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How to show and change file extensions in Windows

It's a simple process.
By
June 20, 2022

Windows is pretty great with file extensions, letting you see the extensions and even change them if you need to. However, these options are kind of hidden from plain sight and require a bit of tweaking to get to. It’s quite easy, though, so let us show you how. Here’s how to show and change file extensions in Windows.

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QUICK ANSWER

To show file extensions in Windows, open the File Explorer. Click View on the menu ribbon at the top, and check the box next to File name extensions. To change a file extension, right-click a file and click Rename. Add or change the extension at the end of the file name, after the period, and press the Enter key.

How to show and change file extensions in Windows

This process uses screenshots from Windows 10, but the process is the same for most Windows versions. Open Windows File Explorer from the taskbar or by looking for it in Windows search. Navigate to the folder with the files in question.

Windows 10 explorer view menu
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On the menu ribbon at the top, click the tab that says View. Tick the box next to File name extensions in the Show/hide tab by clicking it.

Windows 10 explorer show file extensions
Palash Volvoikar / Android Authority

Once you do that, the file extensions will be visible. You can check the file extensions at the end of the file name. To change the file extension, right-click the file, and click Rename.

Windows 10 explorer change file extension right click
Palash Volvoikar / Android Authority

Rename the extension at the end of the file name, located after the period. If the file in question does not have an extension, you can type in a period, followed by the file extension of your choice, with no spaces.

Windows 10 explorer change file extension rename
Palash Volvoikar / Android Authority

Once you have typed it in, just press the Enter key. Windows File Explorer will show you a warning about how changing the file extension may render the file unable to open. Click Yes.

Windows 10 explorer change file extension warning
Palash Volvoikar / Android Authority

The file extension will be changed. The file will appear with the new extension, and the file type will also report according to the new extension.

Windows 10 explorer change file extension changed
Palash Volvoikar / Android Authority

The example here shows a .exe image file changed to a .txt file, which isn’t really useful and only used for illustrative purposes. Such a file will show a random bunch of text when opened. To avoid damage to the file, keep a copy of the file before changing the extension, and change the extension back to the default one without modifying the file.


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