameter a FileError object describing the error which occurred.

Return value



If an error occurs and an errorCallback was specified, it gets called with a single parameter: a FileError object describing the error. The {domxref("FileError.code")}} specifies what type of error occurred, as follows:

The create option was not specified (or was specified as false), and the file doesn't exist.
The create and exclusive options were both true, indicating that the file should be created but must not already exist, but the file does in fact already exist.
The request to access the file was denied for security reasons.
The path specified is not a file; it's probably a directory, but might be an unsupported file descriptor such as a pipe; this depends on the user agent to some extent.


The options parameter is an object which is based on the FileSystemFlags dictionary; it provides flags which make it possible to adjust the behavior of the getFile() method.

create Optional
If this property is true, and the requested file or directory doesn't exist, the user agent should create it. The default is false. The parent directory must already exist.
exclusive Optional
If true, and the create option is also true, the file must not exist prior to issuing the call. Instead, it must be possible for it to be created newly at call time. The default is false.

Values and results

The table below describes the result of each possible combination of these flags depending on whether or not the target file or directory path already exists.

Option values File/directory condition Result
create exclusive
false n/a[1] Path exists and matches the desired type (depending on whether the function called is getFile() or getDirectory() The successCallback is called with a FileSystemFileEntry if getFile() was called or a FileSystemDirectoryEntry if getDirectory() was called.
false n/a[1] Path exists but doesn't match the desired type The errorCallback is called with an appropriate error code (if the callback was provided).
true false Path exists The existing file or directory is removed and replaced with a new one, then the successCallback is called with a FileSystemFileEntry or a FileSystemDirectoryEntry, as appropriate.
true false Path doesn't exist The file or directory is created, then a FileSystemFileEntry or a FileSystemDirectoryEntry is passed to the successCallback, as appropriate.
true true Path exists The errorCallback is called with an appropriate error, such as FileError.PATH_EXISTS_ERR.
true true Path doesn't exist The file or directory is created, then a FileSystemFileEntry or a FileSystemDirectoryEntry is passed to the successCallback, as appropriate.

[1] When create is false, the value of exclusive is irrelevant and ignored.


In this example, a function is presented whose job it is to locate within a user's app data directory a JSON file containing a user dictionary for a specified language, then load that dictionary.

let dictionary = null;

function loadDictionaryForLanguage(appDataDirEntry, lang) {
  dictionary = null;

  appDataDirEntry.getDirectory("Dictionaries", {}, function(dirEntry) {
    dirEntry.getFile(lang + "-dict.json", {}, function(fileEntry) {
      fileEntry.file(function(dictFile)) {
        let reader = new FileReader();

        reader.addEventListener("loadend", function() {
          dictionary = JSON.parse(reader.result);


The loadDictionaryForLanguage() function starts by using getDirectory() to obtain the FileSystemDirectoryEntry object representing a subfolder named "Dictionaries" located inside the specified app data directory. The success callback for this takes the resulting directory entry object and calls getFile() to get a FileSystemFileEntry object representing the dictionary file; the success callback for this, in turn, creates a new FileReader and uses it to load the contents of the file. When that is loaded successfully (as indicated by the loadend event being fired), the loaded text is passed into JSON.parse() to be reconstituted into a JavaScript object.


Specification Status Comment
File and Directory Entries API
The definition of 'getFile()' in that specification.
Draft Initial specification.

This API has no official W3C or WHATWG specification.

Browser compatibility

FeatureChromeEdgeFirefoxInternet ExplorerOperaSafari
Basic support13 No501 No No No
FeatureAndroid webviewChrome for AndroidEdge mobileFirefox for AndroidOpera AndroidiOS SafariSamsung Internet
Basic support Yes Yes ?501 No No ?

1. In Firefox, the errorCallback's input parameter is a DOMException rather than a FileError object.

See also

Document Tags and Contributors

Contributors to this page: fscholz, chrisdavidmills, Sheppy
Last updated by: fscholz,