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What is an AZW File?


Question: What is an AZW File?

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

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

Answer: A file with the AZW file extension is a Kindle eBook Format file.

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

How To Open an AZW File

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

AZW files can be opened and viewed with Amazon's Kindle eBook reader device. Additionally, Amazon offers free Kindle reading apps for Windows and Mac PCs, as well as most popular tablets and smartphones. You can also open an AZW file from Amazon's free Kindle Cloud Reader from any web browser on any platform.

Calibre and Amazon's free Kindle Previewer are two more AZW viewing options

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

If you find that an application on your PC does try to open the AZW file but it's the wrong application or if you would rather have another installed program open AZW 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 AZW File

There are three main ways to attempt to convert an AZW file to another file type:

The first option involving opening the AZW file in its native program is preferable because it's both easier and will probably result in a more accurate file conversion. However, unless you're the author of the AZW ebook in question, that's probably not too helpful.

Your best bet for converting an AZW file to some other ebook or document format is Calibre, the second option above. Please know, however, that most AZW files are copy protected by Amazon's DRM, meaning that Calibre won't be able to open or convert them. There are ways to remove the DRM protection from AZW files but considering the legal (depending on where you live) and ethical concerns surrounding DRM removal, I'm not comfortable linking you directly to any of these methods.

Finally, if Calibre doesn't work out for some reason, a third-party file conversion tool that supports the AZW format (the third option) could be useful.

Looking to convert popular document and graphics formats to Amazon's AZW format? Amazon provides a service to do just this called the Kindle Personal Documents Service. Calibre is also a great tool for converting to AZW.

The Amazon Kindle also natively supports various image and eBook file formats. Which non-AZW formats yours supports depends on which Kindle you have (Kindle, Kindle Fire, Kindle Paperwhite, Kindle Touch, Kindle Keyboard, etc.). You can find out more on the appropriate help page for your Kindle at Amazon's Kindle Support or in your device's manual, which you can view here.

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

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