.CDF File Extension

Computable Document Format File (Legacy)

Developer Wolfram Research
3.9  |  55 Votes

What is a CDF file?

A CDF file is an interactive document saved in the Computable Document Format (CDF), a document standard developed by Wolfram Research. It may contain text, visual elements, such as interactive graphs or images, Wolfram Language input or output, and page formatting information. Wolfram discontinued the CDF format in 2021 in favor of the interactive Mathematica Notebook (.NB) format.

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Screenshot of a .cdf file in Wolfram Research Mathematica 14
CDF file open in Wolfram Research Mathematica 14

Various types of Wolfram software users, such as teachers, scientists, and publishers, may save documents as CDF files. Typically, they open the files with Wolfram Research Player or Mathematica when displaying business presentations, reading journal articles, or interacting with e-learning materials such as textbooks and tutorials. The format also allows users to load visualization data on-demand from within the CDF file.

How to open a CDF file

You can open CDF files with Wolfram Research Player and Wolfram Research Mathematica in Windows, macOS, and Linux. To open a CDF file with either application, select File → Open.

How to convert a CDF file

Wolfram Research Mathematica can convert CDF files to various file types, including the following formats:

  • .NB - Mathematica Notebook
  • .TXT - Plain Text File
  • .TEX - LaTeX Source Document
  • .PS - PostScript File
  • .RTF - Rich Text Format File
  • .M - Wolfram Language Package
  • .PDF - Portable Document Format
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Programs that open CDF files

CryENGINE Character Definition File

Developer Crytek
3.3  |  15 Votes

File created by the CryENGINE SDK, a program suite used for building games for PC and console platforms; saves a reference to the character file (.CHR or .CGF) as well as attachments; used in the process of constructing virtual characters for the target game.

Programs that open CDF files


Common Data Format

Developer GSFC
3.2  |  15 Votes

File create in the Common Data Format (CDF), a format used for storing scalar and multidimensional data in a manner independent of the target platform and discipline; used as a scientific data storage and interchange format by various researchers and organizations and often by those in government.

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Common Data Format files can be manipulated using the CDF software toolkit provided by the Space Physics Data Facility (SPDF), a part of the Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC). The software is cross-platform.

The Common Data Format is supported with interfaces to programming languages such as C, Fortran, C#, Perl, Java. It is also supported by commercial software packages such as MathWorks MATLAB, ITT Visual Information Solutions' Interactive Display Language (IDL), and Weisang FlexPro.

The CDF format has been adopted as a standard format by organizations such as the International Solar-Terrestrial Physics (ISTP) project and the Central Data Handling Facilities (CDHF) project, a scientific data processing entity.

NOTE: The CDF format differs from the NetCDF format, which is based on CDF but uses slightly different conventions. Sometimes NetCDF files use the ".cdf" extension, but the format is incompatible.

Programs that open CDF files

NetCDF Format File

Developer NetCDF
3.2  |  6 Votes

Data file created in NetCDF's Common Data Form format, which is based on the standard Common Data Format (CDF) but differs in several ways and therefore is not compatible; used for storing scientific data in a manner independent of the platform and discipline for which it is used; more commonly uses the .NC file extension.

More Information

NOTE: NcView only runs on Windows under Cygwin and if you compile from source manually.

Programs that open CDF files


Affymetrix Chip Definition File

Developer Affymetrix
2.7  |  7 Votes

Library file used by Affymetrix DNA microarray analysis software; specifies the layout of a "GeneChip" array and contains the definition of the data stored in an Affymetrix .CEL file; used for understanding and analyzing CEL data.

More Information

A GeneChip is a physical chip containing DNA microarray biological data. GeneChips are manufactured by Affymetrix.

Programs that open or reference CDF files

Nominal Small Business Accounting Company Data File

Developer bsmArt Consulting
2.8  |  5 Votes

Accounting data file created by Nominal Small Business Accounting, an application used to track company finances; contains accounts, purchase and sale items, exchange terms, payment methods, tax codes, and employee payroll information for a company.

More Information

CDF files can be used for storing all accounting information for a small-sized business.

NOTE: Nominal Small Business Accounting has been discontinued.

Programs that open CDF files

bsmArt Consulting Nominal Small Business Accounting

Content Definition File

Developer ECMG
2.5  |  6 Votes

XML-based data format designed for storing and sharing abstract Enterprise Content Management (ECM) content and metadata; can be used to exchange content across repositories and organizations.

More Information

The CDF format was originally defined as part of the Content Transformation Services (CTS) framework by the Enterprise Content Management Group (ECMG).

Programs that open CDF files

ECMG FileMatica

Channel Definition Format

Developer N/A
2.6  |  5 Votes

Format used by Web publishers to offer frequently updated information as "channels;" distributed from a Web server to computers with compatible Web browser software installed.

Programs that open or reference CDF files

Netscape Navigator with Netcaster support
Netscape Navigator with Netcaster support

C.Scope Data Log

Developer C.Scope International
2.0  |  1 Vote

A CDF file may also be a data log created by a C.Scope cable avoidance device. It contains a record of how and when the device was used, as well as the device's model type, serial number, and other data. CDF files can be used to analyze a device's use and view cable survey data, using the C.Scope PC Toolkit or C.Scope Relay mobile apps.

More Information

C.Scope International produces pipe and cable location equipment that allows utility and construction professionals to locate underground pipes and cables. C.Scope's cable avoidance devices produce CDF files, which contain a record of when and how the devices were used, as well as the data the devices collected.

Devices generate a new CDF file each time they are used. Each CDF file contains the following data:

  • Device model type
  • Device serial number
  • Automatic self test result
  • User identity
  • Date and time of use
  • Device detection mode
  • Signal strength
  • Signal generator/transmitter frequency
  • Cable/pipe depth
  • Sonde depth

Each device can store roughly 12 months' worth of CDF files at one time. Device operators and auditors can transfer a device's CDF files to a PC or mobile device, to view the files' data in C.Scope PC Toolkit or C.Scope Relay.

How to open a CDF file

You can open a CDF file in C.Scope PC Toolkit (Windows) or C.Scope Relay (Android, iOS). For example, to open a CDF file in C.Scope PC Toolkit, open the program and select the Analyse tab. Then, select Open, navigate to your CDF file, and open the file.

Programs that open CDF files


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