How to Show File Extension in File Explorer on Windows 11

File list in folder

Easily identify the type of a file by enabling file extension to show next to the file name in File Explorer on Windows 11.

File extensions allow any operating system to recognize a file and execute it with a suitable program already installed. However, since the majority of non-tech people are not much concerned with what file type are they using, Microsoft Windows doesn’t display the extensions for any file.

However, from a security standpoint, it is a good practice to always check the extension of a downloaded file from the web before executing it to safeguard your computer from malware or ransomware attacks (For instance, PDFs and image file formats are embedded with viruses and are usually of .EXE extensions).

Apart from security, if you are switching to Windows operating system from a different one (Linux or macOS). The display of file extensions might also help you get acquainted with file types the operating system uses faster.

Different Ways to Show File Extension in File Explorer

There are multiple ways to show file extension in File Explorer on Windows 11, and you can choose whichever one suits you better from the listed options.

  • Using File Explorer Command Bar
  • Using File Explorer Options
  • Adding a Column Header
  • Using The Registry Editor
  • Using a Batch File

Enable File Name Extensions from the Command Bar

This is hands down one of the most convenient ways to show file extensions in File Explorer on Windows 11.

First, launch the File Explorer by clicking on the ‘This PC’ icon present on the desktop of your PC. Alternatively, you can also press the Windows + E shortcut on your keyboard to open it.

Then, click on the ‘Layout and view options’ icon present on the File Explorer ribbon.

Now, hover over the ‘Show’ option present on the overlay menu and click on the ‘File name extensions’ option to show the file extensions.

That’s just it, you will now be able to see file extensions on all the files present on your PC.


Unhide File Name Extensions from Folder Options in File Explorer

Though the method requires you a few more clicks than the previous one. However, if you need to change multiple settings at once for the File Explorer, this is the one to go.

To do so, first launch the File Explorer using the ‘This PC’ icon or using the Windows+E keyboard shortcut.

Then, click on the ellipsis (three horizontal dots) present on the File Explorer ribbon. Next, click on the ‘Options’ option from the overlay menu.

This will open a ‘Folder Options’ window on your screen.

Now, click on the ‘View’ tab from the Folder Options window.

Then, locate ‘Hide extensions for known file types’ listed under the ‘Advanced settings:’ section on the window and click on the checkbox preceding the option to UNCHECK it. Then, click on the ‘Apply’ button to apply the changes and click ‘OK’ to close the ‘Folder Options’ window.

File extensions will now be visible on your Windows PC.


Add File Type Column in File Explorer

Adding a column header works differently than all the other methods. While all the other methods show you the extensions of the file along with the name of the file, adding a column header will display the type of file in a separate column altogether in the File Explorer of your Windows PC.

People might choose this option just for the aesthetics as this method does not append your file name with extensions while also providing you the crucial information right on your screen.

Note: ‘Adding a column header’ would not be able to show you file extensions outside the File Explorer on your Windows 11 PC. While all the other methods will be able to show you file extensions on your Desktop as well.

To do so, navigate to your preferred folder using File Explorer on your Windows PC.

Then, right-click on the ‘Header Bar’ situated right under the ‘Address bar’ in the File Explorer. Then, click on the ‘Type’ option from the overlay menu to display the ‘Type’ column.

After that, you will be able to see the file extensions for each of the files in a separate column on your screen.

Note: For some files, instead of extensions the column will display types. For instance, .EXE files will be displayed as ‘Application’.

Notice the file extensions in the column

Since this method does not display each and every file extension. It is best suited for users already accustomed to the Windows system and having some knowledge regarding the extensions and their respective types.


Enable File Extension from Registry Editor

If for some reason none of the above-mentioned options are working for you and you are not able to see file extensions on your Windows PC, Registry Editor is your best shot.

To open Registry Editor, click on the ‘Search’ icon present on your taskbar.

Then, type Registry Editor in the search area and then click on the ‘Registry Editor’ app from the search results.

Alternatively, you can also press the Windows+R keyboard shortcut to bring up the ‘Run’ utility. Then type regedit and click ‘OK’ to open the Registry Editor on your PC.

Once the Registry Editor window opens, navigate to the following directory. You can also type or copy and paste the following path in the Registry Editor address bar:

Computer\HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Advanced

Then, locate and double-click ‘HideFileExt’ from the right section of the Registry Editor window.

After that, change the ‘Value data:’ field to ‘0’ to show the file extensions and click ‘OK’ to confirm. If you ever need to hide the file extension, change the ‘Value data:’ field to ‘1’.

Note: After changing the value for the ‘HideFileExt’ registry file, you might need to restart your PC to let the changes take effect.


Write a Batch Script to Hide or Unhide File Extensions

Creating a batch file for showing file extension on your Windows PC is really easy. You can use a batch file when you have to show file extensions on multiple PCs or you can create one for your not-so-tech-savvy friends and family members.

To create a batch file, right-click on the desktop and hover the ‘New item’ option present on the context menu. Then, click on the ‘Text Document’ option.

Then, give an appropriate name to the file which can help you identify the file later as well, and hit Enter.

After that, double-click on the file to open.

Now, type or paste the following command in the text file to show the file extensions.

Tip: You can also type/paste the following commands in the ‘Command Prompt’ of your Windows PC and it will do the job for you.

reg add HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Advanced /v HideFileExt /t REG_DWORD /d 0 /f

In case if you want to hide the file extension on your Windows PC, type or paste the following text.

reg add HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Advanced /v HideFileExt /t REG_DWORD /d 1 /f

After that, click on the ‘File’ tab from the menu bar present on the text file window. Then, select the ‘Save As…’ option from the overlay menu. Alternatively, you can also press the Ctrl+Shift+S keyboard shortcut.

Now, change the extension of the file from .TXT to .BAT extension (<Your filename>.BAT). Then, select ‘All Files’ by clicking on the dropdown menu adjacent to the ‘Save as type:’ label. Then click on the ‘Save’ button present on the ‘Save As’ window.

Your batch file will now be created in your chosen directory.

You can now transfer the file to another Windows PC and execute the file by double-clicking on it.


Well, folks you now know how to show file extension in File Explorer on Windows 11 and you will also be able to make a batch file for people who cannot.