File Formats

File formats represent data types contained in a file. For each data type, it is a couple of file formats to save these data as a file.

Common File Types and Formats

Typical examples of files are are:

  • Document files, including plain text files, formatted text files, vocabularies.
  • Multimedia files, i.e., audio files, video files, graphic files, 3D files and other.
  • Program files, for example, batch and script files, executable programs and libraries.
  • Project files, including application data files, projects, object files, help files and config files.
  • Other file types, i.e., drive images, virtual machines, database tables, memory dump etc.

Different File Formats for a Single Type

For each file type, this is a couple of file formats. Let us show this for some categories.

  • Plain text files are a basic format for any file containing the text information. However, these files have a difference by encoding according to an OS used (ASCII files, Unicode files, Mac OS X files etc.), and also by a symbol (or a combination of symbols) used for ending a single string.
  • Video files have many formats, including MPEG4, OGG, MOV, 3GP and some other popular formats. The principal difference between formats is a type of codec (a service utility used to encode or decode videos) and other video software.

How to Know a File Format?

Traditionally, the main method to show a format for a single file is its file extension. For most common formats, these are also one of two bytes (symbols) at the beginning of a file, which defines what the type of information the file carries.