What Is a File Format? 5 Things to Know

There are several different types of file formats, ranging from image file formats (like JPG and GIF) to document file formats (like PDF and DOC). Understanding file formats can help you to create and navigate files the right way.

What is a file format? Why are there so many different file format examples? Why is this information important to you?

Now that we’re in the midst of the digital age, file formats can matter both in work and your personal life. They can determine what you can view, how you view it, and more.

Read on as we discuss five important things that everyone should know about file formats.

 1. The Basics: What Is a File Format?

The term “file format” refers to the way that the information in a specific file is encoded within your computer storage. Most people won’t need to understand exactly how this encoding process works. What’s more important is understanding how file formats affect your documents and when to use different types of file formats.

 2. Why Can’t You View Certain Files?

Let’s say that you’ve received a file via email but when you try to open it, nothing seems to happen or you get an error message. What that means is that your computer is not currently compatible with that file. In other words, the sender will either need to convert the file to something else or you will need to install the software (ie PDFcrowd or alternatives) that can read that file.

 3. How Can You Change Your File Format?

What if you want to convert your existing file to another file format? For example, you may want to turn your Microsoft DOC file into a PDF. The easiest way to modify a file format is by selecting “Save As” in the document window and then selecting “Save as Type,” which will open up a dropdown menu of the different file formats you can choose.

 4. Can You Modify Any File Format?

Why is it that some of the documents you receive or open on your computer won’t allow an edit option? Some files are designed to remain intact, the most notable example being the PDF. In fact, if you want to send out documents to other people that you don’t want them to alter, you should always use a PDF file format.

 5. Is There a Default File Format?

Is there a file format that’s “standard” across all systems? Different programs will have a default file format–such as Microsoft Word’s default DOC or DOCX format. This makes those file formats a common choice, but there is no single default file format across systems.

Understand File Formats to Navigate the Digital Age

What is a file format? For most of us, the main thing we need to understand is how to view different file formats and when different file formats are optimal.

Looking for more tips and information that will help you navigate both life and business? Take a look around as we cover economic news, business practices, and other helpful topics.

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