Guide to Common File Formats

Part of the PCs All-in-One For Dummies Cheat Sheet

You'll encounter these digital media and archival file formats everywhere on the web and on your PC, so it's a good idea to familiarize yourself with their use and which applications will load them.

Name or Extension Type File Use
AAC/M4P Audio Play music with iTunes
AVI Video Play video clips on any PC with Windows Media Player
BMP Image Store archive images on CD or DVD with Windows Paint
JPEG Image Send photos through e-mail or display them on the web
MOV Video Play video clips on PCs and Macs with Apple QuickTime Player
MP3 Audio Play music on your hard drive or MP3 player with Media Player
MPEG Video Play video clips on PCs, Macs, and Linux computers
PDF Document Share and print high-quality electronic documents
PNG Image Display images on a web page
RAR Archive Archive and compress multiple files into one file
TIFF Image Share files between PCs, Macs, and Linux computers
WAV Audio Add sound effects within Windows 8
ZIP Archive Archive and compress multiple files into one file
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