The files: types, extensions and programs to use

The files: types, extensions and programs to use

 What is an Archive and how does it work?

Information on a computer is stored in what are called files. Normally the files consist of a name, a period and an extension (eg PROGRAMA.EXE). The name helps us to differentiate some files from others and the extension to give it specific properties. These associated properties or "file type" are given by the letters that make up the extension. Normally its maximum is three letters although there are some exceptions (.jpeg, .html, .java, etc.). Each of these small groups of characters is associated with a file type.

Take for example a file called "DOCUMENT.TXT", its name will be DOCUMENT and its extension TXT. This extension is associated with the types of files that contain text, therefore we can assume that there will be something written inside. Our operating system (Windows in this case) will have a list of the programs with which this file can be used and if we want to view it, it will be opened with the NotePad or Notepad.

However, we will probably have the problem that if we explore a directory or folder we only see DOCUMENT (without the .TXT behind it). This is because Windows hides the file extensions . This is dangerous due to the fact that there are types of files that are potential virus containers, and if we do not know their extension we will not know. For Windows to show us the extensions of all types of files we will go to Windows Explorer and in the Tools menu we will access the folder options. In the new window we will point to the View tab and in the list we will uncheck the option "Hide file extensions for known file types".

Since we are in the folder options, the next tab "File Types" will be very useful. It contains the list of different extensions that Windows recognizes and with which program they are associated. From her we can change all of her properties.

By marking the type of file that interests us in the list and with the Change button we can choose to have it run by a different program. In the Advanced Options we can also select the icon with which it appears and the possible actions.

File Types

We can divide the files into two large groups. These are the executables and the non-executables or data files . The fundamental difference between them is that the former are created to function by themselves and the latter store information that will have to be used with the help of a program.

However, most programs have other files that are necessary apart from the executable. These attachments that the programs require are necessary for their proper functioning, and although they may have different formats, they cannot be separated from their original program. Or at least if we want it to continue working well.

Within the types of data files, groups can be created, especially by the subject or type of information they store. This is how we gonna make it whit this tutorial. We will separate the groups into image, text, video, compressed files... and we will name some associated programs.

The most common file types are:

  • From text: txt, doc, docx, etc.
  • Image: jpg, gif, bmp, png, etc.
  • Video: avi, mp4, mpeg, mwv, etc.
  • Execution or system: exe, bat, dll, sys, etc.
  • Audio: mp3, wav, wma, etc.
  • From compressed archive: zip, rar, tar, etc.
  • Reading: pdf, epub, azw, ibook, etc.
  • From disk image: iso, mds, img, etc.

Archives Nomenclature

All file formats or extensions are capitalized in the left column. To your right and in the same line, all of them have an attached explanation or the recommended programs for their use. All the most important extensions that require a more complete explanation are marked with an asterisk (*) and expanded at the end of their corresponding category.

System File Types and Extensions

These are the files necessary for the internal functioning of the Operating System as well as for the different programs that work on it. It is not recommended to move, edit or vary them in any way because these types of files can affect the proper functioning of the system.

  • 386: Virtual device driver
  • ACA: Microsoft Agent Character
  • ACG: Microsoft Agent Preview
  • ACS: Microsoft Agent Character
  • ACW: Accessibility Wizard Settings
  • ANI: Animated Cursor
  • BAT: MS-DOS batch file
  • BFC: Briefcase
  • BKF: Windows Backup
  • BLG: System Monitor
  • CAT: Safety Catalog
  • CER: Security Certificate
  • CFG: Settings
  • CHK: Recovered File Fragments
  • CHM: Compiled HTML Help
  • CLP: Clipboard Clip
  • CMD: Windows NT Script
  • CNF: Marking speed
  • COM: MS-DOS application
  • CPL: Control Panel Extension
  • CRL: Certificate revocation list
  • CRT: Safety Certificate
  • CUR: Cursor
  • DAT: Database
  • DB: Database
  • DER: Safety certificate
  • DLL: Library, application extension
  • DRV: Device Driver
  • DS: TWAIN Data Source file
  • DSN: Data source name
  • DUN: Dial-up Network
  • EXE: Application
  • FND: Saved Search
  • FNG: Font group
  • FOLDER: Folder
  • FON: Source
  • GRP: Microsoft Program Group
  • HLP: Help
  • HT: HyperTerminal
  • INF: Installation information
  • INI: Configuration options
  • INS: Internet Communications Settings
  • ISP: Internet Communications Settings
  • JOB: Task object
  • KEY: Registry Entries
  • LNK: Direct Access
  • MSC: Microsoft Common Console Document
  • MSI: Windows Installer Package
  • MSP: Windows Installer Patch
  • MSSTYLES: Windows Visual Style
  • NFO: MSInfo
  • OCX: ActiveX Control
  • OTF: OpenType Font
  • P7C: Digital identifier
  • PFM: Type 1 Font
  • PIF: Direct access to MS-DOS program
  • PKO: Public Key Security Object
  • PMA: System Monitor File
  • PMC: System Monitor File
  • PML: System Monitor File
  • PMR: System Monitor File
  • PMW: System Monitor File
  • PNF: Pre-compiled installation information
  • PSW: Password Backup
  • QDS: Directory for consultation
  • RDP: Remote Desktop Connection
  • REG: Registry Entries
  • SCF: Windows Explorer Command
  • SCR: Screen Protector
  • SCT: Windows Script Component
  • SHB: Direct access to document
  • SHS: Trim
  • SYS: System file
  • THEME: Windows Theme
  • TMP: Temporary file
  • TTC: True Type Font
  • TTF: TrueType Font
  • UDL: Links to data
  • VXD: Virtual Device Driver
  • WAB: Address Book
  • WMDB: Media Library
  • WME: Windows Media Encoder Session
  • WSC: Windows Script Component
  • WSF: Windows Script File
  • WSH: Windows Script Host Settings File
  • ZAP: Software Installation Configuration

Audio File Types and Extensions

Audio files are all those that contain sounds (not just music). The different extensions of these file types cater to the compression format used to convert real sound into digital.

  • 669: Winamp
  • AIF: Winamp
  • AIFC: AIFF format
  • AIFF: Winamp
  • AMF: Winamp
  • ASF: Windows Media
  • AU: Winamp
  • AUDIOCD: AudioCD
  • CDA: Winamp
  • CDDA: AIFF Audio
  • FAR: Winamp
  • IT: Winamp
  • ITZ: Winamp
  • LWV: Microsoft Linguistically Enhanced Sound File
  • MID: Winamp
  • MIDI: Winamp
  • MIZ: Winamp
  • MP1: Winamp
  • MP2: Winamp
  • MP3 (*): Winamp
  • MTM: Winamp
  • OGG (**): Winamp
  • GMO: (Ogg)
  • OKT: Winamp
  • RA: Real Audio
  • RMI: Winamp
  • SND: Winamp
  • STM: Winamp
  • STZ: Winamp
  • ULT: Winamp
  • VOC: Winamp
  • WAV: Winamp
  • WAX: Windows Media Audio Shortcut
  • WM: Windows Media
  • WMA: Winamp
  • WMV: Windows Media
  • XM: Winamp
  • XMZ: Winamp
*MP3: Today it is the most widespread format for compressing music on the Internet. Its high quality achieved in its small size makes it the favorite of most users to compress their music and share it on the network.

** OGG: This format is completely open and patent-free. As professional and quality as any other but with all the values ​​of the Open Source movement.

Video File Types and Extensions

Video formats not only contain images but also the accompanying sound. It is quite common that when trying to view a video we cannot see the image even if we hear the sound. This is due to the compression format used in them, which may not be recognized by our computer, therefore the codecs of each of the formats must always be updated.

  • ASF: Windows Media
  • AVI (*): BSPlayer
  • BIK: RAD Video Tools
  • DIV: DivX Player
  • DIVX: DivX Player
  • DVD: PowerDVD
  • IVF: Indeo
  • M1V: (mpeg)
  • MOV (**): QuickTime
  • MOVIE: (mov)
  • MP2V: (mpeg)
  • MP4: (MPEG-4)
  • MPA: (mpeg)
  • MPE: (mpeg)
  • MPEG (***): (mpeg)
  • MPG: (mpeg)
  • MPV2: (mpeg)
  • QT: QuickTime
  • QTL: QuickTime
  • RPM: RealPlayer
  • SMK: RAD Video Tools
  • WM: Windows Media
  • WMV: Windows Media
  • WOB: PowerDVD
* AVI: The most common type of video file on the Internet is AVI. Quality and size are its greatest supporters before the public.

** MOV: It is the standard video format for Macintosh and it is widely used in videos to be played on web pages (trailers, advertising ...).

*** MPEG: acronym for "Moving Pictures Experts Group" is also found as MPG

Compressed File Types and Extensions

Compression formats are very useful when it comes to storing information as they make it take up as little space as possible and many files can be gathered into one.

  • ACE: WinACE
  • ARJ: WinARJ
  • BZ: IZarc / WinRAR
  • BZ2: IZarc / WinRAR
  • CAB: CAB Station
  • GZ: IZarc / WinRAR
  • HA: IZarc / WinRAR
  • ISO: WinRAR
  • LHA: IZarc / WinRAR
  • LZH: IZarc / WinRAR
  • R00: WinRAR
  • R01: WinRAR
  • R02: WinRAR
  • R03: WinRAR
  • R0 ...: WinRAR
  • RAR (*): WinRAR
  • TAR: IZarc / WinRAR
  • TBZ: IZarc / WinRAR
  • TBZ2: WinRAR
  • TGZ: IZarc / WinRAR
  • USA: WinCode / WinRAR
  • EU: IZarc / WinRAR
  • XXE: IZarc / WinRAR
  • ZIP (**): WinZIP
  • ZOO: IZarc

* RAR: Very effective compression format, it has one of the best compression / decompression programs that is capable of supporting practically all formats, not just its own. The extensions R00, R01, R02 ... also belong to this format when the tablet is divided into several parts.

** ZIP: The other great used. Supported by the vast majority of extractor programs, as it is the most widespread, it is the best known to the general public.

Image File Types and Extensions

There is little to say about the images and their file types except that each one uses a representation method and that some offer higher quality than others. It should also be noted that many graphic editing programs use their own formats for working with images.

  • AIS: ACDSee Image Streams
  • BMP (*): XnView / ACDSee
  • BW: XnView / ACDSee
  • CDR: CorelDRAW Graphic
  • CDT: CorelDRAW Graphic
  • CGM: CorelDRAW Graphic
  • CMX: CorelDRAW Exchange Graphic
  • DCX: XnView / ACDSee
  • DIB: XnView / ACDSee
  • EMF: XnView / ACDSee
  • GBR: The Gimp
  • GIF (**): XnView / ACDSee
  • GIH: The Gimp
  • ICO: Icon
  • IFF: XnView / ACDSee
  • ILBM: XnView / ACDSee
  • JFIF: XnView / ACDSee
  • JIF: XnView / ACDSee
  • JPE: XnView / ACDSee
  • JPEG (***): XnView / ACDSee
  • JPG: XnView / ACDSee
  • KDC: XnView / ACDSee
  • LBM: XnView / ACDSee
  • MAC: MacPaint
  • PAT: The Gimp
  • PCD: XnView / ACDSee
  • PCX: XnView / ACDSee
  • PIC: XnView / ACDSee
  • PNG: XnView / ACDSee
  • PNTG: MacPaint
  • PIX: XnView / ACDSee
  • PSD: Adobe Photoshop
  • PSP: Paint Shop Pro
  • QTI: QuickTime
  • QTIF: QuickTime
  • RGB: XnView / ACDSee
  • RGBA: XnView / ACDSee
  • RIF: Painter
  • RLE: XnView / ACDSee
  • SGI: XnView / ACDSee
  • TGA: XnView / ACDSee
  • TIF: XnView / ACDSee
  • TIFF: XnView / ACDSee
  • WMF: XnView / ACDSee
  • XCF: The Gimp

* BMP: Extension born from the name of this BitMaP or Bitmap format, great quality but excessive size, it is not used much on the Internet due to its slow loading.

** GIF: This format has features that make it ideal for use on web pages, such as the ability to give it a transparent background or insert movement.

*** JPEG: It is also seen as JPE and especially as JPG is one of the most widespread, due to its compression and quality, in web pages for logos and headers.

Text File Types and Extensions

Within text documents we have to differentiate between plain and rich text. That is, between the formats that simply save the letters (txt, log ...) and those that we can assign a size, font, color, etc. (Doc)

  • DIC: Notepad / WordPad
  • DOC (*): Microsoft Word
  • DIZ: Notepad / WordPad
  • DOCHTML: Microsoft Word HTML
  • EXC: Notepad / WordPad
  • IDX: Notepad / WordPad
  • LOG: Notepad / WordPad
  • PDF: Adobe Acrobat
  • RTF: Microsoft Word
  • SCP: Notepad / WordPad
  • TXT (**): Notepad / WordPad
  • WRI: Write
  • WTX: Notepad / WordPad
* DOC: Rich text documents (possibility of assigning formatting to letters) is especially widespread because it is the usual one of one of the most used programs, Microsoft Word.

** TXT: Plain text format, common for records.

Other File Extensions


To save what is included on a CD in a single file, so-called "disk images" are used, their name comes from the fact that they are exactly the same as what is saved on the disk, like an image reflected in a mirror. With them you can make multiple identical copies of a disc.

  • MDS: Alcohol 120%
  • CCD: Alcohol 120% / CloneCD
  • CUE: Alcohol 120% / CDRWin (+ .BIN)
  • ISO: Alcohol 120% / Ahead Nero
  • BTW: Alcohol 120%
  • CDI: Alcohol 120%
  • IMG: CloneCD (also from floppy disk and drawing)


  • NRA: Nero: Audio CD
  • NRB: Nero: bootable CD-ROM
  • NRE: Nero: CD EXTRA
  • NRG: Ahead Nero
  • NRH: Nero: Hybrid CD-ROM
  • NRI: Nero: ISO CD-ROM
  • NRM: Nero: Mixed CD
  • NRU: Nero: CD-ROM UDF
  • NRV: Nero: Super Video CD
  • CDC: Nero CD Cover


Most programs have their own file formats for use in various functions. As some of them are quite common, we detail the most important here.


  • SDA: Drawing
  • SDC: Spreadsheet
  • SDD: Presentation
  • SDS: Diagram
  • SDW: Text
  • SFS: Frame
  • SGL: Master Document
  • SMD: Mail Document
  • SMF: Formula
  • STC: Spreadsheet Template
  • STD: Drawing template
  • STI: Presentation Template
  • STW: Text Template
  • SXC: Spreadsheet
  • SXD: Drawing
  • SXG: Master Document
  • SXI: Presentation
  • SXM: Formula
  • SXW: Text
  • VOR: Template


  • QPX: Player Plugin
  • QTP: Preferences
  • QTS: QuickTime
  • QTX: Extension
  • QUP: Update Package


  • POT: Template
  • POTHTML: HTML Template
  • PPA: Complement
  • PPS: Presentation
  • PPT: Presentation
  • PPTHTML: HTML Document


  • DOT: Microsoft Word Template
  • DOTHTML: Microsoft Word HTML Template
  • WBK: Microsoft Word Backup
  • WIZ: Wizard for Microsoft Word


  • CSV: Comma Separated Values ​​File
  • DIF: Data exchange format
  • DQY: ODBC query files
  • XLA: Plugin
  • XLB: Spreadsheet
  • XLC: Graphic
  • XLD: Dialog Sheet
  • XLK: Backup file
  • XLL: Plugin XLL
  • XLM: Macro
  • XLS: Spreadsheet
  • XLSHTML: HTML Document
  • XLT: Template
  • XLTHTML: HTML Template
  • XLV: VBA module
  • XLW: Work area


  • ASX: Audio or video playlist
  • WMP: Player File
  • WMS: Mask file
  • WMX: Audio or video playlist
  • WMZ: Skin Pack
  • WPL: Playlist
  • WVX: Audio or video playlist


  • CTT: Contact List
  • YMG: Messenger Class
  • YPS: Messenger Class


  • ASP: Active Server Pages
  • CSS: Cascading Style Sheet Document
  • HTA: HTML Application
  • HTM: HTML Document
  • HTML: HTML Document
  • HTT: Hypertext Template
  • JS: JScript Script File
  • JSE: JScript Encoded Script File
  • JSP: JSP file
  • MHT: MHTML Document
  • MHTML: MHTML Document
  • PHP: Personal Home Page
  • SHTM: SHTM file
  • URL: HTML Document
  • XML: HTML Document
  • XSL: XSL Stylesheet
  • EML: Outlook / Eudora / The Bat
  • MBX: Eudora Mailbox
  • MSG: Message E-mail
  • NWS: News Message


  • BIN: Binary
  • CLASS: Java
  • C: C
  • CPP: C
  • JAVA: Java
  • M3U: Winamp playlist file
  • MAX: 3D Studio Max
  • SPL: Shockwave Flash Object
  • SWF: Shockwave Flash Object
  • VBS: Visual Basic Script

Finally, make it clear that there are countless extensions and types of files and that some of them may belong to different categories and be used by totally different programs. If you have not found the type of extension or program you are looking for the best in this guide, use the famous utility (in English) known as FileExt that will give us all the details and programs for each old or modern extension.

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