You are viewing the version of this documentation from Perl 5.40.0-RC1. This is a development version of Perl.

Closes the file or pipe associated with the filehandle, flushes the IO buffers, and closes the system file descriptor. Returns true if those operations succeed, and if no error was reported by any PerlIO layer, and there was no existing error on the filehandle.

If there was an existing error on the filehandle, close will return false and $! will be set to the error from the failing operation, so you can safely use its value when reporting the error.

Closes the currently selected filehandle if the argument is omitted.

You don't have to close FILEHANDLE if you are immediately going to do another open on it, because open closes it for you. (See open.) However, an explicit close on an input file resets the line counter ($.), while the implicit close done by open does not.

If the filehandle came from a piped open, close returns false if one of the other syscalls involved fails or if its program exits with non-zero status. If the only problem was that the program exited non-zero, $! will be set to 0. Closing a pipe also waits for the process executing on the pipe to exit--in case you wish to look at the output of the pipe afterwards--and implicitly puts the exit status value of that command into $? and ${^CHILD_ERROR_NATIVE}.

If there are multiple threads running, close on a filehandle from a piped open returns true without waiting for the child process to terminate, if the filehandle is still open in another thread.

Closing the read end of a pipe before the process writing to it at the other end is done writing results in the writer receiving a SIGPIPE. If the other end can't handle that, be sure to read all the data before closing the pipe.


open(OUTPUT, '|sort >foo')  # pipe to sort
    or die "Can't start sort: $!";
#...                        # print stuff to output
close OUTPUT                # wait for sort to finish
    or warn $! ? "Error closing sort pipe: $!"
               : "Exit status $? from sort";
open(INPUT, 'foo')          # get sort's results
    or die "Can't open 'foo' for input: $!";

FILEHANDLE may be an expression whose value can be used as an indirect filehandle, usually the real filehandle name or an autovivified handle.

If an error occurs when perl implicitly closes a handle, perl will produce a warning. Explicitly calling close on the handle prevents that warning.