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File format

(also file extension)

File format definition

A file format is a standard way of encoding and organizing data in a file so that software applications can store, read, and manipulate it. File formats define the data structure, specifications, and metadata. They ensure programs can correctly process and display information. File formats also enable systems and applications to exchange data, making them essential for interoperability. Moreover, they are critical for security due to their inherent vulnerabilities, malware delivery, and data protection capabilities.

Types of file formats

  • Text file formats, such as TXT, RTF, HTML, and XML, store plain text data, often in a human-readable form.
  • Document file formats, such as DOC/DOCX, ODT, PDF, and XLS/XLSX, store complex documents that may include text, images, formatting, and other elements.
  • Image file formats, such as JPEG, PNG, GIF, and SVG, store visual data as raster images (pixels) or vector images (geometric shapes).
  • Audio file formats, such as MP3, WAV, FLAC, and AAC, store audio data, often in a compressed or uncompressed form.
  • Video file formats, such as MP4, AVI, MOV, and WMV, store video data, often in a compressed form, along with audio and other related information.
  • Archive file formats, such as ZIP, RAR, 7Z, and TAR, store multiple files and directories in a compressed form to save space or facilitate easier distribution.