How To Change File Extension In Windows?

File names consist of the name part and file extension part. File extensions are used to determine the type of the file. What type of data the does the file contain? Which application can be used to open a specific file extension. File extensions can be also helpful to distinguish same name files with different extensions. As a user-friendly operating system Windows hides the file extensions by default which prevents changing file extensions directly. But there are different ways like showing file extension and changing or using commands to change the file extension.

Show File Extension In Windows 7, Windows Server 2008

Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 use the same GUI and the same steps can be following in order to show file extension. The file extension is not displayed by default so we should enable it in order to change. For Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 operating systems we will opened the Folder Options.

  • Open Windows Explorer
  • Click the Organize button on the top left
  • Choose Folder and Search Options
  • Select the View tab
  • Uncheck the “Hide extensions for known file types” configuration.
  • Click on the OK button.

Show File Extension In Windows 8, Windows 10, Windows Server 2012 and Windows Server 2016

Windows 8, Windows 10, Windows Server 2012, and Windows Server 2016 operating systems provide the very same way to show file extensions. Open the File Explorer windows and click on the View tab. There is a configuration named “File name extensions” which should be enabled by ticking a checkbox.

Display File Extensions For Windows 8 and Windows 10

Change File Extension via File Explorer

After unhiding and displaying the file extensions for different Windows versions we can change the file extension via the Windows Explorer or File Explorer. We will navigate to the file directory we want to change. then F2 key is used to change the file name which can be also sued to change file extension.

Change File Extension

Alternative way to change file extension is right-click on file and select the “Rename” which will rename the file with the file extension.

Change File Extension with File Rename

Change File Extension with move Command

Windows MS-DOS provides the move command in order to move a file into different locations or change file name. The move command can be used in order to change the file extension like a simple file rename operation. In the following example, we will change the “names.txt” into the “names.rtf“.

move names.txt names.rtf

Change File Extension with ren Command

Another usefull command which can be used to change a file extension in Windows is the “ren” command. The “ren” is the shortform of the rename and used to rename files. Similar to the previous “move” command the ren command can be used to change given file extension.

ren names.txt names.rtf

Change Multiple File Extensions with ren Command

the ren command can be also used to change multiple files extension. Wildcard sign is used for the file name and the only extensions are specified. In the following example, we will change all *.txt extensions into the *.rtf.

ren *.txt *.rtf

Popular File Extensions

Different file formats and applications use different extensions. In the following table we will list some of the most popular file extensions.

ExtensionFile Format/Application
.docMicrosoft Word Document
.docxMicrosoft Word Open XML Document
.logLog File
.odtOpenDocument Text Document
.rtfRich Text File
.texLatext Source Document
.txtPlain Text File
.m3uMedia Playlist File
.midMIDI File
.mp3MP3 Audio File
.wavWAVE Audio File
.wmaWindows Media Audio File
.xlsExcel Spreadsheet
.xlsxMicrosoft Excel Open XML Spreadsheet
.csvComma Separated Value File
.datData File
.pptPowerPoint Presentation
.pptxPowerPoint Open XML Presentation
.vcfvCard File
.xmlXML File

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