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File Types And Extensions – What They Are And What They’re For

There’s a bewildering array of different file types out there and just occasionally you may come across one that you’re not quite sure what it’s for. When having designers create work for you, if you’re having the work printed yourself, then they might have handed you files which your unable to open – here is a list of some of the most common types you’re likely to come into contact with and what you need to open them.

This certainly isn’t an exhaustive list – there are thousands of different file types. Also, just because a particular programme may open a file, it may not enable you to edit it.

Files Types / Extensions And Their Associated Programmes

.3DS 3D object file


.3GP Video format, designed primarily for mobile phones


.7z A zipped file. 7-Zipped format


.abr Adobe brush file


.aco Adobe colour pallete


.ai Vector graphics file


.aif / .aiff Audio Interchange File Format


.bmp Windows graphics format


.cad Computer Aided design file


.cr2 Canon Raw – RAW photographic file


.css Cascading style sheet, used to stylise HTML documents


.dmg Apple Disk Image


.doc MS Word Document


.docm MS Word master document


.docx MS Word Document


.fla Flash source file


.flac Audio codec / file


.flv Container for Flash Video


.gif Compuserves’ Graphics Interchange Format


.gz A zipped file


.htm / .html Hypertext Markup Language – web page file


.jpg / .jpeg Photographics Experts Group graphics file


.js JavaScript file – typically used on the web


.mid / .midi Synthesised music file


.mov Movie / animation file


.mp2 / .mp3 Audio file


.mp4 Video / Audio


.mpg / .mpeg Video / Audio


.pdf Adobe Portable Document Format


.php Hypertext Preprocessor, a server-side scripting language


.png Portable Network Graphics – image file


.psd Photoshop file


.qtvr Quicktime VR – interactive movie clip


.tif / .tiff Tagged Image File Format – lossless


.txt A basic text file


.wav Sound file format


.zip Archive file


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