PushbackInputStream in Java with Example

PushbackInputStream in Java is an input stream that pushes (i.e. returns) a single byte or character back into the input stream to reread.

In other words, PushbackInputStream is a buffer stream that adds “push back” functionality to an input stream to reread “unread” bytes (or push back read bytes). That’s why it is also called pushback buffer.

It is used on an input stream to allow a byte to be read and then returned to the stream.

For example, suppose we have an input stream that contains a string of bytes “Love”. If we read two bytes, we would have read Lo.

If we call unread() method of PushbackInputStream to push back the last byte that we have read, the subsequent read will return ‘o’ and the next reads will read ve.

Java PushbackInputStream class declaration

PushbackInputStream is a concrete subclass of FilterInputStream that extends InputStream superclass. It also implements Closeable, and AutoCloseable interfaces.

The general syntax to declare PushbackInputStream class in Java is as follows:

public class PushbackInputStream
   extends FilterInputStream
     implements Closeable, AutoCloseable

PushbackInputStream class was added in Java 1.0 version. It is present in java.io.PushbackInputStream package.

Constructors of PushbackInputStream class

PushbackInputStream class defines the following constructors in Java. They are as follows:

1. PushbackInputStream(InputStream inputStream): This form of constructor creates a PushbackInputStream object that allows one byte to be returned to the input stream.

2. PushbackInputStream(InputStream inputStream, int numBytes): This form of constructor creates a stream that has a pushback buffer that is numBytes long. It allows multiple bytes to be returned to the input stream.

PushbackInputStream Methods in Java

In addition to methods inherited from FilterInputStream and InputStream classes, PushbackInputStream also defines several important methods. They are as follows:

1. int available():This method returns an actual number of bytes that can be read (or skipped over) from the underlying input stream without blocking by the next invocation of a method.

If this input stream is closed by invoking its close() method, or an I/O error occurs, this method returns an IOException.

2. void close():This method closes the underlying input stream and releases any system resources associated with the stream. The close() method will throw an IOException if an I/O error occurs.
3. void mark(int readlimit):This method marks the current position in this input stream.
4. boolean markSupported():This method examines if this input stream supports the mark and reset methods, which it does not.
5. int read():This method reads the next byte of data from the underlying input stream. It returns the next byte of data, or -1 if the end of the stream has been reached.

If this input stream is closed by invoking its close() method, or an I/O error occurs, this method returns an IOException.

6. int read(byte[ ] b, int n, int m):It reads up to m bytes of data from this input stream into an array of bytes.
7. long skip(long n):This method skips over and discards n bytes of data from the underlying input stream.
8. void unread(byte[ ] b):This method pushes back an array of bytes b by copying it to the front of the pushback buffer.
9. void unread(byte[ ] b, int n, int m):It pushes back m bytes of an array of bytes b, starting from nth byte, by copying it to the front of the pushback buffer.
10. void unread(int b):This method pushes back a byte by copying it to the front of the pushback buffer.

All the above three unread() methods throw an IOException if there is not sufficient room in the pushback buffer (i.e. pushback buffer is full) for the specified byte, or this input stream has been closed by calling its close() method.

PushbackInputStream Example Program

Let’s take an example program where we will understand how to use the PushbackInputStream to unread bytes to the input stream and reread them.

In this example, we will read “I Love Java Programming” from the “myfile.txt”. Look at the source code to understand better.

Program code 1:

package javaProgram;
import java.io.FileInputStream;
import java.io.IOException;
import java.io.PushbackInputStream;

public class PushbackFileReading {
public static void main(String[] args) throws IOException
  String filepath = "D:\\myfile.txt";
  FileInputStream fis = new FileInputStream(filepath);
  PushbackInputStream pushback = new PushbackInputStream(fis);
// Read a single byte at a time and print it.
   byte bytedata;
   while((bytedata = (byte)pushback.read()) != -1)

// Unread the last byte that we have just read.
// Reread the byte we unread (or pushed back).
   bytedata = (byte)pushback.read();
      II  LLoovvee  JJaavvaa  PPrrooggrraammmmiinngg..

As you can observe in the output, the program reads each byte from the file twice. For example, “Love” is read as “LLoovvee”.

Hope that this tutorial has covered almost all the important points concerning PushbackInputStream class in Java with example program. I hope that you will have understood the basic points of PushbackInputStream class and its methods.

In the next tutorial, we will discuss RandomAccessFile in Java with example programs. If you find anything incorrect in this tutorial, please inform us via email. Your email will be valuable to us.
Thanks for reading!!!

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