My Format Factory
My Format Factory


The TXT file format, ending in .txt, is a file format that is in plain text. It is one of the two kinds of computer files in the computer file system (the other being the binary file) on which the interpretation and the display of the stored information depend. The text file is interpreted as containing only characters from a recognized character set.

The character set contained in the text file is the ASCII (American Standard Code for Information Interchange). There are 128 characters in the standard ASCII and each byte in the text file contains one character that conforms to the standard ASCII character set. Often some control characters like tabs, line feeds and carriage returns without any embedded information such as font information, hyperlinks or inline images, are also contained in the text file. Sometimes the files may be encoded by encoding such as SJIS or Unicode. Text files can also have suffixes indicating encodings, which include Unicode UTF-8, Unicode UTF-16, and ISO 8859.

Plain texts, or .txt files, are recognized by all word processors and text editors, and are often used for special purposes or in situations where formatted text is unsuitable. They are generally opened in Notepad, WordPad, or any other text editor. The text files are also the most basic file format used to transfer data on the Internet as it is supported by almost all applications on most platforms.

The only weakness of a .text file is that problems often occur in rendering the text when transferring files between computers which use different coded character sets. For example, the US ASCII contains 128 representations of characters, whereas more than 250 characters are needed to correctly represent European languages based on the Roman alphabet. Also, the Macintosh stores a carriage return character (ASCII code 13) at the end of each line, whereas Unix uses a linefeed character (ASCII code 10) to denote the end of the line. DOS does it a third way using both a linefeed and carriage return character at the end of lines. These differences often make transferring of plain text files between different systems difficult.

Still, .txt remains the most common file name extension used for plain text files.

Wit of the day

A computer is like an Old Testament god, with a lot of rules and no mercy.
Joseph Campbell, U.S. mythologist