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What is an AAF File?


Question: What is an AAF File?

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

Before you can open an AAF 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 .AAF file extension refers to.

Answer: A file with the AAF file extension is an Advanced Authoring Format file.

An Advanced Authoring Format file is a file format that contains complex multimedia information like video and audio clips and metadata information for that content and project. The AAF format was developed by the Advanced Media Workflow Association.

Most video editing programs utilize proprietary formats for their project files. When multiple programs support the importing and exporting of AAF files, it's easy to move the working contents of a project from one application to another.

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

How To Open an AAF File

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

Several programs exist that are compatible with AAF files including Adobe Premiere Pro, Apple's Final Cut Pro, Avid's Media Composer (formerly Avid Xpress), Sony's Vegas Pro, and more. These programs use AAF files to import project information from another AAF supporting program or export it for use in another.

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

Tip: 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. However, I don't think this is the case with AAF files. At best, you might be able to view some metadata or file header information for the AAF file in a text editor but considering the multimedia components of this format, I highly doubt that a text editor will show you anything useful.

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

How To Convert an AAF File

There are two main ways to attempt to convert an AAF file to another file type:

The first option involving opening the AAF 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 AAF files, a third-party file conversion tool (the second option) could be very useful.

Important: You cannot usually change a file extension (like the AAF 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 an AAF 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 AAF file and I'll see what I can do to help.

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