Using Your Own File Extensions

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated July 2, 2012)

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. ...

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