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Almost all Windows files have extensions that indicate which file format it is and what program to open it with. There are various apps for viewing a certain file type, so you are free to change them depending on your tastes. Today, we invite you to study the most popular file formats that are in demand among Windows users. Let’s start.

Format Types and Their Extensions

A format type is information about the file by which the system defines what kind of file it is. Therefore, each file has an extension. An extension is a few English letters and numbers. They are located immediately after the name and are separated by a dot. The file extension determines its format (audio, graphics, video, archives, and so on). Below you will find the list of most popular file extensions:

1. PDF

It is a versatile format used for text and graphic docs, which users can open with Adobe Reader. In particular, PDF can be deciphered as the Portable Document Format. It was created for users who would like to send the exact layout of the text and pictures to other users. In simple words, if you have the MS Word doc with graphic elements, and you want to share it with colleagues, but this file should look exactly the same as on your computer — just create the PDF file and send it to them. He or she will easily open and read this file the same way you see it in your text editor. However, get ready to use CoolUtils PDF combiner if you wish to split or merge the files in PDF.

Thus, the convenience of this file format is in its cross-platform opportunities, so it will open and look the same on any PC, tablet, or smartphone, regardless of the OS installed on them.

2. DOC and DOCX

These are files created in MS Word. However, files created in versions before Word 2007 have the DOC extension, while the latter versions — DOCX. The main difference between the formats is that DOCX is an analog of an archive file, and DOC is a common single file. Since DOCX is the analog of a compressed archive with files, it is smaller than DOC even if it has the same internal content.

3. XLS and XLSX

These are the formats of files made in MS Excel. Just like in the previous paragraph, files created in the program version before Excel 2007 have the XLS extension, while later files have the XLSX extension. The second one is also an alternative to the archive, and it is frequently smaller in size than an XLS file with the same content.

4. PPT and PPTX

These are presentation file formats created in MS PowerPoint editor. Everything is the same as in the previous two paragraphs. The program’s presentations may contain images, text, audio, video, diagrams, graphs, hyperlinks, and animations used to create a complete document for users. Elements on each slide can be edited and moved without limits.

5. JPG

JPG is one of the most recognizable, popular, and understandable bitmap image formats. It is used for processing and storing full-color pictures with realistic images, where brightness and color are relevant. Also, this format is used to store and transfer graphic digital content (photos, scanned copies, digitized pictures). It is also most convenient when placing and transferring compressed images over a network because it takes up little space compared to other formats.

6. MP3

These are compressed audio files, as a rule, various songs, melodies, sounds, etc. These files can be opened and listened to with the standard Windows Media Player. Most music players and smartphones play music specifically from MP3 files because files compressed for the format are not worse by the sound quality compared to the original, i.e., an uncompressed audio file. The compression process removes those frequencies that the human ear cannot hear and process.

7. AVI

AVI format is suitable for video files — movies, video clips, and any other video files. These files can also be opened and viewed with the standard Windows Media Player. AVI files allow audio to play along with the video. Due to the simplicity of the architecture, AVI files can be played on various operating systems — Windows, Unix, Mac, Linux.

8. MP4

An MP4 file can contain video, audio, graphics, and subtitles. Typically, a file with this extension is a video, movie, etc. The MP4 format is widely used for video sharing over the Internet and the distribution of mobile media content. Less commonly, MP4 files contain audio recordings, such as:

  • music,
  • audiobooks,
  • podcasts, and
  • images and photos.

9. EXE

EXE is the so-called executable file that is used to run various programs, installations, and so on. It is generally the most common file type on Windows. No special programs are required to open this type of file. They are launched by a usual double-click with the left mouse button.

10. RAR

The RAR format is an archive file format that allows you to compress data, prevent crashes, and split files into parts in the same way as for ZIP archives. RAR files consist of two parts: data files (RAR) and recovery files (REV). You can create RAR files only by using paid software (WinRAR, etc.).

In Conclusion

It happens that you receive a file by mail, but it does not have a format (of course, you do not need to open unfamiliar files). It may happen if the extension was accidentally deleted when renaming the file, but if you know which file you should receive, there will be no problems — just add the extension at the end of the file and press Enter. After that, the file will obtain its format again. By the way, what file formats do you frequently use in your daily work? How many of them can be found in this list? Feel free to leave your replies and questions in the comments.