How to Open .XML Files

By Brad Chacos

Several different programs use .XML files -- short for "extensible markup language" -- to maintain and swap raw data. The text-based files are relatively small in size and easily transferred, and they are commonly found on the Internet. So what does an .XML do, exactly? FileInfo.com likens them to a text version of a database, or specifically a "data file that uses tags to define objects and object attributes." You can open an .XML file and read its contents using either a Web browser or a standard text editor like Windows' built-in Notepad.

Step 1

Double-click on the .XML file. Your default Web browser opens and displays the raw text inside the file.

Step 2

Right-click on the .XML file and choose "Open With" if you want to alter the contents of the file.

Step 3

Select Notepad, or any other text editor, from the list of suggested programs. The .XML file opens, and you can alter its contents as desired.

Tips & Warnings

  • Basic XML files will only display in raw text.
  • Be cautious editing .XML files; the tag structure is strict, and if you insert an error, you may damage the file.