1. Technology
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

What is a 7Z File?


Question: What is a 7Z File?

Did you find a 7Z file on your computer and wonder what program should open it? Maybe someone emailed you a 7Z file but you're not sure how to use it. Perhaps you tried to open the 7Z file but Windows told you that it could not open it.

Before you can open a 7Z file (assuming it's even a file format that's intended to be viewed or edited), you'll need to determine what kind of file the .7Z file extension refers to.

Answer: A file with the 7Z file extension is a 7-Zip Compressed file.

Other types of files may also use the 7Z file extension. If you know of any additional file formats that use the .7Z extension, please let me know so I can update this information.

How To Open a 7Z File

The easiest way to open a 7Z file is to double-click on it and let your PC decide which default application should open the file. If no program opens the 7Z file then you probably don't have an application installed that can view and/or edit 7Z files.

Warning: Take great care when opening executable file formats received via email or downloaded from websites you're not familiar with. See my List of Executable File Extensions for a listing of file extensions to avoid and why.

7Z files can be opened with a growing number of compression/decompression programs, but the free 7-Zip tool, created by the makers of the 7Z format, is probably your best bet. With 7-Zip, you can extract (open) and even create your own 7Z files. On a Mac, Keka or The Unarchiver, both free, are great choices for extracting 7Z files.

Here's a List of Free File Extractors if you'd like to use a different tool. PeaZip is another favorite that supports extraction from, and compression to, the 7Z format.

If you know anything else useful about 7Z files, please let me know so I can update this page.

Tip: Use Notepad or another text editor to open the 7Z file. Many files are text-only files meaning no matter the file extension, a text editor may be able to properly display the file's contents. This may or may not be the case with 7Z files but it's worth a try.

If you find that an application on your PC does try to open the 7Z file but it's the wrong application or if you would rather have another installed program open 7Z files, see my How To Change the Default Program for a Specific File Extension guide for making that change in Windows.

How To Convert a 7Z File

There are two main ways to attempt to convert a 7Z file to another file type:

The first option involving opening the 7Z file in its native program is preferable because it's both easier and will probably result in a more accurate file conversion. Of course if you don't have a program that opens 7Z files, a third-party file conversion tool (the second option) could be very useful.

Important: You cannot usually change a file extension (like the 7Z file extension) to one that your computer recognizes and expect the newly renamed file to be usable. An actual file format conversion using one of the methods described above must take place in most cases.

Still Having Problems Opening or Using a 7Z File?

See Get More Help for information about contacting me on social networks or via email, posting on tech support forums, and more. Let me know what kinds of problems you're having with opening or using the 7Z file and I'll see what I can do to help.

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.