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List of File Formats with Types and Extensions

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File Formats store a large variety of raw information in a structured format so that the data can be easily stored, processed, and harnessed. A file format is a standard way of storing data on a computer file. There are multiple types of file formats present which can be used to store and retrieve data efficiently. We will discuss the unique features and use cases for different kinds of file formats and compare them.

File Formats

As the technology is growing it has become more important to save the data in an organised and structured manner.

Most Used file formats

Explore a wide range of common file formats and learn how to work with them effectively.

  • Text: This type of file contains only text without any formatting and can be opened with any text editor
    Different types of text formats include: .doc, .docx, .rtf, .pdf, .wpd

  • Image: This file type includes binary information about images and defines how the image will be stored and compressed.
    Different types of Image File Format include: .JPEG, .PNG, .GIF, .HEIF

  • Audio: This type of file format stores audio data. It stores raw data in an encoded format and uses codec to perform compression and decompression
    Different types of Audio file formats include .aac, .mp3, .wav

  • Video: This type of file format contains digital video data. It performs lossy compression to store video data where audio and video are separately encoded and stored
    Different types of Video File Formats include: .amv, .mpeg, .flv, .avi

  • Program: These file formats store codes that can be run on the computer through compiling or interpreting.
    Different types of Programming File Formats include: .c, .java, .py, .js

  • Compressed/Archive: These files store data in a compressed format on the computer and can be used to easily transport data between computers. These files need to be decompressed before use.
    Different types of Compressed File Formats include: .iso, .rar, .tar, .7z

  • Web page: These files include information related to the website, web pages, and server. these generally include programming scripts for static or dynamic web pages. 
    Different types of Web Page File Format include: .html, .asp, .css, .xps.

Text File Formats

Extension Full Form Description
.txt Plain Text The most basic text file format, containing only ASCII characters and carriage returns to separate lines.
.rtf Rich Text Format A more advanced text file format that allows basic formatting like bold, italics, and font styles.
.docx Word Open XML Document Commonly used by Microsoft Word for storing and saving documents
.csv Comma-Separated Values A simple format for storing tabular data, with each row representing a data record and commas separating fields.
.doc Word Document Used for word processing documents stored in Microsoft Word Binary File Format
.wps WPS Office Word Document A proprietary document file format developed by Kingsoft Office.
.wpd WordPerfect Document A document file format associated with WordPerfect, a word processing software.

.msg


Message

Microsoft Outlook message format; contains email messages with formatting, attachments, and other information.

Image File Formats

Extension  Full Form Description
.jpg Joint Photographic Experts Group A lossy compression format that is commonly used for photographs and other images with a lot of detail.
.png Portable Network Graphics A lossless compression format that is commonly used for images with sharp edges or text.
.webp Web Picture Format It Supports both lossy and lossless image compression with support of 24-bit RGB color.
.gif Graphics Interchange Format The limited-color format is commonly used for animations and small images.
.tif Tagged Image File Format High-quality format that is commonly used for professional photography and printing.
.bmp Bitmap An uncompressed format that is commonly used by Microsoft Windows.
.eps Encapsulated PostScript file A vector format that is commonly used for print graphics.

Audio File Formats

Extension Full Form Description
.mp3 MP3 Audio File Commonly used for storing and distributing music.
.wma

Windows Media Audio

Developed by Microsoft for audio compression, often used for streaming and downloading music.
.snd Sound A generic file extension for sound files, often associated with audio data.
.wav WAVE Audio File Commonly used for storing and recording audio.
.ra RealAudio It’s a playlist file format that is commonly used for storing and distributing playlists.

.au

Audio

Used for storing audio data, commonly associated with Sun Microsystems.

.aac

Advanced Audio Coding

Used as an in-vogue sound field design for packed virtual sound and tune data.

Video File Formats

Extension Full Form Description
.mp4 MPEG-4 Video File Multimedia container format that commonly stores video and audio data.
.3gp 3GPP Multimedia File Multimedia container format that is commonly used for mobile phones.
.avi Audio Video Interleave File An older multimedia container format that is still supported by many devices.
.mpg MPEG Video File Older video compression format that is still supported by some devices.
.mov Apple QuickTime Movie The format that is commonly used by Apple devices.
.wmv Windows Media Video File  The format that is commonly used by Microsoft devices.

Program File Formats

Extension   Full Form Description
.c C/C++ Source Code File General-purpose programming language developed by Dennis Ritchie at Bell Labs between 1969 and 1972.
.cpp C++ source Code File A general-purpose programming language developed by Bjarne Stroustrup as an extension to the C programming language.
.java Java Source Code File Programming language created by Sun Microsystems that is now owned by Oracle Corporation.
.py Python script  The programming language was developed by Guido van Rossum and first released in 1991.
.js Javascript A scripting language that is primarily used to add interactivity to web pages.
.ts TypeScript A superset of JavaScript that adds optional static typing.
.cs C# Ssource Code File A programming language developed by Microsoft as part of the .NET framework.
.swift Swift Source Code File Programming language developed by Apple for developing iOS, macOS, watchOS, tvOS, and Linux applications
.dta Document Type Definition File A data storage format commonly used by Stata, a statistical software program.
.pl Perl Script A programming language developed by Larry Wall at the University of California, Santa Cruz in the early 1980s.
.sh Bash Shell Script A shell scripting language commonly used to automate tasks on Unix-like operating systems

.bat

Batch file

Batch file format used to automate tasks on Windows systems; contains a series of commands to be executed by the command interpreter.

.com

Command file

A COM file is an executable file format used for programs on older Windows systems. COM files have limited functionality compared to modern formats.

.exe

Executable file

An executable file is a type of computer file that contains compiled code that can be run directly by the operating system. Executable files are commonly used to run programs.

Compressed/Archive File Formats

Extension Full Form Description
.rar WinRAR Compressed Archive A proprietary file archiver developed by Eugene Roshal.
.zip Zipped File A lossless data compression format that packages multiple files into a single archive file.
.hqx BinHex A Macintosh binary-to-text encoding format, often used to transfer binary files through email.
.arj Archived by Robert Jung A file compression format, similar to ZIP and RAR, used to compress and archive files.
.tar Compressed Tarball File This file archiving format groups multiple files into a single archive file.

.arc

ARC archive file

An ARC file is an archive file format used for compressing and storing files. ARC is an outdated format and has been replaced by ZIP and other newer options.

.sit

StuffIt archive file

A SIT file is an archive file format used on Macintosh systems. SIT is similar to ARC but is specific to Macs.

.gz

GZIP compressed file

A GZ file is a file format created with gzip compression. Gzip shrinks the size of files for storage and transmission.

.z

Compressed file

A Z file is a compressed file format associated with the “compress” compression program on Unix systems.

Web page File Formats

Extension   Full Form Description
.html HyperText Markup Language File HTML is the standard markup language for creating web pages.

.htm

HyperText Markup Language File

Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) document format with the less common file extension; identical to .html files.

.xhtml Extensible Hypertext markup language File This is a markup language that combines HTML with XML.
.asp Active Server page A web development technology that allows developers to create dynamic web pages using server-side scripting.
.css Cascading Style Sheet This is a style sheet language used to describe the presentation of a web page.
.aspx Active Server Page Extended File This allows developers to create dynamic web pages using server-side scripting in ASP.NET.
.rss Rich Site Summary This is a web feed format that allows users to subscribe to updates from websites.

Features of File Formats

  • Structure Data: File Formats have a basic structure of how data should be stored in the file.
  • Extension: Extensions are useful so that the operating system can check which type of file is being used.
  • Metadata: This is the data that stores useful information about the file such as author name, license, etc.
  • Interoperability: This feature enables multiple systems to use the same file format.

FAQs(Frequently Asked Questions):

Q1. What is the importance of file formats?
Ans. File formats are necessary as they help to determine in what structure the data will be stored, accessed, processed, archived and processed. It sets a standard to store information in a computer file

Q2. What is a file extension and why it is important?
Ans. File extension are characters written after period symbol in a file name. They are used by the operating systems to define which program is the file associated with. File extensions indicate the file format and cannot be renamed.

Q3. What are JSON, CSV and XMl file formats used for?
Ans. JSON is used for data exchange in modern day web development as it is lightweight and compact. CSV is used when the amount of data to send is large and there are bandwidth issues. XML was used in document markups and its popularity has decreased after the introduction of JSON

Q4. How to choose a file format for storing data for a project?
Ans. To choose a data format, we should have a clear understanding of what type of data we are going to work with. If the data is to be kept lightweight and compact we should prefer JSON format for storing data. If we want a structure data in format of row and column an the amount of data is large we should use XML anf if we are working on legacy projects we will generally work with XML data format for document markups.

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Last Updated : 25 Jan, 2024
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