Common file types

Extension Type Characteristics
.aam media file MacroMedia Shockwave
.arc archive file
(obsolete)
Open with PKZip or WinZip
.asp web page active server page – used to code Web pages that connect to databases
.au audio Sound file – open with player – used on older Web pages
.avi video clip Audio/Video Interleaved – movie clip – open with mplayer, IE, or Navigator with plugin
.bak backup file Used by many applications – often created automatically
.bat application DOS batch file – run by double-clicking in Win95 – edit with Notepad
.bmp graphic file Microsoft bitmap – open in MS Paint or graphics program
.cab archive Microsoft installation achive (cabinet file) – similar to .zip archive
.cfg Configuration file
.cgi Common Gateway Interface – used to exchange information with a server (often used with Perl)
.chk Data recovered after running Checkdisk
.css style sheet plain text file containing web page style preferences
.csv data Comma Separated Value file – a way of presenting tabular data in
a text file – usually viewed in MS Excel.
.dat data file Used by several applications. Not to be opened directly.
.dcr media file Macromedia Shockwave movie
.dir media file Macromedia Director file – provides animation and interactivity
.dll dynamic link library Software used by Windows to provide services to applications
.doc document Microsoft Word file
.dot template Microsoft Word template
.drv device driver Used to control hardware – (old)
.dtd text document type definition
.exe application self-extracting or executable file – run by double-clicking in Win95
.faq data file Frequently Asked Questions – almost always a text file
.fla media Macromedia Flash animation file – requires Shockwave
.fnt Font file
.gif image graphic in GIF format – open in web browser or graphics program
.gz application compressed archive file created by Gzip in the UNIX operating system
.hqx archive Compressed Macintosh file archive created by Binhex
.htm text file hypertext document [same as .html] – open in a web browser – edit in any word-processor or text editor
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.ico Windows icon Open with an icon editor
.ini Initialisation file
.jar Java Java compressed archive file
.jav Java cross platform programming language used to create complex interactive forms and special effects
.jpg image Graphic in JPEG format (Joint Photographic Experts Group) View with web browser or image editing program
.js JavaScript part of Web page used to create interactive effects such as mouse roll-overs and pop-up boxes
.jso Java server page
.kbd data file Keyboard layout data
.log data file Created by many applications – usually a text file – edit in any text editor
.mdb database Database file created by Microsoft Access, a widely-used desktop relational database program; contains the database structure (tables and fields) and database entries (table rows) as well as data entry forms, queries, stored procedures, reports, and database security settings.
.mid audio audio file in MIDI format
.mov video QuickTime movie – view using IE or Netscape using plug-in
.mp3 audio Audio file in MP3 format – CD-quality sound, with 10x compression
.mpg movie Video movie in MPEG format (Motion Picture Experts Group)
.odf data OpenDocument Formula. Spreadsheet formula used by OpenOffice.org and StarOffice Calc; allows the results of calculations performed within the spreadsheet to be automatically entered into one or more cells; based on the OASIS OpenDocument standard and formatted in XML.
.old Backup file (generic)
.pdf application Portable Document Format – requires Adobe Acrobat reader
.pl application Perl source file – text file, editable in any text editor
.png image graphic in Portable Network Graphics format – can work on all platforms
.ppt application Microsoft PowerPoint file – used for creating slides and overhead presentations
.pub Microsoft Publisher page template file
.ram audio Real Audio file – open in browser with RealAudio plug-in
.rtf application Rich Text Format –
word-processor file with formatting codes
.scr screen saver
.sea application Self-extracting archive –
Apple-Mac – requires Stuffit
.sig signature Appended to outgoing email messages – editable in text editor
.swf media Macromedia Shockwave Flash animation movie
.sys DOS system file – device driver or hardware configuration info
.tar application file archive created in the Unix operating system
.tar.gz application .tar archive compressed by Gzip
.tif image Tagged Image File format – graphic file – editable in graphics program
.tmp temporary file – used by many programs
.ttf True Type Font file – view with fontview
.txt text contains only ASCII code – also called ‘text file’ – editable in any text editor
.wav audio Sound file in Waveform format
.wsz graphics Winamp skin – visual interface for audio control board
.xls application Microsoft Excel worksheet file
.xml Web page extensible markup language – a plain text file for web pages
.zip application compressed file – open with WinZip or PKZip

© Roy Johnson 2002


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5 Responses to “Common file types”

  1. shania says:

    Will you please help me find the website information for .odf files.

  2. mantex says:

    Sure thing! We’ve now added an entry for .odf files.

  3. Nobantu says:

    Can you please give me information about .mbd file

  4. mantex says:

    MDB – Database file created by Microsoft Access, a widely-used desktop relational database program; contains the database structure (tables and fields) and database entries (table rows) as well as data entry forms, queries, stored procedures, reports, and database security settings.

    I have added this to the file.

  5. adeam says:

    This helped me with my ICT project.

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