.ASCII File Extension

ASCII Text File

Developer American National Standards Institute
2.6  |  15 Votes

What is an ASCII file?

An ASCII file is a plain text file that uses ASCII character encoding. You can open and edit an ASCII file in most any text editor or word processor. ASCII files are more commonly saved with the .TXT or .ASC extension.

More Information

Screenshot of a .ascii file in Microsoft WordPad
ASCII file open in Microsoft WordPad

The ASCII, or American Standard Code for Information Interchange, standard has been in use since the 1960s, when it was used by telegraph operators. Computers use the ASCII standard to translate binary data into alphanumeric characters and punctuation, shown in plain text files that may contain anything from program scripts to grocery lists.

Typically, ASCII files are saved with a more common or specific extension. For example, many TXT and .CSV files are ASCII files, as are most .BAT and .CMD files. However, some programs and users may save plain text files as ASCII files, to denote the character encoding the files use.

How to open an ASCII file

You can open an ASCII file in most text editors or word processors, including:

In some programs, such as Microsoft Notepad, you may have to select All files (*.*) from the Open window before you can open your ASCII file.

How to convert an ASCII file

Microsoft WordPad, Apple TextEdit, and most other programs that can open ASCII files can convert them to other formats. For example, WordPad can convert ASCII files to the following formats:

  • .RTF - Rich Text Format
  • .DOCX - Microsoft Word Document
  • .ODT - OpenDocument Text Document
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Programs that open ASCII files

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Verified by FileInfo.com

The FileInfo.com team has independently researched the ASCII Text file format and Mac, Windows, and Linux apps listed on this page. Our goal is 100% accuracy and we only publish information about file types that we have verified.

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