File extensions – definition and basic information

File extensions are the integral parts of the files that are on each computer. Often, when working on a computer, we encounter a wide range of files, such as docx, ppt, part, mp3 or rmvb. We realize that they are there – but we often do not know what they are for on our computer.

File extension, also known as the filename extension is a suffix added to the name of a computer file, usually consisting of a number of characters placed after the last dot in the filename, which gives us information about its coding. In other words a file extension is a file format. It allows the operating system (e.g. Windows) to recognize what program it should try to open the file.

In the table below you will find a random selection of popular file extensions.

File extension The full name of the file Category

AI file extension

Adobe Illustrator File

Vector Image Files

ASX file extension

Microsoft ASF Redirector File

Video Files

DLL file extension

Dynamic Link Library

System Files

DTD file extension

Document Type Definition File

Developer Files

DWG file extension

AutoCAD Drawing Database File

CAD Files

IBOOKS file extension

Multi-Touch iBook

Data Files

KML file extension

Keyhole Markup Language File

GIS Files

LNK file extension

Windows File Shortcut

System Files

MAX file extension

3ds Max Scene File

3D Image Files

MP4 file extension

MPEG-4 Video File

Video Files

PIF file extension

Program Information File

Executable Files

ROM file extension

N64 Game ROM File

Game Files

VCD file extension

Virtual CD

Disk Image Files

WMA file extension

Windows Media Audio File

Audio Files

XLSX file extension

Microsoft Excel Open XML Spreadsheet

Spreadsheet Files