Ways to Combine Two (or More) Text Files

by Barry Dysert
(last updated November 18, 2019)

2

If you have a couple (or more) text files that you'd like to combine into one larger text file, Windows provides a few ways to do it. Which way you choose will likely depend upon how many files you want to combine, how big they are, and how comfortable you are with the different approaches.

One approach that may first come to mind is the copy/paste approach. This lets you stay within the familiar Windows environment while still accomplishing your goal. Follow these general steps:

  1. Right-click on the desktop or in a folder and choose New | Text Document from the resulting Context menu. Windows obligingly creates a new text document for you.
  2. Name the text document anything you like, such as "Combined.txt".
  3. Open the newly created text file in Notepad.
  4. Using Notepad, open a text file you want combined.
  5. Press Ctrl+A. All the information in the text file is selected.
  6. Press Ctrl+C. All the selected information is copied to the Clipboard.
  7. Select the text file you opened in step 3.
  8. Press Ctrl+V. All the information is pasted into the text file.
  9. Close the text file you opened in step 4.
  10. Repeat steps 4 through 9 for each of the other text files you want combined into the new one.
  11. Save the text file that contains the combined information.

Obviously, this is a very tedious approach—especially if you have more than a couple of files to be combined. The other approaches are much faster, but they do require that you do the work at the command line.

Probably the simplest command-line approach to use in combining files is to use the Copy command. With Copy, you can specify a number of files as inputs and one file as an output file. This will then copy all of the input files into the one output file, and you're done. Your command line might look something like this:

C:\> copy in1.txt + in2.txt + in3.txt Combined.txt

This will copy the files "in1.txt", "in2.txt", and "in3.txt" to a file called "Combined.txt". (The Combined.txt file is automatically created by the Copy command. If Combined.txt previously existed, it is overwritten by the command.) The Copy command supports wildcards, too, so if your file names follow a standard format, you could even do it this way:

C:\> copy in*.txt Combined.txt

This is probably the best approach to take, but if you prefer a more esoteric solution you could try either of two variations of the Type command. For example,

C:\> type in*.txt > Combined.txt

This types the contents of all of your "in" text files and sends the output to your "Combined.txt" file. If the Combined.txt file previously existed, it is overwritten by this command.

The second variation of the Type command also uses the For command. In this variation, the "in" files are cycled through one at a time and their contents are appended to your "Combined.txt" file:

C:\>For %f in (in*.txt) do type %f >> Combined.txt

These are all interesting ways to attack the problem, but my favorite is the simple Copy command.

 This tip (5670) applies to Windows 7, 8, and 10.

Author Bio

Barry Dysert

Barry has been a computer professional for over 35 years, working in different positions such as technical team leader, project manager, and software developer. He is currently a software engineer with an emphasis on developing custom applications under Microsoft Windows. When not working with Windows or writing Tips, Barry is an amateur writer. His first non-fiction book is titled "A Chronological Commentary of Revelation." ...

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What is 9 - 5?

2019-12-24 10:53:07

J. Woolley

@John Fielding
Open a command prompt in the parent folder of the branch001 folder (i.e., the parent of all branch* folders) and try this:
DEL CombineGLT122019.XMT 2>NUL
FOR /F %f IN ('DIR /B branch*') DO TYPE %f\GLT122019.XMT >>CombineGLT122019.XMT


2019-12-23 16:46:18

John Fielding

Great write-up, Barry. How would I code the iterative copy if my file structure is more like: branch001\GLT122019.XMT, branch002\GLT122019.XMT, \branch003\GLT122019.XMT etc etc etc, and I want all of the data from each branch's file merged into one XMT (or TXT) document? I'd like to wildcard the branch node since we frequently add branches. I've been experimenting with copy, for/copy, and xcopy for days and cannot get it to work.


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