.WMF File Extension

.WMF File Extension

2 file types use the .wmf file extension.
File Type 1

Windows Metafile

Developer Microsoft
3.7  |  45 Votes
Category Vector Image Files
Format Binary

What is a WMF file?

A WMF file is a vector graphic saved in the proprietary Windows Metafile Format (WMF) format developed by Microsoft. It contains a series of metafile records that store drawing operations, which include commands for drawing lines, circles, and rectangles that make up the graphic. WMF files also support bitmap drawing operations.

More Information
Screenshot of a .wmf file in Adobe Illustrator 2020
WMF file open in Adobe Illustrator 2020

WMF files originally appeared in 1988 with the release of Windows 2.0. Microsoft later published the WMF file format specification with the Windows 3.0 release in 1992 and then published a subsequent specification in 2006. Microsoft continues to regularly publish updates to the format.

What is the Windows Metafile (WMF) format?

WMF is primarily used as a container for vector graphics but also supports raster image data. It supports 16-bit image data that can be scaled and output at a higher definition, which is especially useful when modifying graphics in an image editor and printing high-quality images.

Image data contained in WMF files are stored in a series of metafile record structures. Each of these records stores drawing commands, object definitions, and configuration settings.

WMF was commonly used in the 1990s, especially in Windows applications, such as Microsoft Word, Publisher, and PowerPoint. However, due to its 16-bit data limitation and device-dependence, Microsoft replaced WMF with the Enhanced Windows Metafile (.EMF) format in 1992 with the release of Windows NT 3.1.

WMF and EMF files are still used to save vector graphics by various image editors. However, the formats have largely been replaced by the Scalable Vector Graphics (.SVG) and Encapsulated PostScript (.EPS) formats.

NOTE: Microsoft developed the .WMZ and .EMZ formats to reduce the file sizes of WMF and EMF files and make it easier to transfer the graphics between applications. These formats utilize gzip compression to compress the files.

How do I open a WMF file?

You can open WMF graphics with various image-editing and -viewing applications. Some programs include the Microsoft Office suite of applications (Windows and macOS), Adobe Illustrator (Windows and macOS), Inkscape (multiplatform), and XnViewMP (multiplatform).

To open WMF graphics stored on your computer with Microsoft Word or PowerPoint, select the Insert tab, then click Pictures → This Device.... In Microsoft Excel, select the Insert tab, then click Illustrations → Pictures → This Device....

Open and view .WMF files with File Viewer Plus.Free Download

Programs that open WMF files

Updated March 3, 2021
File Type 2

Widelands Map File

Developer The Widelands Development Team
2.8  |  9 Votes
Category Game Files
Format Binary

What is a WMF file?

Map file used by Widelands, a strategy game where players control tribes and build settlements; contains a game map, which includes the map size, terrain, initial resources, and tribe starting locations; can be used to create custom maps.

Programs that open WMF files

Updated April 2, 2010

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