What is a .DAT File – How to Open DAT Format – Programs

dat file

  • File type: Generic Data
  • Extension: .DAT
  • Format: open source


What is a DAT file

The DAT file  is a generic data format. A number of distinct applications generate it. Usually the same program that created it. An example of this is the famous winmail.dat

Dat files can store information in either binary or text format with the text-based data file. You can view it with any standard text editing program. The structure of this file type is not from any specific outline due to its broad range of uses.

This format allows its access to the specific files it is associated with. Any attempt to open this file by any other application would result in an access error.

Moreover, this file type is virtually useless without the application it is identified with. The best and easiest way to identify the application is to contact its author.

The use of trial and error method is completely out of the question. Due to the wide usage of this particular type in the computer industry.


How to Open DAT Files in Windows


To do it you need special software, an opener. A dat reader, viewer, editor or converter. Download and use it

  1. Double click on your .dat file or right click on it
  2. Select the option open with
  3. Select your program from the list and click on it
  4. If you don’t have a specific program associated you will have to download and install it.
  5. Check the programs in the following section.

how to open dat files

Programs that open and convert DAT files in Windows

These are some readers, viewers, editors and converters for these dat files.

  • Original Program that created the files and Text Editors
  • the MapInfo,
  • Runtime GetDataBack,
  • Ontrack EasyRecovery,
  • SoftVelocity Clarion,
  • Nullsoft Winamp,
  • Nero ShowTime,
  • Corel WordPerfect,
  • Microsoft Visual Studio software.
  • Notepad
  • Allegro
  • AVG
  • Chuzzle
  • Clarion
  • Daqarta
  • Easyrecovery
  • Guild Wars
  • Inno setup
  • Internet explorer
  • Labview
  • Mapinfo
  • Nero
  • Norton disk doctor
  • Pestpatrol
  • Tomtom
  • Wordperfect


Problems opening .DAT files?

These files should be opened in the application that created them. So finding out which computer program made the one you intend opening is important.

Note that not all DAT files can be extracted and modified using basic computer programs. For example, those DAT files for your Mac or Windows computer systems that are used for storing language codecs.


On your Windows and Mac OS


  • Step#1: Find out which Windows OS computer program made it.

Before you can open DAT files on your Windows PC, you need to know which program is responsible for creating it.

  • Step#2: Launch the program.

Simply click the program once or double-click the program icon in order to launch it.

  • Step#3: Click on “File” drop-down menu.

The “File” drop-down menu can be located at the top left hand side of the application’s window.

  • Step#4: Click on “Open”.

From the “File” drop-down menu, click on the “Open” option. This should launch a “File Explorer” window.


For Mac PC


In the case of your Mac PC, drag your selected DAT file and drop it in the application’s window. Note that with your Mac PC, the selected will not be viewed as a readable file.

So you would not be able to open your selected data file by simply going to the “File” menu of the program and clicking “Open”, as it is the case with a Windows PC.


  • Reveal “All Files” on “File Explorer”.

To reveal every files on “File Explorer” and that includes the one you want to open, you should click on the box labelled “file type”.

This can be seen on the right side of the text field titled “Name”. A drop-down menu will then emerge and you simply have to click on the “All Files” option.


  • Click to select it.

Locate the DAT file you want to open and to select the file, just click on it once.


  • Click on “Open”.

The “Open” option can be seen at the bottom right hand side of the program’s window. Clicking this option will lead to the opening of your selected.


  • Check to see if the DAT file can be viewed.

You need confirmation that you can view it. There are instances where an alert notification pops up, suggesting that the contents of your selected one are not compatible with the DAT file extension.

If this occurs, just click on the “Yes” or “Open” option in order to open your selected DAT file.


  • Have the extension of the selected DAT file changed.

You can save yourself the stress of constantly needing to drag a selected DAT file to their respective programs in order to get them opened.

All you need to do is to have the extension changed. Nevertheless, keep note of the precise extension for the DAT file to avoid file breaking.


On Mac

These are the steps to do it on MAC. Your DAT file should be selected.

  1. Click on the “File” drop-down menu and then click on “Get Info”.
  2. You will see a triangle shaped object beside the category titled “Name & Extension”, click on this triangle shaped object.
  3. A “Hide Extension” check-box appears. You can uncheck this box.
  4. Change the DAT extension using the new name of your selected file’s extension.
  5. Click “Return” first followed by “Use . extension” once it pops up.


One of the more popular variants of the DAT file extension is the INDEX.DAT. It is associated with the shield attributes that focus on storing details. It is about the allowed websites visited by the user as well as saving information on his surfing history.
Also, it is in properties in the same folder or directory as its application.
The DAT files extension has relation with video streams using the MPEG  formats. In this context, the DAT format usually contains information on the type of video contained. Its name, and its length.
This data is in binary form. And it is not readable even if the files can be opened with a standard text editor.
This generic data format is an integral part of some applications. They may not function properly without its presence.

How to open dat files in Excel

There are two options to use excel sotware.


From Excel

  1. Go to menu File
  2. Select open
  3. Search for your .dat file
  4. Then Confirm
  5. View and edit it.
excel and .dat files

From file explorer

  1. Locate your .dat file
  2. Double click on it
  3. On the open with programs select microsoft excel
  4. Confirm
  5. The program will start.


How to create

You can create dat files manually from text editors like notepad or spreadsheets like microsoft excel.