What data a .DAT file includes and the format it takes, can be almost endless in possibility. DAT files can contain anything from video to audio to PDF information. As such, you’re likely to see DAT files produced by programmes of all shapes and sizes. Whether it’s on your desktop or your mobile, a video game or an email attachment, DAT files are everywhere.
That said, many DAT files typically contain text, so don’t be surprised if most of the DAT files you happen to see are text-based.
Discover more document file types.
Pros and cons of DAT files.
- Flexible file formatting. Able to contain information of almost any kind, DAT files are a great way for programmes to store anything they need.
- Easy to identify. There’s no mistaking a DAT file. Even if the file contains a PDF or MP3, you won’t have to sift through your DAT files while looking for a lost document.
- Automatically created. If you’ve ever had trouble selecting the right file type, compatibility or knowing where to save a file, .DAT has you covered. Automatically created by programmes, you don’t need to worry about how they’re made or where they’re saved.
- Programme-reliant. As a file that’s interpreted by a specific programme, to get the most out of the data you’ll need to retain and utilise the programme that built it.
- Uncertain contents. The contents of a DAT file aren’t always obvious. Though you can often open them in notepad or similar programmes, you won’t know what’s inside until you read the .DAT file.
- Not always user-friendly. DAT files are purposely designed by specific programmes, which means it can be harder to access the contents of the file.
How to open a DAT file.
If you want to open a DAT file, you’ll need to first understand what kind of data is inside the file.
The vast majority contain plain text and can usually be opened with a text editing programme such as Notepad or TextEdit. If that option isn’t available, you can right click the file and select ‘Open with’, before choosing a specific programme.
If the data inside your DAT file is audio or video, then select a media player to open your file. If the information is in PDF format, then Adobe Acrobat will be able to open the file.
How to create and edit a DAT file.
Creating a DAT file is easy with Notepad. Simply:
1. Type in your desired text.
2. Head to ‘File’ followed by ‘Save As’.
3. Choose ‘All Files’ as the file type and add the ‘.dat’ on the end of the file name before pressing save.
To edit a DAT file, either open one you’ve created or one made by a programme and edit it as you would any other file. Just make sure you use an appropriate programme to do so.
How to convert a DAT file to PDF
If the DAT file you want to open contains a PDF, you should be able to open it using Adobe Acrobat. If it doesn’t contain PDF data, there’s still the option of converting your DAT file to a PDF. For example, if you first convert your DAT file to Word format, you can then convert from Word to PDF using Adobe’s free online converter.
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