Definition of computer file format

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Computer file format

The “Computer File Format” is a standard way that information is encoded for storage in a “Computer File”. It specifies how bits are used to encode information in a “Computer Storage Device” such as Hard Disk Drive (HDD), Pen Drive, Compact Disk (CD) etc. The “Computer File Format” is designed for specific types of “Data”. For example- “PNG Files” store “Bitmapped Images” using lossless data compression. A “Text File” can contain any stream of characters, including possible control characters and is encoded in one of various character encoding schemes.


Features of computer file format


a) Patents Law

The “Patent Law” refers to “Copyright” which is more often used to protect a “Computer File Format”. Although “Patent Law” for “Computer File Format” is not directly permitted under “US Law”, some “Computer File Formats” encode data using “Patented Algorithms”.


For example- Using Compression with the “JPEG File Format” requires the use of a “Patented Algorithm” and though the “Patent Owner” did not primarily enforce their “Computer File Format Patent”, they later began collecting royalty fees.


b) Specifications

“Computer File Formats” often have a published “Specification” describing the programming method and enabling testing of program intentional functionality. Not all “Computer File Formats” have freely available “Specification Documents”. You know that, some “Software Developers” view their “Specification Documents” as trade secrets. You also know that, other “Software Developers” never “Author” a “Formal Specification Document” which is letting precedent set by other “Computer Programs” define the “Computer File Formats Specifications”.

c) File name extension

One popular method used by many “Computer Operating Systems” such as Windows, Mac, etc. is to find out the “Computer File Format” of a “Computer File” based on the end of its “Name The Letters” following the final period. This portion of the “Computer File Name” is known as the “Computer File Name Extension”.


For example- “Text Documents” are identified by names that end with (.txt) and JPEG images by (.jpeg).


d) Determine file type

Different “Computer Operating Systems” have traditionally taken different approaches to determine a particular “Computer File’s Format” in your Computer. It has some Advantages and Disadvantages to determine a particular “Computer File’s Format” in your Computer.

e) Internal meta data

The determining of a “Computer File Format” is to use information concerning the format stored inside the file itself. Moreover information of a “Computer File Format” meant for this purpose that take place to always be in specific locations in “Computer Files” of some “Computer Files Formats”.

f) File header

The easiest place to locate “Binary Strings” is at the beginning such area is usually called a “Computer File Header” when it is greater than a few bytes or a Magic Number if it is just a few bytes long. The Meta Data contained in a “File Header” are usually stored at the start of the “Computer File”. It might be present in other areas too, often including the end. It depends on the “Computer File Format” or the type of Data contained.


For example- The “Computer File Headers” are used for “Wrapper or “Container file formats.


g) Examine by using computer software

Character based “Computer Text Files” usually have character based Headers, while “Company Binary Formats” usually have “Binary Headers”. This is not a fixed rule. Text based “Computer File Headers” usually require more bytes. However, being human readable, they can easily be examined by using simple “Computer Software” such as a “Hexadecimal Editor” or a “Text Editor”.

h) Open file without loading memory

“Computer File Headers” may be used by a “Computer Operating System” to quickly collect information about a “Computer File” without Loading it all into “Computer Memory”. A “Computer Folder” containing many “Computer Files” with complex Meta Data such as “Computer Thumbnail Information” may require considerable time before it can be displayed in your “Computer Monitor Screen”.

i) External metadata

The “Computer Format” of a “Computer File” is to clearly store information about the “Computer Format” in the “Computer File System”, rather than within the “Computer File” itself. This approach keeps the Meta Data separate from both the main “Data” and the “Name”. It is also less Portable than either “Computer File Extensions” or “Magic Numbers”, since the format has to be converted from filesystem to filesystem.

j) Create zip or archive files

The “Computer Zip Files” or “Computer Archive Files” solve the problem of handling Meta Data. A “Computer Utility Program” collects multiple files together along with Meta Data about each “Computer File” and the “Computer Folders/ Directories” they came from all within one New “Computer File (e.g. a “Computer Zip File” with extension .zip)”. The new “Computer File” is also compressed and possibly encrypted, but now is transmissible as a single “Computer File” across “Computer Operating Systems” by attached to “Internet Email”. At the destination, it must be “Unzipped” by a compatible utility to be useful.

k) File content based format identification

Identify the file format is to look at the “Computer File Contents” for distinguishable patterns among file types. The “Computer File Contents” are sequence of “Bytes”. A “Byte” has “256 Unique Patterns (0-255)”. Thus, counting the occurrence of “Byte Patterns” that is often referred as “Byte” frequency distribution gives distinguishable patterns to identify “Computer File Types”. There are many content based “Computer File Types” identification schemes that use “Byte Frequency Distribution” to build the representative models for “Computer File Types” and use any statistical and data mining techniques to identify “Computer File Types” easily.

l) Unstructured formats

Previous “Computer File Formats” used “Computer Raw Data Formats” that consisted of directly dumping the “Computer Memory Images” of one or more structures into the “Computer File”. The limitations of the unstructured “Computer File Formats” led to the development of other types of “Computer File Formats” that could be easily extended and be backward friendly at the same time.

m) Directory based formats

A “Computer File System”, where the “Computer File” is composed of “Directory Entries” that contain the location of the “Computer Data” within the “Computer File” itself as well as its signatures.


For example- TIFF images etc.


n) Convert file format

Sometimes, you can “Convert” from one “Computer File Format” to another “Computer File Format” with a “Computer Converter Software” in your Computer.


For example- “Convert” from “PDF File Format” to “Word File Format” with a “Computer Converter Software”.





1. Need “Computer User”

2. Need “Computer”

3. Need “Computer Monitor” to “Display” the “Computer File Format”

4. Need “Computer File Name Extension” to identify the “Computer File Format” in your Computer.

5. Need “Computer Memory” to keep the “Computer File Format” in your Computer.

6. Need “Computer Memory” to “Open” any “Computer File Format” without Loading in your Computer.

7. Need a “Computer File” of “Zip File Format” which will help you to get many “Computer Files” within one “Computer File”.

8. Need a “Computer Converter Software” to “Convert” from one “Computer File Format” to another “Computer File Format” in your Computer.




1. To do the Normal Computer Work with the “Computer File Format”, you should use the “Operating System” such as Windows XP, Windows 7, Windows 8 etc.

2. From the “Computer File Format”, you can understand the “Computer File Types” in your Computer.

3. You should use the “Full Version” of “Computer Converter Software” to “Convert” the “Computer File Format” perfectly in your Computer.




1. You should be careful to “Rename” a specific “Computer File Format”. That time, you should not “Delete” the “Computer File Name Extension” from that “Computer File”. Otherwise, your Computer can not identify that “Computer File Format” and Run it in your Computer.

2. Never “Delete” any “Computer File Name Extension” from a “Computer File Format”. Otherwise, you can not “Open” that “Computer Files” in your Computer.


Operating System


windows xp logo windows 7 logo windows 8 logo

In this way, you can understand about Definition of computer file format, Features of computer file format, Requirements and Tips to use “Computer File Format” in the Computer.


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