How to Show File Extensions in Windows 11: A Step-by-Step Guide

Showing file extensions in Windows 11 is a simple process that can help you better understand the types of files you’re working with. By default, Windows 11 hides file extensions to keep things looking clean, but it’s easy to change this setting. Here’s a quick overview: open File Explorer, click on ‘View’ on the menu bar, then ‘Show’, and finally, check the box next to ‘File name extensions’.

Step by Step Tutorial: How to Show File Extensions in Windows 11

Before we dive into the steps, let’s understand why you might want to see file extensions. File extensions, such as .txt, .jpg, or .exe, tell you what type of file you’re dealing with. This can be important for security, organization, and troubleshooting. Now, let’s get those extensions visible.

Step 1: Open File Explorer

Click on the folder icon on your taskbar to open File Explorer.

File Explorer is your gateway to managing files and folders on your Windows 11 computer. It’s where all your documents, pictures, and other files are stored.

Step 2: Click on ‘View’ on the menu bar

At the top of the File Explorer window, you’ll see a menu bar with options like ‘File’, ‘Edit’, and ‘View’. Click on ‘View’.

The ‘View’ tab offers various options to customize how you see files and folders, including how items are displayed and sorted.

Step 3: Click on ‘Show’

Under the ‘View’ tab, you’ll find an option called ‘Show’. Click on it to reveal a dropdown menu.

The ‘Show’ dropdown menu gives you more specific settings that you can tweak to change your File Explorer experience.

Step 4: Check the box next to ‘File name extensions’

In the dropdown menu, you’ll see a checkbox labeled ‘File name extensions’. Click on it to put a checkmark there.

Once the box is checked, file extensions will become visible for all files. This change is immediate, and you can reverse it at any time by unchecking the box.

After you complete these steps, all files in Windows 11 will display their full names, including the extensions. You’ll be able to see at a glance whether a file is a Word document, an image, a video, or something else.

Tips: File Extensions in Windows 11

  • File extensions are crucial for identifying file types, especially when troubleshooting or dealing with unknown files.
  • Be cautious with files that have extensions like .exe or .bat, as these can execute commands on your computer.
  • If you’re sending files to others, keeping the extension visible ensures they know what type of file they’re receiving.
  • Some file types may have similar icons, so checking the extension is a reliable way to distinguish between them.
  • Custom file extensions can be created for specific applications, so if you see an unfamiliar extension, a quick web search can usually tell you which program it’s associated with.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are file extensions?

File extensions are the short sequences of characters after the dot in a file name that tell you what type of file it is.

File extensions are used by the operating system to determine which application should open a file. They also help users to easily identify the file format at a glance.

Why doesn’t Windows 11 show file extensions by default?

Microsoft has chosen to hide file extensions by default to create a cleaner look and to prevent less tech-savvy users from accidentally changing file names, which could cause programs to stop working correctly.

Can showing file extensions pose any security risk?

Not at all. In fact, showing file extensions can enhance security by helping you identify potentially harmful files, such as malware masquerading as harmless documents.

Will showing file extensions slow down my computer?

No, showing file extensions is simply a change in the display settings of File Explorer and has no impact on the performance of your computer.

Can I hide file extensions again after showing them?

Yes, you can easily hide the file extensions again by following the same steps and unchecking the ‘File name extensions’ box.


  1. Open File Explorer.
  2. Click on ‘View’ on the menu bar.
  3. Click on ‘Show’.
  4. Check the box next to ‘File name extensions’.


And that’s all there is to it! Showing file extensions in Windows 11 is a piece of cake once you know where to look. Why not take a moment now to try it out for yourself? It’s a small tweak that can make a big difference in how you interact with your files. Not only does it allow you to identify file types quickly, but it also adds an extra layer of security by helping you spot suspicious files. So, go ahead and give it a go, and enjoy the clarity and control of seeing all file details right there in front of you. If you ever change your mind, remember, it’s just as easy to hide them again. Happy file managing!

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