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How to load documents from a directory

LangChain's DirectoryLoader implements functionality for reading files from disk into LangChain Document objects. Here we demonstrate:

  • How to load from a filesystem, including use of wildcard patterns;
  • How to use multithreading for file I/O;
  • How to use custom loader classes to parse specific file types (e.g., code);
  • How to handle errors, such as those due to decoding.
from langchain_community.document_loaders import DirectoryLoader
API Reference:DirectoryLoader

DirectoryLoader accepts a loader_cls kwarg, which defaults to UnstructuredLoader. Unstructured supports parsing for a number of formats, such as PDF and HTML. Here we use it to read in a markdown (.md) file.

We can use the glob parameter to control which files to load. Note that here it doesn't load the .rst file or the .html files.

loader = DirectoryLoader("../", glob="**/*.md")
docs = loader.load()

LangChain has a large ecosystem of integrations with various external resources like local

Show a progress bar​

By default a progress bar will not be shown. To show a progress bar, install the tqdm library (e.g. pip install tqdm), and set the show_progress parameter to True.

loader = DirectoryLoader("../", glob="**/*.md", show_progress=True)
docs = loader.load()
100%|β–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆ| 20/20 [00:00<00:00, 54.56it/s]

Use multithreading​

By default the loading happens in one thread. In order to utilize several threads set the use_multithreading flag to true.

loader = DirectoryLoader("../", glob="**/*.md", use_multithreading=True)
docs = loader.load()

Change loader class​

By default this uses the UnstructuredLoader class. To customize the loader, specify the loader class in the loader_cls kwarg. Below we show an example using TextLoader:

from langchain_community.document_loaders import TextLoader

loader = DirectoryLoader("../", glob="**/*.md", loader_cls=TextLoader)
docs = loader.load()
API Reference:TextLoader
# Security

LangChain has a large ecosystem of integrations with various external resources like loc

Notice that while the UnstructuredLoader parses Markdown headers, TextLoader does not.

If you need to load Python source code files, use the PythonLoader:

from langchain_community.document_loaders import PythonLoader

loader = DirectoryLoader("../../../../../", glob="**/*.py", loader_cls=PythonLoader)
API Reference:PythonLoader

Auto-detect file encodings with TextLoader​

DirectoryLoader can help manage errors due to variations in file encodings. Below we will attempt to load in a collection of files, one of which includes non-UTF8 encodings.

path = "../../../../libs/langchain/tests/unit_tests/examples/"

loader = DirectoryLoader(path, glob="**/*.txt", loader_cls=TextLoader)

A. Default Behavior​

By default we raise an error:

Error loading file ../../../../libs/langchain/tests/unit_tests/examples/example-non-utf8.txt
UnicodeDecodeError Traceback (most recent call last)
File ~/repos/langchain/libs/community/langchain_community/document_loaders/, in TextLoader.lazy_load(self)
42 with open(self.file_path, encoding=self.encoding) as f:
---> 43 text =
44 except UnicodeDecodeError as e:
File ~/.pyenv/versions/3.10.4/lib/python3.10/, in BufferedIncrementalDecoder.decode(self, input, final)
321 data = self.buffer + input
--> 322 (result, consumed) = self._buffer_decode(data, self.errors, final)
323 # keep undecoded input until the next call
UnicodeDecodeError: 'utf-8' codec can't decode byte 0xca in position 0: invalid continuation byte

The above exception was the direct cause of the following exception:
RuntimeError Traceback (most recent call last)
Cell In[10], line 1
----> 1 loader.load()
File ~/repos/langchain/libs/community/langchain_community/document_loaders/, in DirectoryLoader.load(self)
115 def load(self) -> List[Document]:
116 """Load documents."""
--> 117 return list(self.lazy_load())
File ~/repos/langchain/libs/community/langchain_community/document_loaders/, in DirectoryLoader.lazy_load(self)
180 else:
181 for i in items:
--> 182 yield from self._lazy_load_file(i, p, pbar)
184 if pbar:
185 pbar.close()
File ~/repos/langchain/libs/community/langchain_community/document_loaders/, in DirectoryLoader._lazy_load_file(self, item, path, pbar)
218 else:
219 logger.error(f"Error loading file {str(item)}")
--> 220 raise e
221 finally:
222 if pbar:
File ~/repos/langchain/libs/community/langchain_community/document_loaders/, in DirectoryLoader._lazy_load_file(self, item, path, pbar)
208 loader = self.loader_cls(str(item), **self.loader_kwargs)
209 try:
--> 210 for subdoc in loader.lazy_load():
211 yield subdoc
212 except NotImplementedError:
File ~/repos/langchain/libs/community/langchain_community/document_loaders/, in TextLoader.lazy_load(self)
54 continue
55 else:
---> 56 raise RuntimeError(f"Error loading {self.file_path}") from e
57 except Exception as e:
58 raise RuntimeError(f"Error loading {self.file_path}") from e
RuntimeError: Error loading ../../../../libs/langchain/tests/unit_tests/examples/example-non-utf8.txt

The file example-non-utf8.txt uses a different encoding, so the load() function fails with a helpful message indicating which file failed decoding.

With the default behavior of TextLoader any failure to load any of the documents will fail the whole loading process and no documents are loaded.

B. Silent fail​

We can pass the parameter silent_errors to the DirectoryLoader to skip the files which could not be loaded and continue the load process.

loader = DirectoryLoader(
path, glob="**/*.txt", loader_cls=TextLoader, silent_errors=True
docs = loader.load()
Error loading file ../../../../libs/langchain/tests/unit_tests/examples/example-non-utf8.txt: Error loading ../../../../libs/langchain/tests/unit_tests/examples/example-non-utf8.txt
doc_sources = [doc.metadata["source"] for doc in docs]

C. Auto detect encodings​

We can also ask TextLoader to auto detect the file encoding before failing, by passing the autodetect_encoding to the loader class.

text_loader_kwargs = {"autodetect_encoding": True}
loader = DirectoryLoader(
path, glob="**/*.txt", loader_cls=TextLoader, loader_kwargs=text_loader_kwargs
docs = loader.load()
doc_sources = [doc.metadata["source"] for doc in docs]

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