.SDF File Extension

File Type 1

SQL Server Compact Database File

Developer Microsoft
3.6  |  91 Votes
Category Database Files
Format N/A

What is an SDF file?

An SDF file contains a compact relational database saved in the SQL Server Compact (SQL CE) format, which is developed by Microsoft. It is designed for applications that run on mobile devices and desktops and contains the complete database contents, which may be up to 4GB in size.

More Information

You will most likely only encounter SQL CE SDF files if you are a database architect or developer. You can open an SDF file with several programs, including Microsoft Visual Studio and LINQPad.

To open an SDF file with Visual Studio, select View → Server Explorer → Data Connections → Add Connection..., change the data source to "Microsoft SQL Server Compact," click Browse..., and select the SDF file.

To open an SDF file with LINQPad, follow these steps:

  1. Click "Add connection" in the top-left pane
  2. Select "Build data context automatically," choose "LINQ to SQL," and click Next >.
  3. Select "SQL CE 4.0 (auto-install)" in the Provider section.
  4. Click "Attach database file" in the Database section, click "Browse," and choose the SDF file.

NOTE: Previous versions of SQL Server Compact were distributed as SQL Server for Windows CE and SQL Server Mobile Edition.

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Programs that open SDF files

Updated February 11, 2020
File Type 2

Spatial Data Format File

Developer Autodesk
3.7  |  43 Votes
Category GIS Files
Format N/A

What is an SDF file?

Geodatabase format used to store infrastructural and geospatial data; supports multiple feature classes, which may each contain multiple geometric properties; optimized for large datasets of spatial information.

More Information

The SDF format was developed by Autodesk and is used by several Autodesk programs, including Autodesk MapGuide Enterprise and AutoCAD Map 3D.

Programs that open or reference SDF files

Updated August 29, 2016
File Type 3

Standard Data File

Developer N/A
3.5  |  21 Votes
Category Data Files
Format N/A

What is an SDF file?

Standard database format used for storing data in a structured format; uses fields of fixed lengths to store values; can be imported and exported by various database and data analysis programs; commonly used for transferring data between different programs.

Programs that open or reference SDF files

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Updated November 4, 2016
File Type 4

Structure Data File

Developer Symyx Technologies
3.6  |  20 Votes
Category Data Files
Format Text

What is an SDF file?

Chemical data file created in the Structure Data File (SDF) format, which was developed by Molecular Design Limited (MDL); saved in plain text and contains chemical structure records; used as a standard exchange format for chemicals information.

More Information

Molecular Design Limited was renamed to MDL Information Systems and then later was acquired by Symyx Technologies, the organization that now maintains the SDF format.

Programs that open or reference SDF files

Updated March 21, 2018
File Type 5

World in Conflict Game Map

Developer Massive Entertainment
3.5  |  14 Votes
Category Game Files
Format Binary

What is an SDF file?

Map file used by World in Conflict, a real-time tactics war simulation game; stores the terrain, spawn points, item locations, and other map details; used for multiplayer gameplay.

More Information

Custom maps can be created using WicEd, the World in Conflict map editor.

Programs that open or reference SDF files

Updated November 18, 2011

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