Back to Basics – Reading a File into Memory Stream

March 3, 2011

tags: ,

Back to Basics – Reading a File into Memory Stream

Today I was asked to help a developer with a simple task she had. That task included reading an image file into a Back to Basics – Reading a File into Memory Streammemory stream in order to send the image through an e-mail attachment. This post will show you how to do exactly that.

Reading a File into Memory Stream

Here is the code for reading the file into a memory stream:

using (FileStream fileStream = File.OpenRead(filePath))
    MemoryStream memStream = new MemoryStream();
    fileStream.Read(memStream.GetBuffer(), 0, (int)fileStream.Length);

That’s it for the reading part. Pay attention to use the using statement in order to dispose the FileStream after you use it.

Adding a MemoryStream as Attachment to a MailMessage

In order to use a stream as an attachment for an e-mail message object all you have to do is to write the following code:

msg.Attachments.Add(new Attachment(memStream, filename, MediaTypeNames.Image.Jpeg)); 

In the code sample msg is an instance of a MailMessage class, memStream is the MemoryStream (such as the memory stream from the previous code sample) and filename is the name of the file in the attachment. Since I know that the image is jpeg then I use the MediaTypeNames.Image.Jpeg.


Reading a file into a stream is a very basic thing to know. In the post I showed how to read an image into a memory stream and also how to attach it into a mail message object.

Add comment
facebook linkedin twitter email

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>



  1. Michael HamrahMarch 4, 2011 ב 16:01

    Hey Gil- big fan of the blog, and always appreciate the back to basics- sometimes the simplest things to do are the hardest because people get out of practice.

    I’d like to see this with Async I/O operations- even though it’s (arguably) okay to stick to the vanilla sync methods, the .NET community needs to push into a “new basics” mindset- using async techniques to leverage multi-core cpu’s and achieve a better level of user experience with .NET apps. The Task Parallel Library makes this very simple!

  2. ErikMarch 6, 2011 ב 18:43

    The code for reading the file into a memory stream can be more terse like this:

    var memoryStream = new MemoryStream(File.ReadAllBytes(filePath));

  3. Gil FinkMarch 7, 2011 ב 8:14

    Thanks for the code sample.

  4. Gil FinkMarch 7, 2011 ב 8:17

    Thanks for the comment and for reading my Blog!
    As for your request, I added it to the list of future posts so ping me if it doesn’t happen :-).

  5. Shahar EldadMarch 8, 2011 ב 9:11

    Hi Gil

    I believe it`s always a good practice to close the stream and afterward to dispose of it.