Showing File Extensions

by Eric Wyatt
(last updated June 7, 2021)

The more you use your computer, the more you will increase the number of files on your computer. As this continues it can become helpful to see file extensions associated with the files on your system. File extensions are found at the end of a file. File extensions are preceded by a period and are typically two to four characters long. File extensions are often used to identify what type of file it is and what program will open the file. An example is a ".docx" file, which is a Microsoft Word file.

When you open a file, Windows looks at the extension and uses whatever program is associated with that extension to open it. Seeing the file extension can also help you to quickly identify the program needed for the file.

Regardless of how helpful seeing file extensions can be, Windows hides those extensions by default. (Of course it does.) To have Windows show file extensions, follow these quick steps:

  1. Press the Windows key and type, (without quotes) "File Explorer Options", then press Enter. Windows opens the File Explorer Options window.
  2. In the File Explorer Options window, click the View tab. As the name indicates, this shows the viewing options for File Explorer.
  3. Uncheck the box that says "Hide Extensions for Known File Types." Click Apply, and then OK. When done you can close the File Explorer Options window. Changes will take effect immediately.

This quick change to enable file extensions allows you to know the document type along with giving an idea about what program is needed to open the file.

 This tip (13869) applies to Windows 10.

Author Bio

Eric Wyatt

Eric Wyatt is a swell guy (or so his friends tell him). He is a formally trained designer and branding expert, bringing a wide range of skills to his Tips.Net articles. ...

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