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File Types & Conversions

posted Jan 13, 2011, 4:10 PM by Sara Newman
Fall Quarter 2009
Every once in a while we need to convert a digital file’s type into something it isn’t because we don’t have the application that recognizes the file we’re trying to view/use. 
  • For example, converting a .wma (Windows Media Audio) into a .mp3 (MPEG Audio Stream, Layer III) 
Typically, we’d use the application that recognizes the original file type/extension to convert it into something else.
  • For example, we'd used MSN's Word application to change a .docx file type to a .doc or.pdf file type 
Important: We cannot simply type a different extension (file type name) at the end of a digital file's name to change its type. Doing so does NOT change the digital algorithm that originally created the file. The file must be run through a program that understands its algorithm for it to change.

However, there are other ways to convert a file type – and here’s one we’ve used in a pinch! Check out this online application, called ZAMZAR http://zamzar.com. Zamzar converts hundreds of different file types for free without the need of your file’s original application on your computer.

Important: Never run 'sensitive' data/information through an online application without checking into it (the online tool) thoroughly first.

Visit the following links to learn more about file types (extensions)