Most often, the reason you can’t open an attachment is because your computer does not have a software program that can open that type of file or, your computer doesn’t know which program to use to open that type of file. Save the file to your desktop then follow the steps below.

Identify the Attached File Type. Usually the file name of an attachment indicates the type of file it is. For example, a file named A.GIF has a file extension of GIF which indicates that it is probably a GIF image file. Knowing the type of file allows you to select an appropriate application program to open the file in.

Windows 2000 and above may be configured to hide file extensions. This can make it difficult to identify the file type. To have Windows show the file extensions:

    • 1. Double-click My Computer.
    • 2. Click View (Win95/98/NT4/Me) or Tools (Windows XP).
    • 3. Click Options (or Folder Options).
    • 4. Click the View tab.
    • 5. Then uncheck “Hide file extensions for known file types” (or “Hide MS-DOS file extensions for file types that are registered”). Click OK to save changes.

The following site has lists of file extensions and the software that can read them: www.fileext.com.

Following are common file types.

    • BMP: Windows Bitmap image file. Use an image editor or Microsoft’s Paint program to view this file type.
    • GIF: GIF image file. Use a Web browser to view this file type.
    • JPG: Jpeg image file. Use a Web browser to view this file type.
    • PDF: Adobe Acrobat file. Use Adobe Acrobat Reader to view this file type.
    • WAV: Windows Wave audio file. Use Windows Media Player to view this file type.
    • ZIP: ZIP compressed archive. Use an Unzip program to decompress all files within the .zip file.
    • XLS, DOC, PUB, PPT: These are Microsoft Office files. The following free utilities may be useful: Microsoft Office Converters and Viewers
    • TXT: Text file. Use Notepad or WordPad to view this file type. Setting File Associations

Once you’ve determined the correct program to use with a particular file type, you will want to set the file association. Windows uses the file associations to select the default program to open a particular file type with.

Changing the settings of the Windows File Associations varies by the version of Windows. For specifics see: WinXP.