I’ve always wanted to write an article on how to open files with different extensions like .wps, .prn, .mpp, .mdi, .rar, .psd, .pps, .sit, .nrg and many more. ! I myself have often encountered this problem because someone sent me a file and I don’t know which program is opening it!
So, if you come across a file with a strange extension that you’ve never seen before, you can determine which program is opening that file in several ways. I’m also going to go over some of the more common file types that people need to open, but if they’re not on my list, check out online search sites that will allow you to search for file extensions.
File extension search online
The easiest way to identify the program associated with a file type is to use an online file extension database. There are a couple of sites with thousands of entries, so you should be able to find it if someone hasn’t come up with their own file extension.
My favorite site for getting information about files is FileInfo because it has a huge database and a very clean and well organized site. Just enter your extension in the file extensions search box to get started. I searched for .NRG and got the following results:
Above you see the Nero CD / DVD image file and get a short description of what it is. Also, this site sometimes gives you really useful information, as in this case when it says that you can convert NRG files to standard ISO files using a program called Nrg2Iso.
The best part, however, is that it tells you which programs can open files with those extensions on Mac, Windows, and Linux. This is basically what people look for when looking for a file extension, which is why FileInfo puts this information in the spotlight.
I’m not a big fan of FileExt because a lot of ads have been added to its content to try to confuse you to install software to speed up your computer or scan your registry for errors. Just avoid all of these links. To find the file extension, simply use the Google custom search box at the top of the site.
At the top, you will see the file extension as well as the file type. This is important because it will tell you which file the extension is associated with. In the above example, .NRG is a CD image file created by Nero. Skip the blue sections as this is an advertisement and you will receive a short paragraph with more details on the program used to create these files.
How to open data files
How to open DAT files
DAT files are so common in emails that I wrote an entire post just about opening .DAT files DAT files do not necessarily belong to the same program and therefore it is quite difficult to determine how best to open them.
How to open an ODT file
How to open an ODT file
I got the ODT file several times while in the office because it is a text document created with one of those free open source word processors like StarOffice or OpenOffice. Fortunately, it’s really easy because you can open it directly in Microsoft Word if you have it installed.
On a Mac, you can open it in TextEdit, which comes with OS X. If you don’t have Office installed on your PC, you can also use LibreOffice, Lotus Notes, or WordPerfect to open the document.
How to open a RAR file
How to open a rar file
I don’t know why people use RAR to compress files, but they use it, especially if you are trying to download something from torrent sites. You don’t need to buy any software like WinRAR or anything like that anyway, because there are free programs that can open RAR files just fine.
7-Zip is my favorite file archiver, it is great at opening and extracting RAR files. If you have a password protected RAR file, you can read my previous post on hacking password protected RAR files.
How to open a PRN file
How to open a PRN file
A PRN file is what you end up with when you select the Print to File option in Windows. This is a special file that contains a print job in a format the printer understands, such as what to print, tray used, paper size, and so on. Typically, when printing, this file is created transparently in the background. before sending to the printer.
Since a PRN file is actually a set of instructions for a printer, it will contain a lot of extra junk that you won’t understand. When trying to open it in Word, Notepad, etc., it is almost impossible. However, you can use a PostScript viewer such as GSView to view the file correctly. Usually, however, if someone intended to send the file to you electronically, you would like them to print it for a PDF writer, etc., since the Print to File option is not meant to be read by humans!
How to open your MPP file
How to open an MPP file
MPP file is an extension of Microsoft Project files. Sometimes people inadvertently send this file thinking that Microsoft Project is installed on all computers! Unfortunately, we all now work in places that can afford this luxury. Anyway, there are several free and commercial programs you can use to open your MPP file.
Check out the list of free / paid applications for opening Microsoft Projects files
How to open a PSF file
How to open a PDF file
The PSF file extension can be one of several different file types. If you need to open a PSF file, it’s most likely a Photoshop Proof setup file or a PhotoStudio graphic file. It could also be from Microsoft Picture It! software that creates slideshows from images.
The first way to try opening it is to download Picture It! viewer or try using Adobe Photoshop. If you don’t have Photoshop, you can try a free photo viewer like XnView
If that doesn’t work, try renaming the file extension to .JPG instead of .PSF, and then open it. Some say this method works for opening PSF files.
Alternatively, it could be a PhotoStudio file from Arcsoft, which you can get here. Hope your file will open! You will need to download the trial version as it is paid.
How to open MDI file
How to open an MDI
MDI stands for Microsoft Document Imaging and is usually created by Microsoft Office Document Image Writer when you go to print files from Office. This is mainly useful for printing documents in electronic format, which can then be sent to someone for viewing.
Sometimes Windows won’t open this type of file even if you have Office installed on your computer, especially if it’s Office 2007 because Microsoft Office Document Imaging isn’t installed by default.
You can install it by following these steps:
- Go to Control Panel and select the “Uninstall a program” link in the “Programs” section.
- Click Microsoft Office 2007
- Click Modify at the top of the window.
- Select Add or Remove Components.
- Expand Office Tools.
- Click the dropdown list for Microsoft Office Document Imaging and select Run All From My Computer.
- Click Continue and then Close.
You will now be able to open MDI files with Office 2007 on Windows XP or Windows Vista.
How to open VSD file
How to open a VSD file
A VSD file is a Microsoft Visio drawing. To view the drawing, Microsoft Visio must be installed on your computer. If you don’t, there are several free Visio viewers available for free.
Visio 2010 Viewer
Visio Viewer 2013
Using the Visio 2010 Viewer, you can view Visio drawings created in Visio 5, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2007, and 2010!
How to open a PUB file
How to open a PUB file
The .PUB file is another proprietary Microsoft format, this time from Microsoft Publisher! Fortunately, if you don’t have Publisher installed on your computer (obviously, otherwise you wouldn’t be on this site), you can try converting the file to another format like PDF, etc.
Visit Zamzar.com, a cool and free website that converts several different file formats, including PUB, to PDF. Unfortunately, there are no viewers, plugins or anything else to view Microsoft Publisher files, so you have to convert it to PDF or ask the person to save it as a different file type.
There are many other file types that I have not mentioned here, so visit the websites mentioned above for more information. If you have any questions, please leave a comment. Enjoy!