Your Guide to File Types (and How to Convert Them)

There are hundreds if not thousands of file types in existence. Some are obsolete, some are super common, and others are obscure. Those who are not tech-minded can struggle to keep up.

When it comes to converting file types, that can be one step too far!

Unless you work in a tech-heavy industry, you only need to get to grips with the basics. This guide will explain the different file types and how to convert files with ease.

Understanding Different File Types

Codec, metadata, and extensions make up any file type format. This structure determines the information in the file, what it does, and what programs the file is compatible with.

Some files are open source and do not need a specific program to open them. Other file types are closed source and you will need a certain program.

When learning how to change the file type, all you need to understand is that some file types are more compatible with converting than others.

You would likely not expect to be able to convert a video into a document file type. But there are lots of other examples which are less obvious.

Document File Types

Some of the most common document file types are Microsoft Word (.docx), Apple Pages (.Pages), and PDF (.pdf).

Microsoft Word and Apple Pages are closed source file types. This means you (often, but not always) need the correct program on your computer to open the file.

PDF, though created by Adobe, is open source. This means many different programs open this file type including your web browser. Converting file types from other document files to PDF is popular for this reason.

Some images (like JPGs) can convert to PDF file format, too.

You can use the Aspose PDF converter or a web-based file convertor. The data conversion for most word documents is simple and easy because their structures are similar.

Image File Types

Some of the most common image formats are JPG/JPEG, PNG, GIF, and PSD.

You can open most image file types on any picture program. Though some, like PSD, can only open through illustrator or editor programs like Adobe Photoshop.

PSD is also not a great file type in which to upload photos onto the web. You may want to use an online converter to change PSD file types to JPG or PNG as you can for most other image files.

Or, if you have the correct Adobe program, you can re-export the file. 

Audio and Video File Types

Common audio file types include MP3, MP4, WAV, and M4A. Again, you can open most audio file types on any audio program. But WAV is a Windows file type so it may not be compatible with some MAC programs. 

And common video file types are MP4, MOV, WMV, and AVI. Video is the most temperamental file type, but programs like VLC open all video files.

You can convert most videos to audio (without the visuals) and most audio files to video (with a blank screen). Some online converters work for simple MP3s and MP4s file types.

But converting file types that are more complex calls for software like Adobe Encoder.

Start Converting File Types With Ease

Converting file types can seem complicated. But once you know more about file formats and conversions and use the right programs, you will soon get the hang of it.

Browse our other tech articles for more hints and tips!


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