Using Your Own File Extensions

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated July 2, 2012)

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

Turning Off AutoFiltering

After you apply a filter to your data, you may wonder how to get rid of it so that you can once again see all your data. Use ...

Discover More

Highlighting Cells Containing Specific Text

If you want to highlight cells that contain certain characters, you can use the conditional formatting features of Excel to ...

Discover More

Capturing a Screen

Windows provides a way of "capturing" the image on the screen into the clipboard. You can then paste the image from the ...

Discover More

Learning Made Easy! Quickly teach yourself how to format, publish, and share your content using Word 2013. With Step by Step, you set the pace, building and practicing the skills you need, just when you need them! Check out Microsoft Word 2013 Step by Step today!

More WordTips (menu)

Can't Open a Word Document in Windows

Double-click on a Word document while using Windows Explorer, and the Word program should start with the document displayed. ...

Discover More

Removing All File Properties

Want to get rid of any properties you've created for a document? You can do so by using the short macro described in this ...

Discover More

Specifying a Location To Save Automatic Backup Files

When Word creates automatic backups of your documents, you may not like where Word stores them. This naturally leads to the ...

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 eight minus 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.