How do I Convert a File Format?

N. Madison

The task of converting a file to a new format may seem intimidating, especially if you have not done it before, but it can be very simple. With some types of files, all you have to do is change the file extension, which only requires a little typing and a couple of clicks of a mouse. Some file formats are harder to convert, however, and you may need a special program to accomplish it. For instance, you may need a special program to convert a file format for some types of image files.

Man holding computer
Man holding computer

One of the easiest ways to alter a file format is to change the way you save a file. For example, if you have saved a word processing document, you may decide that you’d like to convert it to a text document. To do so, you may open the document and go to the File menu where you will see both a "Save" and a "Save As" option. By selecting "Save As," you’ll have the opportunity to change the file extension. To do so, you may replace the .doc extension, or other type of word processing extension, by typing .txt to change the file to a text file, or choost the .txt option in a drop-down menu if there is one.

You may also use the "Save As" menu option to convert other file formats. For example, you may use this method to convert a file format to a web document. To do so, you may use the "Save As" option to give the file a .html extension.

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Depending on your operating system, you may also be able to convert a file format without opening the document. For example, you may right-click the Start menu on your desktop, and then click "Explore" to navigate to the file you wish to change. Once you find the file you want to change, you may right-click the file, and then select "Rename." You will then have an opportunity to rename the document and change its file extension.

Sometimes, you may need or prefer to use a special program to convert a file format. For example, some programs have features that allow you to save a file in several different formats in addition to the one that is primarily used by the software. Often, image-editing software is used to convert image files to new formats in this way. You may also find some programs that are designed specifically for converting files from one format to another.

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