Turning On the Display of File Extensions

by Barry Dysert
(last updated March 30, 2015)

5

Some systems are configured such that file extensions are not displayed. So instead of seeing a file whose name is "Data.txt" you only see "Data". This could get confusing if you have different types of files with the same name, like "Data.txt", "Data.jpg", "Data.xml", etc., as they would all show up simply as "Data". To eliminate such confusion, many users turn on the display of file extensions so that they can see the full name of every file.

To turn on the display of file extensions you need to display the Folder Options dialog box. To do this if you are using Windows 7, open Windows Explorer and on its toolbar click on Tools | Folder Options. If you are using Windows 8, open the File Explorer and click Options at the right side of the ribbon. Regardless of the version you are using, make sure the View tab is displayed in the dialog box. (See Figure 1.)

Figure 1. The View tab of the Folder Options dialog box.

The Hide Extensions for Known File Types checkbox determines whether the system should hide extensions for known file types. If you put a checkmark in this box, Windows hides the file extensions; this is the default setting for Windows. If the box is clear, then you'll see the full file name. Mark or clear this box to indicate your preference, then click the Apply to Folders button to apply this setting to all folders. When you are done you can click the OK button.

 This tip (12372) applies to Windows 7 and 8.

Author Bio

Barry Dysert

Barry has been a computer professional for over 30 years, working in different positions such as technical team leader, project manager, and software developer.  He is currently a senior software engineer with an emphasis on developing custom applications under Microsoft Windows. ...

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What is eight minus 2?

2015-03-31 05:30:25

Shreepad S M Gandhi

Thanks Rudy for informing about Alt+T shortcut and thanks to Karl for informing how to retain it on screen. :) Good.


2015-03-30 12:33:00

Karl

To Rudy et al,
To keep the Menu bar (with Tools on it), click Organize->Layout and check Menu Bar. This is a 5-part menu to determine the screen layout. Once you have the Menu Bar, right-click it and check Lock.


2015-03-30 09:24:36

Henry Noble

Windows' default setting that hides file extensions is dangerous, and should be changed immediately on any new computer.

When extensions are hidden, it is easy for malware to disguise itself as a file that looks harmless. For example, helpfile.txt.exe will look like a simple text file, rather than the executable it really is.


2015-03-30 08:59:00

Rudy

But, using google, I just found out that if I press keys Alt+T, the toolbar will appear. I have not figured out how to make its appearance persist, so it disappears again as soon as I choose an item from Tools menu.


2015-03-30 08:36:16

Rudy

On my machine Explorer has no toolbar, and has never had one.


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