How to Fix ‘Error in File (File, “rt”) Cannot Open the Connection’?

Hi guys, in this post I will teach you how you can fix ‘error in file(file, “rt”) : cannot open the connection’ R programming language error.

How To Fix Error in file(file, “rt”) cannot open the connection

When you are working on R programming, it’s normal to get errors sometimes. Even a very simple command might be missing a variable or value and that can result in the whole script not working as you hoped.

The R programming language isn’t difficult to work with but frustratingly it can flash up an error code when you aren’t expecting it.

What is ‘Error in File (File, “Rt”) Exactly?

This basic R file access error shows there is a failure with your code.

A low level function you’re using to open an Excel file or R code file at some location.

R attempts to open a data file but can’t find one at the specified location. This is why the error code includes ‘cannot open the connection’.

Fortunately with a good script and a useful command or two, you’ll be able to get the R session back to normal.

How To Fix This Error?

The version or package of R that you use can alter the specifics of the error slightly.

The exact command used, as well as the missing value, can affect the error, but basically this R code tells you it can’t locate the file.

The odds are this error occurs because of the current working directory and how you refer to it.

Clarify where you have the working directory, using the setwd() function, for the procedure.

Maybe you’re trying to use a default setting in the local environment which isn’t correct any more.

In this case you must set the working directory correctly and then specify the exact file name in the R code.

It could be the case that your problem with relative R references concerns directories below or above the current working directory.

Note: Don’t forget to use ‘../’ for parent directory files.

Another possible cause is data file suffices. To solve this, use Windows to check your exact file handles.

An Example of Fixing This Error

We can look at an example here. Assume you are trying to import a csv file to R named new_data.csv. The read.csv function would be as follows:

my_data <- read.csv("new_data.csv")    # Attempt to import data
# Error in file(file, "rt") : cannot open the connection
# In addition: Warning message:
# In file(file, "rt") :
#   cannot open file 'new_data.csv': No such file or directory

As you see, the ‘Error in file (file, ‘rt’): cannot open the connection’ is shown.

That is because you didn’t correctly specify which working directory has the csv file stored.

To solve the problem, you have to specify the correct directory where the csv file is stored. Use the setwd function to do this:

setwd("C:/Users/Fred/Desktop/") # Change the working directory

Now you can execute the same code as before:

my_data <- read.csv("new_data.csv") # Properly import the data

And that’s it! Problem should be solved.


This is the easiest way to get rid of this error and hopefully clears the error message ‘Error in file (file, “rt”) : cannot open the connection” for good.

I hope you found this article useful and see you next time.