Extension VS File Format  Differences Are They The Same? ▷ 2020

Extension and format, format and extension; two concepts that often we use as synonyms and also one instead of the other. We do not know or do not realize it, but the truth is that these They are different and logically refer to two aspects that, although they are related, they are not equal.

The similarities have undoubtedly made us dance between the two concepts, use them when it is not appropriate and, best of all, that our interlocutor understands us because the phenomenon is widespread worldwide.

If you want to know once and for all what is each of them, how are they alike and how are they different, keep reading with us because we are going to solve this doubt that so many users have and maintain.

What is a file format and what is it for?

what is file format

The file format is the standard, that is, the set of circumstances, which will define what form the information has that is going to be grouped in a computer type file.

In order for it to be read, it is necessary that said information can be converted into binary data. The set of characteristics that are achieved after shaping said information and the order in which the files where the information is saved are classified would be the format. That is, the set of particularities that make a file of a type and have some characteristics and not others.

For example, there are video files. However, not all of them have the same format. Why? Because, despite being all videos, that is, contain audio and moving image, that information has been worked on and is reproduced in a particular way. Each of those ways will be a format. Knowing them serves to know how the file that we want to download is going to be.

The data is handled differently in each format, causing the information to be stored, providing it with a series of characteristics. That is to say, how the information is encoded.

In general, software that creates files in a particular format is capable of reading and / or modifying other similar ones. For example, with an office suite we can read a plain text document that we have generated in the simple notepad. You can open a PDF in Photoshop. You can run some files for Linux on a Windows, etc.

What is a file extension and what is it for?

what is file extension

A file extension they are the last letters of the name with which the software that creates the file in question names it. It is, as we say, a “queue” that is placed automatically (whether we see it or not) to the files. Is is alphanumeric, having between one and five characters, preceded by a period.

For example, when we download an image of a cat, we name it “kitten.” However, when it is saved we see that it is called “kitten.jpeg”. This “.jpeg” is the extension, the added “tail”.

This serves so that the system that reads the file knows what type of file it is and, with this, how it can open it and what its characteristics will be.

Is refers to a format and is called the same that this in many occasions. But nevertheless, this doesn’t always have to be like this. It is possible that the extension of a file refer to a container, which contains elements with different formats.

Thus, we can tell you that, no matter how much you change the extension of a file, that is, you delete the “.jpeg” and put, for example “.gif”, the format will be the same. The only thing that can happen is that a conflict is created because you are telling your computer that this file is of a type, it will try to execute it and will not be able to. So, no matter how hard you try to turn a song into a video by changing from “.mp3” to “.mp4”, that miracle is not going to happen.

If you want to change the format of a file, but not by changing the extension. You will have to use a program (software) capable of reading, interpreting, modifying and transforming it, saving it in another format and, therefore, changing its characteristics.

Clear example: You have worked with Photoshop and have saved the file as a .psd by default. Obviously, when you want to open it in Paint, you won’t be able to.

You will have to do is reopen it with Photoshop, make the corresponding modifications (for example, join all the layers of the file), “Save as …” and, now, choose the format with the characteristics you want for that file ( jpeg, tiff, etc).

Differences between file format and file extension; They are the same?


From the previous definitions and examples we can see that no, extension and file format are not the same. The format is the form that has been given to information. That is, a standard with certain characteristics that make a file of one type or another, reproduced under certain circumstances, in certain software, etc.

The extension It is the name that is given to the file so that we know what format or container it is; allows us to distinguish the content.

Sometimes the file name, the extension, will be the same as the format, but sometimes not. So, we cannot say that both concepts are synonymous becauseAlthough the difference is difficult to appreciate, especially if you do not have knowledge about creating files, it is true that They are two totally different things, although they are related.

You may say “but I, reading the extension, know what characteristics a file has”. In effect, you know it but not because they correspond to the extension itself but because it refers to the characteristics of a format. And that is the trick, “refers” not “is”.

Giving it another turn, we can say that the format is what the file is and the extension is what tells us.

If you have any questions, leave them in the comments, we will answer you as soon as possible, and it will surely be of great help to more members of the community. Thank you! 😉

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