Unleash Your Word Scramble Skills with Disk Reading

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Unleash Your Word Scramble Skills with Disk Reading

Table of Contents:

  1. Introduction
  2. Getting Text from a Separate File
  3. Loading the Word List into an Array
  4. Handling Errors and Empty Word Lists
  5. Starting a New Game
  6. Displaying the Words in a Table View
  7. Implementing the Table View Data Source Methods
  8. Conclusion


Getting Text from a Separate File

Loading the Word List into an Array

Handling Errors and Empty Word Lists

Starting a New Game

Displaying the Words in a Table View

Implementing the Table View Data Source Methods


Anagram Game: How to Get Text from a Separate File in Swift

In this tutorial, we will create an anagram game where users are asked to make words out of a larger word. To do this, we need to put together a list of words that we can use for the game, which we have stored in a separate file. Now, the question is, how do we get the text from that file into the app? Luckily, Swift's string type makes this task a cinch, thanks to Apple's thoughtful design.

Getting Text from a Separate File

To begin, let's start by retrieving the text from the separate file and loading it into our app. We have already downloaded the necessary assets for this project from GitHub, which include the file start.txt. To add this file to our Xcode project, we need to drag it into the project, ensuring that the "Copy items if needed" option is checked and selecting the appropriate target.

Once the file is added to our project, we can access its contents using the Swift string type. We will start by creating two arrays as properties: one to hold all the words in the input file (allWords) and another to hold the words the player has currently used in the game (usedWords).

var allWords: [String] = []
var usedWords: [String] = []

Loading the Word List into an Array

Now that we have our arrays set up, let's load the word list from the start.txt file and convert it into an array of words. The start.txt file contains over 12,000 8-letter words, with each word stored on a separate line.

To load the contents of the file into a string, we can use the String(contentsOf:) initializer. This initializer takes a URL parameter, which we can obtain using the Bundle.main.url(forResource:withExtension:) method. If the file is found, we can then split the string into an array of words using the components(separatedBy:) method, with the separator being the line break character (\n).

if let startWordsURL = Bundle.main.url(forResource: "start", withExtension: "txt") {
    if let startWords = try? String(contentsOf: startWordsURL) {
        allWords = startWords.components(separatedBy: "\n")
} else {
    allWords = ["silkworm"] // Fallback words in case the file couldn't be loaded

It's important to note that the url(forResource:withExtension:) method returns an optional URL, so we should check and unwrap it using conditional binding (if let). Additionally, the String(contentsOf:) initializer can throw an error, so we need to use the try? keyword to handle any potential errors during the conversion.

In the else block, we provide a fallback array of words (["silkworm"]) in case the file couldn't be loaded. This ensures that we always have some words to work with, even if the file is missing or inaccessible.

Handling Errors and Empty Word Lists

There is a rare situation where we might be able to find the URL of the start.txt file but couldn't load its contents. In theory, this shouldn't happen if the file is present in our bundle, but it's good practice to account for all possible scenarios.

To handle this situation, we can add an additional check to ensure that our allWords array is not empty before proceeding. Instead of checking if the count is zero using allWords.count == 0, we can simply check if it's empty using allWords.isEmpty. This is a more efficient way of checking for an empty array, and it conveys our intention more clearly.

if allWords.isEmpty {
    allWords = ["silkworm"] // Fallback words in case the file couldn't be loaded or is empty

With this implementation, we can be confident that we always have a valid array of words to use in our game, irrespective of any errors or empty word lists.

Starting a New Game

Now that we have our word list loaded into the allWords array, we can proceed to start a new game. This involves selecting a random word from the allWords array as the current word for the player to work with. We'll also clear the usedWords array to remove any previous guesses.

func startGame() {
    title = allWords.randomElement()
    usedWords.removeAll(keepingCapacity: true)

In this startGame() method, we set the view controller's title to a random word from the allWords array using the randomElement() method. We then remove all values from the usedWords array using the removeAll(keepingCapacity:) method, which ensures that the array's capacity is preserved for better performance. Finally, we reload the data in our table view using tableView.reloadData(), which will reflect the updated word and clear the previous guesses from the table view.

Displaying the Words in a Table View

To display the words the player has found so far, we'll use a table view. Our table view will show all the words the user has found, with each word representing a valid subword from the current word. As the user finds words in the anagram, the words will be added to the usedWords array and appear in the table view in real-time.

To implement this functionality, we need to adopt the UITableViewDataSource protocol and provide the necessary methods for populating the table view. These methods include numberOfRowsInSection(_:) and cellForRow(at:). In these methods, we'll replace the placeholder values with the appropriate values from our usedWords array.

override func tableView(_ tableView: UITableView, numberOfRowsInSection section: Int) -> Int {
    return usedWords.count

override func tableView(_ tableView: UITableView, cellForRowAt indexPath: IndexPath) -> UITableViewCell {
    let cell = tableView.dequeueReusableCell(withIdentifier: "WordCell", for: indexPath)
    cell.textLabel?.text = usedWords[indexPath.row]
    return cell

By overriding these methods, we can customize the behavior and appearance of our table view. In numberOfRowsInSection(_:), we return the count of the usedWords array to determine the number of rows in the table view. In cellForRow(at:), we dequeue a reusable cell with the identifier "WordCell" and set its text label's text to the corresponding word from the usedWords array.


In this tutorial, we have covered the process of retrieving text from a separate file in a Swift app and incorporating it into an anagram game. We have explored how to load the file's contents into a string array, handle errors and empty word lists, start a new game, and display the found words in a table view. By implementing these steps, you can create a fully functioning anagram game that challenges users to find subwords from a given word. Feel free to enhance the game with additional features and customizations. Happy coding!


  • Swift's string type makes it easy to retrieve text from a separate file
  • Loading the word list into an array allows for efficient word management
  • Handling errors and empty word lists ensures a smooth user experience
  • Starting a new game resets the current word and removes previous guesses
  • Displaying the words in a table view provides a visual representation of the user's progress


Q: Can I add my own word list to the game? A: Absolutely! You can simply replace the contents of the start.txt file with your own word list. Just make sure each word is on a separate line.

Q: Are there any limitations on the length or complexity of the words? A: There are no predefined limitations on the length or complexity of the words. The game can handle words of any length and complexity.

Q: How can I customize the appearance of the table view? A: You can modify the table view's appearance by adjusting its properties, such as the background color, font, cell layout, and more. Explore the documentation for UITableView to discover the available customization options.

Q: Can I implement a scoring system in the game? A: Yes, you can add a scoring system by assigning values to each word based on its length or complexity. You can then calculate the player's score by summing the scores of all the words they have found.

Q: Is it possible to add a timer to the game? A: Definitely! You can incorporate a timer by using a Timer object and updating the game logic based on the elapsed time. This would add an additional challenge for the players and increase the excitement of the game.

Q: Are there any multiplayer features in the game? A: Currently, the game doesn't have built-in multiplayer features. However, you can expand the game to support multiplayer functionality by integrating networking capabilities, allowing players to compete or collaborate with each other.

Q: Can I add hints or clues to assist the players? A: Yes, you can implement a hint system by providing occasional hints or clues to help the players find subwords. You can add a button or gesture recognizer to trigger the hint functionality and reveal a valid subword from the current word.

Q: How can I add a dictionary check to validate the words? A: To validate the words, you can utilize a dictionary API or a local dictionary file. By checking the validity of the words against a dictionary, you can ensure that only valid words are accepted as guesses.

Q: Is there a limit to the number of words that can be found in a game? A: There is no predefined limit to the number of words that can be found in a game. The game will continue until the player decides to stop or until all possible subwords have been discovered.

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