How Many File Extensions Are There?

by Cono Fusco

A file extension is a dot follow by 2-4 characters that follow a file name.

Examples of file extensions:

  • .mp3
  • .docx
  • .ai

A file extension is a type of metadata used by the computer to tell it something about the file, like what icon to display by the file, what application made the file, and what application(s) can open the file.

File extensions are often used interchangeably with file types or file formats however, file types generally describe what a file does in common words.

Examples of file types:

  • Audio file
  • Text file
  • Executable file
  • Compressed File

There are also multiple types of file extensions for each different type of file. For example, a text file could have a .doc extension, a .docx extension, a .txt extension, or a .pages extension.

Why are they called extensions? Because they extend the capabilities of a basic computer through software.

Some tech savvy companies (like Therefore™!) come up with their own software…and their own file extensions.

So, knowing all that…there are two answers to our question, “how many file extensions are there?”

  • A lot & growing
  • Infinite

Woah. While the never-ending possibilities of file extensions are exciting, it can be a challenge for individuals and organizations who need to view and work with a wide variety of different file extensions.

Yup. Turns out that not every application can open every file extension. Go figure.

When an organization is dealing with a high volume of files, it’s important that each of those files is viewable, whether its native software is on the computer in use…or not. That’s why many organizations invest in file viewer software that does nothing except allow the user to view many different file types in 1 program. That’s useful, but why stop there?

Here at Therefore™ we’ve wrapped a whole bunch of valuable functions into our information management software. Not only can you view files…you can boost their value to your company through accessibility, workflows, and more.