What are file extensions?

5.12.2013 Daniel Jaramillo

A file extension is a string of characters the included in the file name that is preceded by a full stop. It indicates the format of the file. File extensions differs the file name from other files. They give the unique identity of the software needed to open the file. Every application software has their own file extension. A question might arise about why people proceed different extension to their software. The answer is, if the file extension remains same the with all software then it would be difficult to identify the work of the file. Therefore, this is the best solution to keep the different identity of every software file extension. A particular software file can only open with that software. Therefore, any other software maker company cannot claim that they have created that software.

There are many software applications, the most popular of which are the Microsoft Office suite applications. Every file of the Microsoft Office has a different file extension. It is because if they make the same file extension of all the software of MS Office then it will become very difficult to identify that on which software a certain file will open.

If we give file extensions of Microsoft Office applications as examples:

MS Word file extension are .doc & .docx

MS Excel files extensions .xls & xlsx

MS PowerPoint Extensions - .ppt & .pptx.  

When we talk about picture file extensions, there are many formats of which including some that require particular software. This most famous and most widely used photo file extension is .jpg or .jpeg, which is an abreviation of Joint Photographic Expert Group, the committee that created the standard. This type file can normally be viewed with most applications. Microsoft Windows has built in support for JPEGs. There are many other file extensions like PNG, RAW, BMP and GIF. These are also common picture file extension and widely used, as the RAW, BMP and GIF don't compress images their file sizes are larger and aren't often used on websites. The newer generation of compact and mid-range cameras support the RAW picture format, as it captures a lot more data that can later be used in photo editing applications.

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