File Extensions

What Are File Extensions?

SUMMARY: File extensions defined. This tip explains what the usually three characters are for.


In general terms, a file format in the PC world signifies what type of information is containing in a particular file. These are usually designated by the one to four (usually three) characters (the extensions) after the period in a filename. For example:

Filename: readme.txt
The "txt" designates the file format of this particular file, a plain-text file.

Filename: game.exe
The "exe" designates the file format of this particular file, an executable file.

Note that file extensions do not always signify the type of information inside a file; sometimes programmers hide the type of content inside a file with fake extensions. Also, some filenames may have multiple file extensions that can trick you into opening a Trojan Horse. However, this is a Windows tweak that can help you find files with multiple extensions.

More information about these and other particular file type can be found in this section's tips on MalekTips.

Return to the File Extensions page.

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The MalekTips website was created in 1998 by of Envision Programming. The page's goal is to freely disperse computer-related tips, hints, and informative articles. Tips are organized to be easy to find, and are presented clearly, in easy-to-understand language.