The layout of the data and how it is organised within a file determines how it’s function and how it is displayed. A file format is recognisable by its extension, which is normally three letters. In order for a program to access data in a file, the file must be presented in a way the program can interpret the content.
There are thousands of file types. Some of the more commonly used file types are listed below:
Text Files: A text file is a computer file that only contains text and has no special formatting such as bold text, italic text, images, etc.
|.DOC||DOC is a document file format used by Microsoft Word, also used with most word processing software, including OpenOffice. DOC stands for DOCument file. A DOC file can contain formatted text, images, tables, graphs, charts, page formatting, and print settings.|
|.DOCX||A file with the DOCX file extension is a Microsoft Word Open XML Format Document file.|
|.MSG||MSG is a file extension for a mail message file format used by Microsoft Outlook and Exchange. An MSG file can contain plain ASCII text for the headers and the main message body as well as hyperlinks and attachments.|
|.ODT||An ODT file is a text document created by various word processors, such as the Writer program included in Apache OpenOffice and LibreOffice. It contains different elements such as text, images, drawn objects, and styles. ODT files are formatted using the OASIS OpenDocument XML-based standard.|
|.PAGES||A file with the PAGES file extension is a Pages Document file created by the Apple Pages word processor program. … PAGES files are actually just ZIP files that include not only the document information necessary for Pages but also a JPG file and an optional PDF file that can be used for previewing the document|
|.RTF||RTF is a text file format used by Microsoft products, such as Word and Office. RTF, or Rich Text Format, files were developed by Microsoft in 1987 for use in their products and for cross-platform document interchange|
|.TXT||TXT is a file extension for a text file, used by a variety of text editors. Text is a human-readable sequence of characters and the words they form that can be encoded into computer-readable formats.|
|.ASC||An ASC file is an armored ASCII file used by Pretty Good Privacy (PGP), an encryption program utilized for secure communication. It contains a digitally signed message and may store plain-text written information, as well as binary information encoded as text|
|.WPD||The WDP file type is primarily associated with Windows Media by Microsoft Corporation. WMPhoto is a high compression still image format for continuous tone photographic images developed by Microsoft as a part of the Windows Media family|
|.WPS||The file format WPS is used by Microsoft Works Word Processor files. These files contain word processing documents created by the Microsoft Works software suite. WPS files contain richly formatted text as well as images, clipart and tables.|
Data files are the most common type of computer files. They may be installed with applications or created by users. Most data files are saved in a binary format, though some store data as plain text.
|.CSV||A CSV is a comma-separated values file, which allows data to be saved in a tabular format. CSVs look like a garden-variety spreadsheet but with a .csv extension.|
|.DAT||A DAT file is a generic data file created by a specific application. It may contain data in binary or text format|
|.KEY||A KEY file is a generic file extension used by various programs when registering legal copies of the software. It may be saved in a plain text format but generally contains some form of encrypted key string that authenticates the purchase and registers the software.|
|.PPS||A PPS file is a slide show created by Microsoft PowerPoint, a popular program included with Microsoft Office for creating presentations. It is saved as a completed slide show, which can be viewed by PowerPoint, OpenOffice, and several other presentation programs.|
|.PPT||PPT is a file extension for a presentation file format used by Microsoft PowerPoint, the popular presentation software commonly used for office and educational slide shows. All text images, sound and video used in the presentation are contained in the PPT file.|
|.PPTX||PPTX is the default presentation file format for PowerPoint 2007 and newer. The older version of the PPTX file is PPT, which was used in Microsoft PowerPoint 2003 and older.|
|.SDF||SDF is an acronym for Standard Database Format. Files that contain the .sdf file extension normally contain standard database files that store data in a structured file format. They are often used to transfer data between different database applications.|
An audio file format is a file format for storing digital audio data on a computer system. The bit layout of the audio data (excluding metadata) is called the audio coding format and can be uncompressed, or compressed to reduce the file size, often using lossy compression.
|.WAV||A WAV file is a raw audio format created by Microsoft and IBM. The format uses containers to store audio data, track numbers, sample rate, and bit rate|
|.AIFF||High-quality audio file created using the (AIFF) file format; contains CD-quality audio stored in a non-compressed, lossless format, similar .WAV files; commonly used to burn audio CDs.|
|.MP3||An MP3 file is an audio file that uses a compression algorithm to reduce the overall file size. It’s known as a “lossy” format because that compression is irreversible and some of the source’s original data is lost during the compression|
|.AAC||Advanced Audio Coding (AAC) is an audio coding standard for lossy digital audio compression. Designed to be the successor of the MP3 format, AAC generally achieves higher sound quality than MP3 at the same bit rate.|
|.WMA||WMA is a file extension used with Windows Media Player. WMA stands for Windows Media Audio. WMA is both an audio format and an audio codec. WMA was intended to be a competitor for the MP3 and RealAudio audio formats.|
|.FLAC||A FLAC file is an audio file compressed in the Free Lossless Audio Codec (FLAC) format, which is an open source lossless audio compression format. It is similar to an . MP3 file, but is compressed without any loss in quality or loss of any original audio data|
|.MPA||An MPA file is an audio file compressed with MPEG Layer II compression, which reduces the file size while minimally affecting the overall sound quality.|
|.M3U||An M3U file is a media playlist file supported by several media players such as Winamp and iTunes|
|.PCM||A PCM file is a raw file format (meaning it is not compressed) used for storing digital audio. The PCM format stores audio in a format that is also sometimes used by the WAV and AIF file formats.|
|.OGG||An OGG file is a compressed audio file that uses free, unpatented Ogg Vorbis audio compression. It is similar to an . MP3 file, but sounds better than an MP3 file of equal size|
A video file format is a type of file format for storing digital video data on a computer system. … A standardized (or in some cases de facto standard) video file type such as . webm is a profile specified by a restriction on which container format and which video and audio compression formats are allowed.
|.AVI||An AVI file is a video file saved in the Audio Video Interleave (AVI) multimedia container format created by Microsoft. It stores video and audio data that may be encoded in a variety of codecs|
|.FLV||An FLV file is a flash-compatible video file exported by the Flash Video Exporter plug-in (included with Adobe Animate) or other program with FLV file support. The file stores audio and video data in a similar format used by standard Flash (.SWF) files.|
|.WMV||A WMV file is a video file based on the Microsoft Advanced Systems Format (ASF) container format and compressed with Windows Media compression.|
|.MOV||A MOV file is a common multimedia container file format developed by Apple and compatible with both Macintosh and Windows platforms.|
|.MP4||MP4s are one of the more common video file formats used for downloading and streaming videos from the internet. It’s a highly versatile and compressed video format that also can store audio, subtitles, and still images.|
|.AVCHD||A file-based format for digital recording and playback of high-definition video; its name is an acronym which stands for Advanced Video Coding High Definition.|
An image file format may store data in an uncompressed format, a compressed format (which may be lossless or lossy), or a vector format. Image files are composed of digital data in one of these formats so that the data can be rasterized for use on a computer display or printer.
|.BMP||The BMP extension represents Bitmap Image file. BMP file contains raster graphics data which are independent of display devices. That means a BMP image file can be viewed without a graphics adapter.|
|.EPS||EPS is a file extension for a graphics file format used in vector-based images in Adobe Illustrator. EPS stands for Encapsulated PostScript. An EPS file can contain text as well as graphics.|
|.GIF||Stands for “Graphics Interchange Format.” GIF is an image file format commonly used for images on the web and sprites in software programs. Unlike the JPEG image format, GIFs uses lossless compression that does not degrade the quality of the image.|
|.JPG and JPEG||JPEG stands for “Joint Photographic Experts Group”. It’s a standard image format for containing lossy and compressed image data. Despite the huge reduction in file size JPEG images maintain reasonable image quality.|
|.PICT||PICT is a graphics file format introduced on the original Apple Macintosh computer as its standard metafile format. It allows the interchange of graphics (both bitmapped and vector), and some limited text support, between Mac applications, and was the native graphics format of QuickDraw.|
|.PNG||A PNG, or portable network graphic, is an image type that’s commonly used in web design to provide a transparent background and/or a semi-transparent image. PNGs are often used to design logos as the image can be easily placed over a background of a picture, block of colour or pattern. PNGs tend to be much larger than other image file types, such as JPG or GIF, and so it’s usually a good idea to limit their use unless you have a large storage capacity or a lower-end PC.|
|.PSD||PSD file is a layered image file used in Adobe PhotoShop. PSD, which stands for Photoshop Document, is the default format that Photoshop uses for saving data. PSD is a proprietary file that allows the user to work with the images’ individual layers even after the file has been saved.|
|.TIF||TIF is an image format file for high-quality graphics. TIF files are also called .TIFF, which stands for “Tagged Image Format File.” TIF files were created in the 1986 as a file format for scanned images in an attempt to get all companies to use one standard file format instead of multiple|
|.AI||AI is a graphics file format created by Adobe systems. It is short for Adobe Illustrator Artwork file. AI files are vector based graphics contained in a single page.|
Page layout files are documents that may contain both text and image data. They also include formatting information, which defines the page size, margins, and how content is organized on the page. Page layout documents are often used for creating printable publications, such as newspapers, magazines, and brochures.
|Short for Portable Document Format, PDF is a file format and file extension developed by Adobe that enables users to capture the native appearance of a document. It is useful because it allows the document to be viewed and printed the same way on any device.|
|.PCT||A PCT file is an image saved in the Macintosh PICT format, which was developed by Apple in 1984 for storing images using Apple QuickDraw technology.|
|.INDD||An INDD file is a professional page layout project created with Adobe InDesign. INDD files are commonly used for creating and formatting books, magazines, newspapers, flyers, and brochures.|
A spreadsheet file contains data in the form of rows and columns. You can open, view and edit such files using spreadsheet software applications such as Microsoft Excel that is now available for both Windows and MacOS operating system. Similarly, Google sheets is a free online spreadsheet creating and editing tool that works from any web browser. A spreadsheet file can be saved in several different file formats, each having a different file extension for unique representation. Data is stored in cells either in plain form such as text string, numbers, date, currency, etc. or as formulas that change a cell’s value when referenced cell values change.
|.CSV||A CSV is a comma-separated values file, which allows data to be saved in a tabular format. CSVs look like a garden-variety spreadsheet but with a .csv extension.|
|.ODS||An ODS file is a spreadsheet created by the Calc program included with the Apache OpenOffice suite. It stores data in cells that are organized into rows and columns.|
|.XLM||A file with the XLM file extension is an Excel 4.0 Macro file. Macros allow automation so that repetitive tasks can be “played” to save time and lower the likelihood of errors.|
|.XLS||XLS is a file extension for a spreadsheet file format created by Microsoft for use with Microsoft Excel. XLS stands for eXceL Spreadsheet.|
|.XLSX||xlsx file indicates that the file is compressed and respects the XML standard.|
Database files store data in a structured format, organized into tables and fields. Individual entries within a database are called records. Databases are commonly used for storing data referenced by dynamic websites
|.SQL||SQL is a file extension for a Structured Query Language file format written in ASCII. SQL files are used by database products. A SQL file typically contains queries to modify the structure of a relational database|
|.PDB||Program database (PDB) is a proprietary file format (developed by Microsoft) for storing debugging information about a program (or, commonly, program modules such as a DLL or EXE). PDB files commonly have a . pdb extension. A PDB file is typically created from source files during compilation.|
|.DB||Microsoft Access database file DB is a database file format for Windows. DB files store data information, usually stored in a series of tables, table fields, and field data values.|
The Game Files category includes saved video game files and files referenced by video games. It also includes game ROMs, which are software copies of games developed for other systems, such as Super Nintendo and Nintendo 64. These files can be played using a software emulator
|.B||A B file is a saved game file created by Grand Theft Auto III (GTA3), an automotive-based action game.|
|.DEM||A DEM file is a game replay file created by various first-person shooter games and most popularly by Counter-Strike|
|.GAM||A GAM file is created by various video games to store saved games. It allows the gamer to continue where he or she left off the next time the program is opened.|
|.NES||A NES file is a game ROM created from an NES (Nintendo Entertainment System) video game.|
|.ROM||ROM is a file extension for a video game emulator file extracted from cartridge-based home video game console cartridges such as Colecovision, Sega, Nintendo, etc.|
DWG (from drawing) is a proprietary binary file format used for storing two- and three- dimensional design data and metadata. It is the native format for several CAD packages including DraftSight, AutoCAD, BricsCAD, IntelliCAD (and its variants), Caddie and Open Design Alliance compliant applications.
|.DWG||A DWG file is a database of 2D or 3D drawings created with AutoCAD, a professional CAD program. It contains vector image data and metadata that describes the contents of the file.|
|.CAD||cad file extension is used for a 3D graphics file format, which is often associated with CAD (computer aided design) projects. These CAD files are also known as CAD drawing files, and these may be generated by using CAD tools like the AutoSketch software from Autodesk, Inc.|
GIS file formats. A GIS file format is a standard of encoding geographical information into a computer file. They are created mainly by government mapping agencies (such as the USGS or National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency) or by GIS software developers.
|.GPX||It contains longitude and latitude location data that may include waypoints, routes, and tracks. GPX files are saved in XML format,|
|.KML||A KML file stores geographic modeling information in XML format. It includes points, lines, polygons, and images. KML files are used to identify and label locations, create different camera angles, overlay textures, and add HTML content.|
|.KMZ||KMZ is a file extension for a placemark file used by Google Earth. KMZ stands for Keyhole Markup language Zipped. It is a compressed version of a KML (Keyhole Markup Language) file. Keyhole was the founding company of the Earth Viewer software that Google Earth was built upon.|
The Web Files category includes files related to websites and Web servers. These include static and dynamic webpages, Web applications, and files referenced by webpages. Files generated by Web development software are also included in this category.
|.CSS||A CSS file is a cascading style sheet (CSS) file used to format the contents of a webpage. It contains customized, global properties for how to display HTML elements. CSS files can define the size, color, font, line spacing, indentation, borders, and location of HTML elements.|
|.HTML / .HTM||HTML is a HyperText Markup Language file format used as the basis of a web page. HTML is a file extension used interchangeably with HTM.|
|.EXE||EXE is a file extension for an executable file format. An executable is a file that contains a program – that is, a particular kind of file that is capable of being executed or run as a program in the computer.|
|.CSR||A CSR file is a file created as a signing request for a digital certificate. It contains an encrypted block of text that identifies the applicant of the certificate and includes encrypted data|
|.ASP||ASP is a file extension for the Active Server Page file format used by an HTML file containing a Microsoft server-processed script. An ASP files’ scripts are processed on a Microsoft Web server before the page is sent to the user|
|.JSP||A JSP file is a server-generated web page. It is similar to an .ASP or .PHP file, but contains Java code instead of ActiveX or PHP.|
|.PHP||PHP file extension is a PHP Source Code file that contains Hypertext Preprocessor code. They are often used as web page files that usually generate HTML from a PHP engine running on a web server. The HTML content that the PHP engine creates from the code is what’s seen in the web browser.|
A compressed file is any file that contains one or more files or directory that is smaller than their original file size. These files make downloading faster easier and allow more data to be stored on a removable media.
|.ZIP||A ZIP file, like other archive file formats, is simply a collection of one or more files and/or folders but is compressed into a single file for easy transportation and compression.|
|.RAR||RAR files are compressed files created by the WinRAR archiver. RAR files can be split into multi-volume archives when dealing with large file sets. Like Zip files, these files need to be extracted.|