Using Your Own File Extensions

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated March 13, 2018)

1

By default, Word uses a DOC extension for all document files. You can, however, control exactly what extensions Word uses with your documents. (Some people prefer their own file name extensions as a means of organizing their documents.) If you try to use a different file name extension by including it when you save the file, Word still appends the DOC extension. For instance, if you explicitly save a file as MyFile.let, Word will still save it as MyFile.let.doc.

If you don't want Word to do this, then simply enclose your file name in quotes when you save under a new name. Thus, you would use the name "MyFile.let" (with the quotes) and that is the file name that Word will use.

As a side note, you should understand that Windows doesn't have length limits on file name extensions. Thus, you can name a document as MyFile.let, or you can name it as MyFile.letter. It is entirely up to you.

One other point on this topic, as well. If you save a document with a different extension (not using DOC), then Word won't show the document by default when you use the Open command. To see all your varied-extension files, you need to follow these steps:

  1. Click on the Open icon on the toolbar, or choose Open from the File menu. This displays the Open dialog box.
  2. In the File Name field, enter an asterisk, period, and your desired extension. For instance, you could enter "*.let" (without the quotes).
  3. Press Enter. The desired files should be listed in the directory.
  4. Select the file you want to open.
  5. Click on Open.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (1003) applies to Microsoft Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Adjusting Row Height when Wrapping Text

If you have some cells merged in a worksheet, and you wrap text within that merged cell, Excel won't automatically resize ...

Discover More

Leading Spaces in Document File Names

If you try to add spaces to the beginning of a document's file name, Word normally strips them away. This tip examines ...

Discover More

Keyboard Shortcut for Comments

Adding comments to the cells in your worksheets can help to document different aspects of that worksheet. Adding a ...

Discover More

Do More in Less Time! Are you ready to harness the full power of Word 2013 to create professional documents? In this comprehensive guide you'll learn the skills and techniques for efficiently building the documents you need for your professional and your personal life. Check out Word 2013 In Depth today!

More WordTips (menu)

Deleting the Open Document File

Want to delete the document you are currently viewing? Word doesn't provide a way to do it, but you can use the macro in ...

Discover More

Renaming a Document

Want to rename a document that is already on your hard drive? You can, of course, do it in Windows, but you can also do ...

Discover More

Can't Save Edited Document

Each day of using Word is filled with opening documents, editing them, and then saving those changes to disk. So it can ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is 2 + 2?

2012-02-12 09:07:25

AlanCannon

There is another down side to using any non-standard file extension. You will not be able to open the file by double clicking on it in an Explorer window unless you first add the association of that custom extension with the application.


This Site

Got a version of Word that uses the menu interface (Word 97, Word 2000, Word 2002, or Word 2003)? This site is for you! If you use a later version of Word, visit our WordTips site focusing on the ribbon interface.

Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.