How to Change File Type in Windows 10/11 (File Extension)

If you have a file that needs to be changed to a different format, we will show you how to change the file type in Windows 10. There will be no need to install any additional software. Windows has everything you need to do the job.

It’s just a simple case of renaming its extension. It’s the last three characters at the end of a filename.

But before you can change the type, you will need to be able to edit the extension. It’s a simple setting in File Explorer.

Before you continue, I will also recommend making a copy of your file, so you can make sure you don’t lose anything you want to keep in case something goes wrong.

An example of why you may want to change a file type is due to software making backups.

Now and then, a program will make a backup of it, and then one of the characters on the extension of the filename gets replaced with an underscore, which would look like: filename._xe instead of filename.exe.

Let’s go through the steps to change the type.

What is a file extension?

A file extension is the final characters after the last period of the filename. These important characters determine the file type, thus allowing operating systems to understand exactly what kind of file it is.

For example, you have a file named examplefile.txt. Most operating systems will view this file as a text document. If you rename txt to jpg, you will instantly change the file to an image instead of a text file.

Now, of course, this comes with the obvious responsibility of having the correct format of data in the file for it to actually work as it should.

Simply renaming a file to an image file won’t make it have the correct contents inside it to display an image on your computer unless the file’s data was indeed image data for that file type originally.

How to change file type in Windows 10

Windows File Explorer Check Show File
  1. Open Windows File Explorer.
  2. Locate it by navigating to it by clicking various locations in the left-hand pane.
  3. Click on the View tab in the top menu area.
  4. Make sure File name extension is checked.
  5. Move your mouse pointer to hover over the file you want to be changed and press the right mouse button.
  6. Click on Rename in the contextual menu.
  7. Edit the last characters at the end of the file name (after the final period) to the extension you want.
  8. Press Enter to save the change.
Rename File
Rename File

You have successfully changed the file type.

If, for some reason, you are unable to see the extension, please refer to our other article showing you how to display file extensions.

How to change file type in Windows 11

How to file extensions in Windows 11
  1. Open Windows Explorer. (Search for it or click on the yellow folder in the taskbar).
  2. Click on View and hover your mouse pointer over the Show menu item.
  3. Ensure that the File name extensions option is checked.
  4. Right-click on the file that you want to change.
  5. Click on Rename and rename the last three characters of the filename after the final period to change the file type.

How to change programs associated with file types

open start menu and click on settings
  1. Press the Windows key on your keyboard.
  2. Click on the gear icon to open the Settings App.
  3. Type in choose a default app for each type of file in the search box.
  4. Click on Choose a default app for each type of file.
  5. Scroll down until you have seen the type of file you wish to change, and click on it.
  6. Choose the app you want to open that file type in the future.
type in choose a default app for each file type
select app for file type - how to change file type

Conclusion to change file extensions

Now you know what a file extension is and how to change file types and even their associated program.

So you won’t have the incorrect program opening up whenever you click on it.