How to Copy a File using Python

In this short guide, you’ll see how to copy a file, from one folder to another, using Python.

To start, here is a simple template that you may use to copy a file in Python using shutil.copyfile:

import shutil

source = r"source path where the file is currently stored\file_name.file_extension"
target = r"target path where the file will be copied\file_name.file_extension"

shutil.copyfile(source, target)

Steps to Copy a File using Python

Step 1: Capture the source path

To begin, capture the path where your file is currently stored.

For example, let’s suppose that a CSV file is stored in a folder called Test_1:

C:\Users\Ron\Desktop\Test_1\products.csv

Where the CSV file name is ‘products‘ and the file extension is csv.

Step 2: Capture the target path

Next, capture the target path where you’d like to copy the file.

For our example, the file will be copied into a folder called Test_2:

C:\Users\Ron\Desktop\Test_2\products.csv

Step 3: Copy the file in Python using shutil.copyfile

For the final step, use the following template to copy your file:

import shutil

source = r"source path where the file is currently stored\file_name.file_extension"
target = r"target path where the file will be copied\file_name.file_extension"

shutil.copyfile(source, target)

Make sure to place the ‘r‘ character before your paths to avoid the following error:

SyntaxError: (unicode error) ‘unicodeescape’ codec can’t decode bytes in position 2-3: truncated \UXXXXXXXX escape

In the context of our example, the complete code would look like this:

import shutil

source = r"C:\Users\Ron\Desktop\Test_1\products.csv"
target = r"C:\Users\Ron\Desktop\Test_2\products.csv"

shutil.copyfile(source, target)

If you run the code in Python (adjusted to your paths), you’ll see that the ‘products‘ CSV file would be copied into the Test_2 folder.

Alternatively, you may copy a file with a new name.

For instance, let’s copy the original CSV file (with the file name of ‘products‘) to the new location with a new file name (‘new_products‘):

import shutil

source = r"C:\Users\Ron\Desktop\Test_1\products.csv"
target = r"C:\Users\Ron\Desktop\Test_2\new_products.csv"

shutil.copyfile(source, target)

The new file name (called ‘new_products‘) would then be copied into the target location (the Test_2 folder).

The same principles would apply for other file types. For instance, let’s suppose that a JPG file called ‘image‘ is stored in the Test_1 folder.

The following code can then be used to copy the image to the Test_2 folder:

import shutil

source = r"C:\Users\Ron\Desktop\Test_1\image.jpg"
target = r"C:\Users\Ron\Desktop\Test_2\image.jpg"

shutil.copyfile(source, target)

The JPG file would now appear in the Test_2 folder.