Software & Apps

How To Change File Type

All files in Windows operating system have a file type. For example, your text document is a TXT file, but you may want to view it as a DOCX file. You may also be having trouble opening a specific document or file on your PC. It’s probably because the file uses an extension that your PC doesn’t recognize.

To view or use that file, you’ll have to search and download the software that can open it or convert it to a different file type. We have compiled a step-by-step guide on how to change the file type in Windows to make things easy for you.

What is a File Type?

Every file you save or download on Windows has two parts; one is the file name, and the other is the file type or extension. For example, in 123.docx, the filename is 123, and the file type is “docx.”

The file type consists of three or four letters abbreviation that allows Windows OS to identify the program to open it. For example, when you click on a PDF file, Windows OS determines that this file needs to be opened by a PDF reader.

If the file has a wrong file type, i.e., an MP3 file with DOCX extension, Windows will try to open the media file in Microsoft Word. This will cause an error, and you won’t access the file.

However, a few file types are compatible. If you change the file type on an image from PNG to JPEG, Windows will still open the same file in the Photo Viewer without any issues.

Changing File Type

Changing file types can be easy and challenging at the same time. Our step-by-step instructions will take you through the process of changing and saving file types so that the entire file conversion experience can be fun rather than despairing.

We’ll also discuss using Google Docs to change the file types. But first, here are the three methods to change the file type in Windows.

Method #1: Renaming the File Extension

Step #1: Display Hidden File Names

In the first step, you need to let Windows display the hidden file types as part of each file name.

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File types are not visible by default in Windows, thus, stopping you from quickly changing the file type.

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  1. Press Windows+E keys to launch Windows File Explorer.
  2. Select View from the top bar and go to Options > Change folder and search options.
  3. Next, select the View tab and ensure that the “Hide extensions for known file types” box is unchecked.
  4. Finally, save settings by pressing the OK button at the bottom.

Step #2: Rename and Change File Type

In this step, you will change the file type by renaming it.

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  1. Right-click on the file and click the Rename option.
  2. Now, select the File type part, rename it with your desired type, and press the Enter key.
  3. Select Ok to Windows warning prompt.
  4. Right-click on the file again and select Properties.
  5. Confirm that the file type has changed to the new type.
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The first method works great for something simple like changing TXT to DOCX or PNG to JPEG. Windows programs such as Word and Photo viewer can fill in the gaps and open the file after changing its type.

Method #2: Saving and Exporting Files in Another Format

If the program you are using allows you to edit, you can change the file type by saving it in another format.

For example, you can open a PNG image in Paint or a document in Word and save it by selecting File > Save As. The Save As window will allow you to save the image or document in another supported file type such as PNG to JPEG, or DOCX to PDF, XML, XML, etc.

However, if you want to change the file type of a PDF file to PNG or JPEG, the Save As option won’t do the trick. In this case, you can use the Export tool in Acrobat. The export tool will let you choose the image as your export type and save the PDF file in your preferred image format.

Method #3: Using Online File Converter Service

An online file converter service is another convenient method to change the file type. The online service will ask you to upload the file. Afterward, the server will convert the file to your desired type and let you download it in the new format.

Online file conversion service is also a convenient and fast way to convert the file types of complex audio and video files.

Warning

Uploading important files to an unknown server might be risky. So, try to use the online file converter service for non-essential files.

Using Google Docs To Change File Types

Changing file type in Google Docs is super easy. All you have to do is upload a file on your Google drive and open it in Google Docs. Next, click on the File button at the top left corner and select Download.

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Now you can change the file type by saving it in PDF, DOCX, RTF, ODT, HTML, TXT, ZIPPED, and EPUB format. For example, you can upload a PDF file, open it in Google Docs, and download it in DOCX file type.

Summary

In this guide about changing the file type, we’ve discussed changing the file type by renaming the file name, saving the file in a new format, and using an online file type converter service. We also discussed getting aid from Google Docs to convert and download files.

We hope that this guide answered your questions about changing file types, and now you can easily do it without wasting a lot of time. Thank you for reading!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between Windows File Explorer and Windows Explorer?

To display the hidden file types, you need to access Windows File Explorer or Windows Explorer. It is precisely the same thing; however, Windows Explorer is now called File Explorer in Windows 10 and 11.

What should I do if my file breaks while renaming it?

If you are trying to change a complex file type resulting in a break, rename the file back to the previous type.

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