How to Open a JSON

By Aaron Parson

Short for JavaScript Object Notation, JSON files contain data in a format designed for easy reading by both humans and computer programs, similar to formats such as XML. Some programs store data in JSON files internally, and don't require you to manually open the file. If you do need to read a JSON file, use any regular text editor or a specialized JSON editor. For JSON bookmark backup files, use the "Import and Backup" feature in Firefox.

Reading a JSON File

Even though JSON files have a specific formatting style, the files themselves contain only regular text data, so you can open a JSON file using Notepad. Notepad runs slowly when opening large files however, so use WordPad for any JSON file over a few hundred kilobytes. Windows does not automatically associate JSON files with a text editor, so use the editor's "Open" dialog box and set the file type to "All Documents" or "All Files." Alternatively, download a dedicated JSON editor or use a Web viewer. These utilities mark the formatting with different colors to improve legibility (links in Resources).

Firefox Bookmark Backups

Mozilla Firefox uses JSON files for its automatic and manual bookmark list backups. Press "Control-Shift-B" in Firefox to display the Library window, and then click "Import and Backup." Select "Restore" to see a list of recent automatic backups. To manually select another JSON file, click "Choose File." This process overwrites all current bookmarks, and only works with JSON backups. Exported bookmark lists use HTML files instead, which you can import with the "Import Bookmarks from HTML" option.