Opening a File
Windows Explorer can be used to open a file that is saved on your computer or other storage media. In order for a file to open, however, an application that can read the file must be installed on the computer. For example, if you have a file that is in Microsoft Word (“Word”) format (with a .docx file extension), the computer that you are attempting to open the file with must have either Microsoft Word or another program that can read Word files installed on it.
You can typically tell if your computer has a program that is able to open a file by the way the icon looks in Windows Explorer. If Windows Explorer determines that the computer has a program that can open a particular file, the icon used to represent the file will show the program that will be used. If Windows Explorer cannot find a program with which to open a particular file, the icon is shown as a blank page. Additionally, it will also display the file extension of the file.
If you determine that your computer has the software necessary to open a file, you simply need to double-click on it. Doing so will first start-up (launch) the program that is needed and then open the file within that program.
If your computer does not have the software necessary to open a file, you will be prompted to search for compatible software. Doing so would typically require you to download or purchase the necessary program and install it on your computer.
The example demonstrates three files, two of which have associated programs installed on the computer.
We can tell from the screenshot that the “Assignment2” file is a Microsoft Word document, the “Data and Charts for Assignment 2” file is an Excel spreadsheet and the “Project Plan.mpp” file is not associated with any program that is installed on the computer. In this case, the file is a Microsoft Project file (in order to be able to work with the file, a program called Microsoft Project would need to be installed on the computer).
To open a file, you would double click on the file icon. For example, double clicking on the “Data and Charts for Assignment 2” icon would first launch Microsoft Excel and then open the spreadsheet.