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Chapter 3. Customizing the Finder > Showing or Hiding File Extensions

Showing or Hiding File Extensions

A file extension is a three-letter suffix at the end of a document's file name that identifies the file type. For Windows operating system users, a file extension determines which application can open a file; the Mac doesn't use it. You might never have seen a document's file extension because your system might be set up to hide it. The file extension for simple text files is “.txt” (pronounced “dot t-x-t”), and many graphic files have the extension “.bmp” or “.jpg”. This means that the full name for a text file named Memo is Memo.txt. If you double-click a document whose file name ends with the three-letter extension “.txt,” Finder automatically opens the document with TextEdit, a word processing application. If you plan to exchange files with the Windows operating system, then show the file extensions, so Windows recognizes them.

Show or Hide File Extensions

Click the Finder menu, and then click Preferences.

Click Advanced.

Select or clear the Show All File Extensions check box.

Click the Close button.


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