Reads the contents of an external text or binary file and attaches it to a feature as the value of an attribute.

Jump to Configuration

Typical Uses

  • Attaching files to features
  • Adding file contents to features
  • Reading geometry content stored in a separate file

How does it work?

The AttributeFileReader receives any type of feature and adds the contents of an external file to them, as the value of a new or existing attribute.

File selection may be done explicitly or by attribute value, expression, user parameter, or conditional value.

The file may be text or binary. (Text refers to the file type, rather than the file content - it may not necessarily be plain text.) A variety of encoding choices are available for text files. Binary files should be designated as Binary (fme-binary), as the transformer is not aware of formats and will simply preserve the file contents as a Blob.


Usage Notes

  • All types of binary files are stored as Blobs, and Source File Character Encoding should be set to Binary (fme-binary) .
  • The most common text encodings are Windows Latin-1 (windows-1252) and Unicode 8-bit (utf-8).
  • If a text file includes special characters, the appropriate Source File Character Encoding should be selected to preserve those characters.
  • Full path names can be created from existing attribute values by using the Text Editor to create an expression.
  • Some transformers (such as the XMLFlattener) can read external files, and so do not need to use an AttributeFileReader first.


Input Ports

Output Ports



Editing Transformer Parameters

Using a set of menu options, transformer parameters can be assigned by referencing other elements in the workspace. More advanced functions, such as an advanced editor and an arithmetic editor, are also available in some transformers. To access a menu of these options, click beside the applicable parameter. For more information, see Transformer Parameter Menu Options.

Defining Values

There are several ways to define a value for use in a Transformer. The simplest is to simply type in a value or string, which can include functions of various types such as attribute references, math and string functions, and workspace parameters. There are a number of tools and shortcuts that can assist in constructing values, generally available from the drop-down context menu adjacent to the value field.

Dialog Options - Tables

Transformers with table-style parameters have additional tools for populating and manipulating values.


Processing Behavior


Feature Holding


Dependencies None

FME Community

The FME Community is the place for demos, how-tos, articles, FAQs, and more. Get answers to your questions, learn from other users, and suggest, vote, and comment on new features.

Search for all results about the AttributeFileReader on the FME Community.


Examples may contain information licensed under the Open Government Licence – Vancouver and/or the Open Government Licence – Canada.