How to change file name extension on Windows?

You must have heard terms like mp3, doc, docx, pdf, gif, jpg etc. Ever wondered what they actually are and what do they mean? These all basically file extensions that signify their contents. For instance if we talk about .doc, it denotes that a file having this extension has MS Word Document contents. In short, a filename extension is a suffix that is applied to a filename to refer the format of its contents. Initially, it used to contain three letters only, but today we several extensions with four letters viz. DOCX (MS Word 2007 onwards).

You won’t be able to see extension in a file name if your Windows is set to its default settings. It is kept hidden to make it easier for you to read file name. But practically, there can be cases when changing the extension may be required. Supposing you downloaded a certain file from internet but you are not able to open it because it has no extension associated with it. When you try opening it, it gives out a window like the image given below:

change file extension name on windows

Folder Option

You might be thinking that you got this file corrupted and you should seek data recovery services help on this now. Hold on, this Window that you see above asks you to specify an application that will open this file. In case you know what file format it must be, you can choose a program to open it. To avoid this, you can change or add an extension to this file so that you do not have any problem in opening it in future. Confused? How to do that when you don’t even see the extension in the file name? Well, it is not that difficult.  Open Windows Explorer or open any folder on your computer, go to the menu Tools right below the title bar and select Folder Options (Shown in the image below).

Show file name extension

Folder Option Window

Navigate to the View tab and uncheck ‘Hide Extensions for Known File Types’.  You are done, click okay to close the window. Now you will be able to see the file name extension on every file. To the change extension of any file, simply right click on its icon and select Rename (You can do this also by selecting the file and hitting the F2 key on your keyboard). Write the extension name with a dot and hit enter or click elsewhere to save this name. Isn’t it simple enough? I will be happy to know your comments.

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