Can I change the file type in Windows 10?.
When we talk about files such as MP3, ZIP or PDF, we mean the file type (or file extension) that allows the operating system to determine what type of file it is and what software is needed to open it. Thus, Windows or macOS can determine that the MP3 file should be opened by your music player, and PDF by the PDF reader.
If the file is of the wrong file type, Windows will use the wrong program to open it. This will likely throw an error and stop accessing your file – after all, Microsoft Word cannot handle MP3s. If you need to figure out how to properly change file types in Windows 10, follow these steps.
Can You Change File Type in Windows 10?
The file extension allows Windows to determine what to do with the file. It tells Windows operating system that when you open the MP4 file, VLC should open (if installed on your PC). Or, when you open a DOCX file, it should open Microsoft Word. For each type of file known to the operating system, the extension will correspond to the software that can open it.
In Windows 10, you can change the file type for files, but this depends on the file itself. Changing file types isn’t just about changing the extension at the end of the file name. If the file is not created correctly, you will not be able to simply change the extension.
Changing the extension does not ultimately change the file format. MP3 is not a Word document, so changing the file type from MP3 to DOCX will not suddenly turn Word into a music player. However, if the file types are similar (like JPG and PNG), the software can still open the file.
The best way to change file extensions is to save or convert it to an alternative format, or use an online conversion service. However, if you are sure that the file will open anyway, you can quickly rename the extension using Windows Explorer, but this may not work correctly.
Displaying File Extensions in Windows File Explorer
Previous versions of Windows showed the file extension for files in Windows Explorer. In Windows 10, these extensions are hidden by default, which prevents you from quickly changing the file type.
If you want to change file extensions using Windows Explorer, you need to change the setting to view hidden file extensions.
- To do this, open Windows Explorer. From the ribbon panel, select View> Options> Change Folder And Search Options.
Renaming a File Extension Using Windows File Explorer
When the file extensions are visible, you can start changing the file types by renaming the file and replacing the old extension with the new extension. For example, replacing file.txt with file.doc will turn the TXT text file into a Word document in the older DOC format. Since the file contains text, Word must understand and open it.
However, this only works because software like Word is often smart enough to recognize the content of certain files, filling in the blanks where it can open the file. If changing TXT to DOC works, it won’t work with the new DOCX format for a Word document, as this new file type is much more complex.
After confirmation, the file extension will be changed and the file will be listed as the new file type in the Type column. Depending on the file extensions used, you should now be able to open the file. If the process didn’t work, rename the file and revert it to the previous extension.
Saving a File in Another File Format
Renaming a file type in Windows Explorer does not change the file data and may only work in certain (limited) circumstances. If you want to change the file extension correctly, you need to save or export it to a different format.
This works well with related file types. It’s easy enough to convert a DOCX file to PDF or BIN to ISO, but it’s more difficult to switch between very different types. For example, while a PDF can be exported as images, you cannot simply rename the PDF to PNG.
If the software you are using is for editing, you can often save or export the file to a different format by choosing File> Save or Save As from the software menu. In the Save As window, you can change the type of the saved file under the file name.
You will need to check which file extensions are supported by the software you are using. If you want to export a file to a format it doesn’t support, you will need to find alternative software or consider converting it online using a file conversion website.
Changing File Types Using Online Services
If you don’t have software to convert a file from one file type to another, you can use online services to do so. After you download the file, the remote server will convert it, allowing you to download the file in the new format.
You should only do this with files that you are willing to share. Uploading important documents to an unknown server is probably not the best idea, especially if you are concerned about online privacy. However, for non-essential files, using this method should be perfectly safe.
Considering the huge number of different types of files, it is impossible to recommend this or that service. However, if you still want to try such a service, try doing a quick Google search.
For example, a search for convert x to y (replacing x with the original file type and y with the new file type you want to use) should give you a list of possible results.
Managing Files in Windows 10
Once you learn how to change file types in Windows 10, you can deal with software conflicts as they arise. You can also safely convert files from one type to another, from converting music files on your PC to converting PDFs to Google Docs online. If the file is in a similar format, you can even try renaming the file extension itself.
If you’re running out of space for new files, you might have to take a look at the Disk Space Analyzer to clean it up a bit. Windows 10 has ways to automatically delete files, but if you’re worried about losing important documents or photos, be sure to review and back up your files yourself.
- Make sure Hide extensions for known file types is checked on the View tab of the Folder Options, then click OK to save.
- If disabled, you can now view file extensions as part of each file name in Windows Explorer.
- If you still want to rename the file, enter this method, open Windows Explorer, right-click the file, and select the Rename option.
- Replace the old file extension with the new file extension, then press Enter or click in an empty space to save your changes.
- Windows will warn you that changing file extensions in this way may damage the file. If you are sure you want to continue, click OK to confirm.
Can I change the file type in Windows 10?
Can I change the file type in Windows 10?