You can think of all files as belonging generally to one of two classes--binary or text. Text can be further broken down into ASCII text files, Latin-1 text files, or text of some other character set. Text files can be read with any text reader, text editor or word processor; but binary files cannot. Binary files can be graphics files, program modules, data link libraries, audio files, spreadsheets, wordprocessing documents, etc.
The last three letters in a file's name (those characters following the dot) tell you a lot about what kind of file you have. Over the years, certain conventional three-character combinations have evolved to indicate not only file content, but often the programs that are associated with them and, therefore, the type of data that they contain. These three letter combinations are called "file extensions". Below are some of the more common ones:
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