How to create an empty file at the command line in Windows?


How to create an empty file at the DOS/Windows command-line?

I tried:

copy nul > file.txt

but it always displays that a file was copied.

Is there any other method in the standard cmd?

It should be a method that does not require the touch command from Cygwin or any other nonstandard commands. The command needs to run from a script so keystrokes cannot be used.

4/9/2019 10:43:05 PM

Accepted Answer

Without redirection, Luc Vu or Erik Konstantopoulos point out to:

copy NUL EMptyFile.txt
copy /b NUL EmptyFile.txt

"How to create empty text file from a batch file?" (2008) also points to:

type NUL > EmptyFile.txt
# also
echo. 2>EmptyFile.txt
copy nul file.txt > nul # also in qid's answer below
REM. > empty.file
fsutil file createnew file.cmd 0 # to create a file on a mapped drive

Nomad mentions an original one:

C:\Users\VonC\prog\tests>aaaa > empty_file
'aaaa' is not recognized as an internal or external command, operable program or batch file.


 Folder C:\Users\VonC\prog\tests

27/11/2013  10:40    <REP>          .
27/11/2013  10:40    <REP>          ..
27/11/2013  10:40                 0 empty_file

In the same spirit, Samuel suggests in the comments:

the shortest one I use is basically the one by Nomad:


It does give an error:

'.' is not recognized as an internal or external command

But this error is on stderr. And > only redirects stdout, where nothing have been produced.
Hence the creation of an empty file. The error message can be disregarded here.

(Original answer, November 2009)


(echo "" would actually put "" in the file! And echo without the '.' would put "Command ECHO activated" in the file...)

Note: the resulting file is not empty but includes a return line sequence: 2 bytes.

This discussion points to a true batch solution for a real empty file:

 <nul (set/p z=) >filename

 dir filename
 11/09/2009  19:45                 0 filename
 1 file(s)                         0 bytes

The "<nul" pipes a nul response to the set/p command, which will cause the variable used to remain unchanged. As usual with set/p, the string to the right of the equal sign is displayed as a prompt with no CRLF.

Since here the "string to the right of the equal sign" is empty... the result is an empty file.

The difference with cd. > filename (which is mentioned in Patrick Cuff's answer and does also produce a 0-byte-length file) is that this "bit of redirection" (the <nul... trick) can be used to echo lines without any CR:

<nul (set/p z=hello) >out.txt
<nul (set/p z= world!) >>out.txt
dir out.txt

The dir command should indicate the file size as 11 bytes: "helloworld!".

4/12/2020 10:31:03 AM

Here's another way:

cd. > filename

If you really want a totally empty file, without any output to stdout, you can cheat a little:

copy nul file.txt > nul

Just redirect stdout to nul, and the output from copy disappears.


Open file :

type file.txt

New file :

Way 1 : type nul > file.txt
Way 2 : echo This is a sample text file > sample.txt
Way 3 : notepad myfile.txt <press enter>

Edit content:

notepad file.txt


copy file1.txt file1Copy.txt


rename file1.txt file1_rename.txt

Delete file :

del file.txt

Reading comments on my post, I have to admit I didn't read the question right.

On the Windows command-line, one way would be to use fsutil:

fsutil file createnew <filename> <size>

An example:

fsutil file createnew myEmptyFile.txt 0

Below is for *nix command-line.

touch filename

This command changes your modified date of a file or creates it if file is not found.


echo "" > filename

I believe this works on Windows/DOS, but my last hands-on experience with either is quite a while ago. I do know for a fact that it works on basically any POSIX compliant OS.