Create empty file

Empty files can be used as a mean to pass information between programs in a persistent manner, or a form of configuration. Empty files can be used on web servers to declutter 404 logs of endless bot scans.

For the examples below, we assume relative filename “path/to/empty”, where directories “path/to” already exist. We assume that a file does NOT exist at the filename, and it may be overwritten if it exists.

NOTE: For simplicity, some of these examples overwrite existing files, but some do not overwrite. Extra code is required to give a consistent behavior. All examples at least create an empty file if one doesn’t exist.


Windows users often use Command Prompt or PowerShell.

Command Prompt

Create empty file with Command Prompt:

copy NUL path\to\empty


Create empty file with PowerShell (on any operating system):

New-Item path/to/empty

Linux / MacOS / Unix

Most shells create empty file like:

touch path/to/empty


from pathlib import Path



program empty

implicit none

integer :: u

open(newunit=u, file='path/to/empty')

end program


Note: you should add code to check that the file was created. This simple example doesn’t fail even if file not created.

#include <fstream>

int main(){

std::ofstream output("path/to/empty");