TEXT FILE EXTENSIONS  What are they and types? ▷ 2020

In an era in which digitization is the main protagonist, Knowing what a text file extension is means the same as having total freedom when reading on our devices, whether mobile phones such as smartphones, ereaders or tablets, or, in fact, our conventional equipment such as desktops or laptops.

These are not present in the contents of the webs, but they are in any text file that we download, for example, a simple notes document in which we are given instructions to make an installation, a request to fill in or the subtitles to add to a film that is not dubbed.

As you can see, these are present in many moments in which we use digital devices and, therefore, it is essential that you know what are they, what are their uses, which ones we find and where each one reproduces, which is essentially what we’re going to look at next.

What is the extension of a file or text file and what is it really used for?

what is text file extension

A file extension is a nomenglature that is given to all digital files to provide more information about them. Obviously, text file extensions are those that refer to files that, as the concept indicates, they are text.

Visually, they are a set of two, three or four letters and / or numbers that are placed after a period, at the end of the name of the textual file in question.

With this, what we do is know what kind of file is the one we are finding, although, more than for us to know (which is important to escape viruses), it is essential for the device to interact with the information.

So, your operating system will recognize the file format and look for a way to run it making use of the most appropriate software for it from among those you have installed or, if none is compatible, it will recommend that you connect to the internet in order to carry out the execution, that is, to read the content.

We see then that the extension serves to know which applications will be able to handle the information that we want to see, in this case, of type text.

For example, we have the file “carta16062019.doc”:

letter16062019“is the name that someone has given to that file when they have finished composing and saved it. “.doc” would be the text extension, which indicates, in this case, that it is a text document own that creates the well-known Microsoft Office suite when we use its text editor.

The file, in addition to the content and length, will have some encodings, which are the elements that enable its digitization and reduction. In order to interpret the information, you need to have a program that is compatible with the codecs or encodings of this.

In the past, encodings were downloaded separately, generally in packs for installation, especially for audio and video players, but today it is common for each program to have a number of these and to be able to open the corresponding files with their extension without the need for external installations.

Types of text file extensions and their associated programs to open them

Knowing the above, surely you are interested in knowing which are the most common, both for the cases in which you create the texts and to be able to read all those that you download.

In the following table we are going to tell you which are the most used, we will give you some characteristics of them, we will name you, of course, many others, and we will tell you with what type of program or software you can run them.

Extension Characteristics Program


  • It is the extension created automatically by the Word program from the Microsoft suite.
  • It began to be used with WordPerfect.
  • It currently offers rich text, including both formatting (bold, indents, etc.) and images added to the document, scripts, tables …
  • Microsoft Word
  • Free Office
  • WPS Office
  • AbiWord
  • Other alternative office suites
  • Apple Pages
  • Google Docs
  • Chrome Office Viewer


  • It is the XML-based version of the .doc that was released in 2007.
  • The document is more compressed.


  • It is an ASCII text file, without formatting. The text is flat, without italics, without margins, without anything, not even pages.
  • Its complexity is, logically, zero.
  • It is used in records and download instructions.
  • Notes blog
  • Notepad
  • Microsoft Word
  • Apple TextEdit


  • This is a hypertext markup file.
  • They only contain text and / or references to external files of another type (images, videos, JS …).
  • It is used in conventional web pages.
  • Browsers
  • Editing and creation programs (Komodo, Eclipse, Bluefish, Adobe Dreamweaver …).
  • memo pad


  • Small, plain text, generally descriptive.
  • Very useful for compressed files, accompanying the warez.
  • All text editors


  • Rich Text Format or rich text.
  • It allows the exchange of content between word processors and systems, that is to say, multiplatform.
  • It works with codes to define characteristics of the text, which is encoded with the ASCII limit.
  • All word processors.


  • A file that has style.
  • It is generated specifically by Windows Microsoft Write.
  • Windows Microsoft Write
  • Other processors


  • Free standard encoding file.
  • Rich text identical to .docx.
  • Generated by OpenOffice.
  • Open office
  • Other word processors of office suites (Libre Office, Microsoft Office …)


  • Extension to indicate that content is an electronic publication of copyrighted content.
  • Includes text with all kinds of toppings both in format and in accessories.
  • Ereader devices
  • Emulators ereaders
  • Epub readers: (Caliber, Stanza, FBReaderJ, IceCream Ebook Reader …)


  • Simple format to record the activity of a team.
  • Not advisable to work for the user.
  • Notebooks: (Notepad, Microsoft NotePad …)
  • Text editors: (Microsoft Office, LibreOffice, OpenOffice …)


  • It is a portable document storage format.
  • It generalizes information of all kinds to make it interpretable by different softwares and hardware; a whole standard.
  • They do not lose the format.
  • The specification is open and can be encrypted.
  • Adobe Acrobat Reader
  • Foxit PDF Reader
  • Samatra PDF
  • PDF XChange Viewer
  • STDU Viewer


  • Dictionary extension.
  • Short texts.
  • OpenOffice
  • LibreOffice
  • Canvas


  • It incorporates, in addition to text, diagrams, audios, flash animation …
  • Generally used as teaching material
  • Associated with SMART Notebook software: (Notebook Interactive Viewer, SMART Notebook SE)


  • It is used in spreadsheets and to manage contacts.
  • To save information in list format.
  • Microsoft Excel
  • Google drive
  • Gmail
  • OpenOffice
  • LibreOffice

* If you are viewing the web from your smartphone, slide the table to the right to see all the data

Do you know other extensions to open and edit text documents? Leave them in the comments and we will add them to the list, it will surely be of great value to other readers!

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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