Help for Files

[This page was last updated 2013.6.25.a]

There are a lot of audio (sound), graphic (pictures, art) and video (moving pictures) files accessible through the Internet. Not all of them will be suitable for use in PowerPoint, Word, web site and other uses, however.
Remember: students and faculty are responsible for observing copyright laws regarding all files created, copied or downloaded from copyrighted sources.
Fair Use normally includes citing the source of the material properly, and using it only for one student’s classwork.

The information below is useful for Windows and Microsoft products. Other products, such as OpenOffice and WordPerfect, may be able to use some or all of these formats, or other formats.

File formats transferred from other computers

When saving files on other computers to bring to the library, always save your files as the latest version of Microsoft Office products offered (with a .doc extension) or as a Rich Text File (.rtf extension), no matter what program you are using.

Save as Word Document

In the example above, you must choose a recent version of Microsoft Word from the dropdown menu of formats, to save a word processing document (usually the 97-2003 formats are safest). If this was a spreadsheet, you would choose the 97-2003 version of Excel, or choose the 97-2003 version of PowerPoint for a presentation.

Files saved in Microsoft Works should always be saved as Microsoft Office or RTF files, and NOT .wps extensions, as some Works files do not convert properly to Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.

Information on converting and OxygenOffice formats to Microsoft formats is here.

Audio and Video File Formats for Microsoft Office: PowerPoint, Word, etc.

Files ending in these extensions can be used directly or by Windows Media Player:


AIFF Audio Interchange File Format (sound)
.asf Windows audio
.asx Windows audio
.avi Windows video Audio Video Interleave
.au AU sound file
.cda compact disc audio (sound), the file on a store-bought music/spoken compact disc
.ivf intel Indeo video format
.m3u MPEG version 3 audio
.mpeg Moving Picture Experts Group
.mpg MPEG
.m1v MPEG video
.mid Musical Instrument Digital Interface MIDI
.midi MIDI audio, often used for synthesized electronic music
.mp2 MPEG audio
.mp3 MPEG version 3 audio, currently most popular form of computer music/sound files
.mpa MPEG audio
.mpe MPEG audio
.mp2v MPEG video for DVD
mpv2 MPEG video
.rmi MIDI audio
.snd AU audio
.vob DVD video
.wav audio file, commonly used for recording from various sources
.wax Windows audio
.wm Windows media
.wma Windows audio
.wmd Windows audio
.wmv Windows video
.wvx Windows video
.wmp Windows media
.wmx Windows media

Real Player files warning

Real Player files end in .rm and .ram and may not actually be music files. If the size of the file is only 1K, then this is actually a link to a site on the web where the file can be heard, not the music itself. Real Player software is required to use these files, and these files are NOT intended to work with other products. Files would have to be converted first in order to be used with Windows Media Player. Since Real Player may not be available on some computers on campus, it’s usually a good idea to not use .rm and .ram files in your presentations and anything to be turned in to your instructor.

An alternative to using the Real software is called Real Alternative.

Graphics Files You Can Use

Graphics (photographs, art, logos, etc.) should be saved in a format that can be handled or converted for use in other programs. While there are many formats, the following are considered to be the most often encountered formats that students are likely to use. Depending on the specific format, other files might be convertable in some programs. If given a choice, save in one of the following formats, depending on final intended use:

Special Note for Web Site Creators: only the .gif, the .jpg and the .png formats are sure to work with all the popular web browsers. Convert any other graphic format to one of these three before using it on a web site.


.bmp Windows BitMaP format – sometimes used with Web Publisher, often used for wallpaper
.cgm Web Computer Graphics Metafile
.emf Windows Enhanced Metafile, sometimes used with Web Publisher
.eps Encapsulated PostScript, specialized for certain programs, not used on web pages
.gif Graphics Interchange Format, still and motion, often used on web pages
.pcx PC Paintbrush, not used on web pages
.wpg WordPerfect Graphic, need to convert in any other software, not used on web pages
Joint Photographic Experts Group format, often used on web pages
.png Portable Network Graphics, used on web pages
.svg Scalable Vector Graphics
Tagged-Image File Format, most useful for changing sizes and editing, not used on web pages
.wmf Windows Metafile, used with Web Publisher

Converting File Formats

Remember that the original program used to create a file often can save it in a number of different formats. When saving the file, the box under the name of the file is the format type. This usually has a drop-down menu with choices of formats on it. The default format for any program may not be usable by any other program, but you may have the option to save the file as something else that can travel between programs.

Information on converting and OxygenOffice files to Microsoft formats is here.

The latest posts on this topic are available by clicking here.

Saving an Entire PowerPoint presentation with viewer

Under the File menu is an option Package for CD … or in 2007, under Save As, select PowerPoint Show. One of these will save everything so your presentation can run without having to have PowerPoint (or a compatible version of it) on the computer.

The default settings will create a CD with the currently open presentation and all
linked files plus a Powerpoint viewer so you can play the presentation on any computer
with Windows ME or later
. Or, you can save it to your R: drive and call it up from anywhere on campus.

Even though you’re not saving to a CD it includes all the same files as you’d get on a
‘Copy to CD’ including, importantly the Autostart files. This means you can save a
package to the root folder of a USB drive – so when you plug it into another computer it should start playing automatically

Some of the options in some versions of PowerPoint:

‘Copy to Folder’ won’t let you save over an existingpresentation package in the same location, which often happens as you revise apresentation and want to update the package version. Instead of a prompt to overwrite (as is usual in Office) you get a blunt notice to save in another location. The alternativeis to delete the package manually then save the package to the now empty folder.

The Autoplay settings are controlled under the Options button. You can choose to install
the Powerpoint viewer or not and what to do on Autostart.

There are also options to include linked files (the default is yes and you normally should leave it that way) and embed fonts (useful and probably best to turn this on just in case it’s

Online Storage Software & Links

Putting your data online means opening up your information to a third party. Even if the company is honest, it could have legal action taken against it to reveal your information. Use online software at your own risk.

While on campus (and only while on campus) you have access to your own section of the campus drive called the “R drive”.  Instructions on using it are here.

Off-campus, there are a number of online sites that will store your data, often a limited amount for free and more for a rising scale of charges.

The latest posts on this topic are available by clicking here.

Open Document Format (ODF) Software & Links

So you’ve gotten something with an unusual suffix, such as .odf instead of .doc. This is an Open Document Format file, which is a non-proprietary format for documents. This is the new approved standard format for long-lasting documents, which is not dependent on one company’s format or software.

Popular office suites that uses ODF formats (among others) are LibreOffice and OpenOffice.

Microsoft Office has converters for Word, Excel and PowerPoint for the ODF formats available, but these may not be available on campus computers.

LibreOffice and OpenOffice, which are freeware, can handle them as well as the OpenOffice formats.
You can open these documents in odf and resave them in Microsoft formats for use on campus.

ODF documents

Here’s a list of the ODF file extensions (courtesy of Office Watch). If you remember that they start with .OD (for documents) or .OT (for templates) then that’s probably enough to help you if an unknown file type arrives.

If the suffix begins with .o or .s, then it may be an OpenOffice document.

LibreOffice and OpenOffice can handle both ODF and several other formats in most cases, and re-save them in Microsoft Office formats.


Used for MS Office ODF OpenOffice
Text .odt
Text Word .doc .odt .sxw
Database Access .mdb odb. .odb
Spreadsheet Excel .xls .ods .sxc
Presentation Powerpoint .ppt .odp .sxi
Drawing .odg .sxd
Chart .odc .sxd
Formula .odf .sxm
Image .odi
Master Document .odm


Used for template MS Office ODF OpenOffice
Text template .ott .stw
Spreadsheet template .ots .stc
Presentation template .otp .sti
Drawing template .otg .std
Chart template .otc
Formula template .otf
Image template .oti
Web page template .oth

Office Watch has an excellent article explaining ODF in detail.

File Viewers, Formats, Etc. Software & Links

  • Copernic Desktop Search Yes, there are other ways to search your computer for files, graphics, music, etc. (Windows has a built-in Search, Google and others have search engines) but Copernic is (a) free (basic edition), and (b) finds the non-Microsoft files and such — like your WordPerfect and Quicken and other non-Microsoft product files.
  • File Formats You Can Use
  • IrfanView freeware to view graphics and media files without loading a slower, more expensive graphics editing program. Recommended by PC Annoyances
  • Convert your file to another format for free: five image formats, 14 document formats, 11 video and nine audio. Locate the file on your computer, select the output format, and upload the file to the Zamzar server. Zamzar will email the resulting converted file to you. Be wary of sending confidential information in files, however. Recommended by Gizmo’s Tech Support Alert.

From ‘Gizmo’ Richards at TechSupportAlert comes this advice: How to Add Notes to Your Files and Folders which covers in detail the way to add comments to files using a built-in but little-used feature.

“When searching for a particular file you have commented, remember, you can sort on the Comments field in Internet Explorer by clicking on the title, just like any other field. Sorting will group all your annotated files together, which makes them easier to scan when looking for a particular file. Sorted comments are also in alphabetical order, so try to annotate systematically using meaningful keywords at the start of your comments. Many desktop search programs index the Comments field. That makes searching your comments even easier.” Click here for the complete article.

“Finally, you can comment your files even more quickly by using the free HobComment Explorer Extension utility that makes the Comments field available directly off the context menu when you right click a file. You can get HobComment from here: (14KB) (12KB) <= XP users may need this as well.

“R” Drive for On-Campus Use

While on campus, you have extra storage space that you can reach from any computer on campus to which you can login. (For security reasons, you cannot access this from off-campus.)

  1. You can minimize this browser window, and see your desktop (the opening screen).
  2. At the desktop, click on My Computer.
  3. Click on the icon with the little pipe thing under it. It should say something like “yourloginname on ‘” and some other stuff, and at the bottom of the description is (R:).
    This is your allotted space on the campus R:\ hard drive.

The R:\ drive is where you can store files that are too large to email, or save to a diskette, or that you don’t have time to save to anything else. It is your private space on the campus system, no matter which computer you logged into when you sat down. (For security reasons, you cannot access this from off-campus.)

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