Read an Input File with COBOL

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In this Guided Project, you will:

Describe the function of File section in the Data Division in a COBOL program.

Write the COBOL code that reads an input file and writes an output file.

Demonstrate the process of compiling and running a COBOL program in OpenCobolIDE.

1.5 hours
No download needed
Split-screen video
Desktop only

In this project you will use COBOL code to read the data records from a sequential file. You will code, compile, and run programs using the PC-based COBOL IDE called OpenCobolIDE. Since COBOL is often used with large amounts of data, the ability to process files—to read the records in them as input and write the records as output—is a critical skill for any COBOL programmer.

Skills you will develop

  • OpenCobolIDE

  • Common Business Oriented Language (COBOL)


  • File Processing

  • COBOL Programming

Learn step-by-step

In a video that plays in a split-screen with your work area, your instructor will walk you through these steps:

  1. Examine a sample sequential file as you observe how it is used to organize data and learn the associated terminology.

  2. Code the COBOL FD statement in the File section of the Data Division to describe the fields that make up a record within a sequential file used as input.

  3. Add, compile, and run the code in a COBOL program’s Procedure Division to read through the records in a sequential input file and then display the fields from each record on the screen.

  4. Define the layout of an output file in a COBOL program Data Division’s File section by describing the fields and data types that make up each record.

  5. Add, compile, and run COBOL code that moves data from the input record to the output record and generates a sequential file as output.

How Guided Projects work

Your workspace is a cloud desktop right in your browser, no download required

In a split-screen video, your instructor guides you step-by-step

Frequently Asked Questions

By purchasing a Guided Project, you'll get everything you need to complete the Guided Project including access to a cloud desktop workspace through your web browser that contains the files and software you need to get started, plus step-by-step video instruction from a subject matter expert.

Because your workspace contains a cloud desktop that is sized for a laptop or desktop computer, Guided Projects are not available on your mobile device.

Guided Project instructors are subject matter experts who have experience in the skill, tool or domain of their project and are passionate about sharing their knowledge to impact millions of learners around the world.

You can download and keep any of your created files from the Guided Project. To do so, you can use the “File Browser” feature while you are accessing your cloud desktop.

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Auditing is not available for Guided Projects.

At the top of the page, you can press on the experience level for this Guided Project to view any knowledge prerequisites. For every level of Guided Project, your instructor will walk you through step-by-step.

Yes, everything you need to complete your Guided Project will be available in a cloud desktop that is available in your browser.

You'll learn by doing through completing tasks in a split-screen environment directly in your browser. On the left side of the screen, you'll complete the task in your workspace. On the right side of the screen, you'll watch an instructor walk you through the project, step-by-step.