Exploring the Magic of CSV File Handling in PHP: From Reading to Saving Data


In this blog post, we will delve into how the PHP programming language can be effectively utilized to manage data in CSV format. PHP provides straightforward methods for reading and writing CSV files, a crucial skill for developers who handle large volumes of data.

Reading a CSV File

The first step in managing a CSV file is reading its contents. Below is an updated `readCsvFile` function, incorporating exception handling instead of abrupt script termination:

function readCsvFile(string $csvFilePath) : array
    // Attempt to open the file in read mode
    if (($handle = fopen($csvFilePath, "r")) === FALSE) {
        throw new Exception("Error opening the file: " . $csvFilePath);

    $csvData = []; // Initialize an empty array to store the CSV data

    // Loop through each line of the file
    while (($data = fgetcsv($handle, 1000, ",")) !== FALSE) {
        $csvData[] = $data; // Add the row to the array

    fclose($handle); // Close the file handle

    return $csvData; // The array can now be processed as needed

This function opens the file in read mode and reads it line by line. If the file cannot be opened, it throws an exception, allowing for better error management. Each line of data is stored in the `$csvData` array, which is then returned from the function, making it easy to manipulate the read data within your program.

Writing Data to a CSV File

After processing your data, you may need to save it back in CSV format. The `saveArrayToCSV` function demonstrates how to write an array of data to a CSV file:

function saveArrayToCSV(array $array, string $filePath)
    // Open the file for writing
    $fileHandle = fopen($filePath, 'w');

    if ($fileHandle === false) {
        throw new Exception("Failed to open the file for writing.");

    foreach ($array as $row) {
        if (fputcsv($fileHandle, $row) === false) {
            throw new Exception("Failed to write data to the file.");

    fclose($fileHandle); // Close the file

This function opens a file for writing and iterates over the provided array, writing each row to the file. The `fputcsv()` PHP function automatically formats each array row as a CSV line. If the file cannot be opened or a row cannot be written, the function throws an exception, which can be caught and handled by the caller.

Here’s an example of how you might handle this exception in a higher level of your application:

try {
    $csvData = readCsvFile("path/to/your/file.csv");
    // Process $csvData here
} catch (Exception $e) {
    // Handle the error gracefully
    echo "Failed to read the CSV file. Please try again or contact support.";

Using code example above gives you much greater control over how errors affect on your application’s flow and user experience.


Handling CSV files in PHP is a practical way to manage data, particularly for importing and exporting large datasets. The revised `readCsvFile` and `saveArrayToCSV` functions showcased above demonstrate a robust approach to such tasks, emphasizing exception handling for improved error management. Whether your goal is to process reports, import user data, or simply maintain records, these functions will help you manage your data efficiently and effectively.