There is such a multitude of file format extensions which exist today, that entire websites have been created to try and explain what program created the strange format you've come across and found you can't open. If you're anything like me, it's a frequent occurrence that sends you scouring the web for the application which can open and hopefully manipulate the file for you.
Enter File Viewer Plus - A solution I found and purchased on the Microsoft Store some time ago and have been using ever since Version 2.x, however, this review is based on Version 3.0 of the software which was recently released.
One more tidbit of info. Before I purchased and decided to review this software, I emailed the author to ask why, since there are so many file viewers already available on the web, bother with developing this application?
Here's Steve Mellema's answer;
As the owners of FileInfo.com, we wanted to provide our users with a single program that could open the hundreds of the most popular file types. While other universal file viewers exist, we felt we could create a more user-friendly experience with more advanced file viewing and editing capabilities. File Viewer Plus also integrates file type information from FileInfo.com, which helps users identify unknown file types.
Our goal with File Viewer Plus is to provide users with a single program that can replace many others at an affordable price. Home and small business users find File Viewer Plus to be a great alternative to purchasing office packages or installing many individual software programs.
Since that made sense to me and suitably impressed with the performance I've personally been getting from the software, I decided to go ahead and write this review. So on with the show...
Download and after Installation
You can download and install (fully functional) 14 Day Trials of both Version 2 and Version 3 using this link.
A great feature of this software is that both versions can be installed and used, depending on your interface preferences. The main difference between the two (interface wise) is that the latest version has the more traditional Ribbon Interface.
Version 2 Version 3
I show that because a lot of people, myself included, still aren't terribly fond of the Ribbon Interface and others may still be using Windows XP, but if you're already on Windows 7 SP1 or later, and are happy with using it, there are some additional benefits to using Version 3.x which you can check out on the "What's new in Version 3" page. The dark and blue skins of the software can be changed in either version on the fly.
More than just a File Viewer
Impressive to note is that despite its name, File Viewer Plus is far more than just a "file viewer". It allows you to manipulate and convert all of the files it supports to different formats. It's also quite an impressive Word Processor, so much so that I often find myself using it rather than Microsoft Word because I find it faster to load and easier to manipulate the position of included graphics in.
For example, here's a document I created using File Viewer Plus and then just saved in both RTF and PDF format using File Viewer Plus.
I find it has all of the options that I regularly use and need when composing a document in Microsoft Word and is often (for me) much easier to quickly compose an article or blog with.
File Format Identification & Manipulation
This is of course where File Viewer Plus really comes into its own and shines. Drag and Drop (or Open) any supported file type and you can get an abundance of information about it. Here's a quick view of a PNG pic I grabbed from somewhere and loaded up.
Load as many different files and formats as you like by just clicking the Start button. You're only restricted in the number of files you can have open in the software by the amount of your computer's memory. The "Opens with:" information tells you what your computer is currently set to open PNG files with if you already have a compatible viewer or editor installed.
Clicking on the highlighted "View at FileInfo.com" box in the above screenshot will take you to another one of the owner's sites (FileInfo.com) that gives you a host of information about the file name extension you're looking at, such as, what a PNG file is, some history on its format, and a whole host of programs you can download that support and can use this particular file format. Click the above link to see what I mean.
Batch Format Conversions
Once you have a supported file type in the software, you can convert it to any other supported format that you like. But who wants to do that one at a time if you have a whole bunch of them? This is where the Batch Conversion function offered by File Viewer Plus is really helpful.
As can be seen from the above screenshot, a whole host of options are available to you here. If you have a whole nested bunch of folders you want to be converted at once, then an option (not visible in the above screenshot) is available to also include entire subfolders and preserve their directory structure if you want to as well. This should be seriously useful for those of you that work with large amounts of graphic or video files. I tried this with several folders of files and they all converted perfectly.
This software has a ton features that I haven't even touched on, such as Smart File Detection, where if an extension of a file has been saved incorrectly, it will identify what the extension of that file should be and let you know. In the unlikely event, you come across a file format that File Viewer's 300+ extensions don't fully support, it will still present you with as much information it knows about the file to make it easier for you to find a solution.
It's difficult to do justice to the capabilities of this software with a simple review. All I can say is that it's now earned a permanent spot in my own IT Toolbox and I fully recommend it.
Download it for yourself and give it a try - it uninstalls cleanly so you have nothing to lose and I think you'll love it. The software is also available for download and purchase from the Microsoft Store if you want to accumulate some Microsoft reward points.
Finally, If you found this review to be helpful, please do click the Thumbs-Up icon below. This lets me know what is valuable for EE members and provides direction for future articles. Thank you very much! Regards, Andrew