How to open a dat file in windows 10 and MAC

dat file

  • File type: Generic Data file, sometimes plain text based others binary
  • Extension: .DAT
  • Format: open source


What is a .DAT file

The DAT file  is a generic data format that usually not meant to be opened. A number of distinct applications generate a file with the dat extension. Usually the same program that created the file. An example of this is the famous winmail.dat files from and email attachment in microsoft exchange.

Dat 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.



.dat file icon

The File extension dat can contain any kind of text, images or any kind of data whatsoever. It is created by some software as a backup so that some things can be restored. It is a basic format extension which is in a lot of computer programs.

It can only be viewed through a text editor or in the software which created it in the first place.

The format in which it contains contents can be both binary and text. Some of these can’t be opened by the user and are just there for use.

These files are useful and contain most of the important stuff of a software or program, they can also be dangerous for your system.

Some viruses can usethis format to get in your system as the anti-virus programs just read the viruses as normal .dat.  As in reality they are viruses just trying to reach your system’s heart.  Keep your antivirus programs updated and with exclusive functions so that your system can be safe from fake filenames.


How to Open DAT Files in Windows


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

  1. Double click on your 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.


Programs that open and convert DAT files in Windows

These are some readers, viewers, editors and converters for these 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
  • Microsoft excel
  • R
  • Python


Problems opening or can’t open?

These files should be opened in the application that created them. So to open the dat file you must find out which computer program made the one you intend opening.

Note that not all DAT files can be extracted and modified using basic computer programs. For example, those DAT 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. Select your .dat and confirm.


For Mac PC


In the case of your Mac PC, drag your selected 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  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  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.


  • Have the extension of the selected file changed.

You can save yourself the stress of constantly needing to drag a selected .DAT 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 to avoid file breaking.


On Mac

These are the steps to do it on MAC. Your 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.

What is the Index.dat

One of the more popular variants of the DAT 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
  4. Then Confirm
  5. View and edit it.
excel and .dat files

From file explorer

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


How to open dat files in Microsoft Word

If you want to view it in MS-Word then you can. But if your .dat consists of pictures and videos then word would not be an option for you.

But if it is just texting then you can go for MS-Word. If it does not open because of the graphic content in the dat then you can always go for Notepad.

Notepad will exclude all the graphics content and just show the HTML text content which you can copy paste in a word document. Some of the programs that open these formats are:

  • File Viewer plus
  • Nero 2018
  • Video LAN VLC Media player
  • VCD Gear
  • MPlayer
  • Eltima Elmedia Player
  • CyberLink PowerProducer

Many of the these files format on your computer can also be just rubbish and without any use there. If any of these are unexpected and you feel like they shouldn’t have been created in the first place then do not open.

Opening up an unrecognized one can be dangerous as it is used by different viruses to get to your system which can make your system infected with viruses.

.Dat files can be used to store any kind of data depending on what software is creating these.

Binary and text are the formats they can be found in. They can even contain graphics such as images and videos which can’t normally be opened through Word or Notepad.


How to create

You can create dat manually from text editors like notepad or spreadsheets like microsoft excel. Other types are automatically created by the programs we mentioned in these article.