What Is an XML File?


What Is an XML File?

A file with the XML file extension is an Extensible Markup Language file. They are plain text files that don't do anything in and of themselves except describe the transportation, structure, and storage of data. An RSS feed is one common example of an XML-based file. Some XML files are instead Cinelerra Video Project files used with the Cinelerra video editing program. The file holds project-related settings like a list of past edits made to the project as well as paths to where the media files are located.


How to Open an XML File

Many programs open XML files, including Code Beautify's Online XML Viewer and some web browsers. Several popular programs edit XML files as well.

  1. Some notable free XML editors include Notepad++ and XML Notepad 2007. EditiX and Adobe Dreamweaver are a couple other popular XML editors but they are only free to use if you can manage to get a trial version. Microsoft's popular Visual Studio Code editor handles XML files like a champ.

  2. Just because an XML file can easily be opened and viewed doesn't mean that it'll do anything. Lots of different types of programs use XML as a way to store their data in a standard way, but actually using an XML file for a specific purpose requires that you know what that particular XML file is storing data for.

  3. For example, the XML format is used for MusicXML files, an XML-based sheet music format. You could certainly open one of those XML files in any text editor to see what sort of data is there, but it's really only useful in a program like Finale NotePad.

  4. However, if you want to go that route, see our Best Free Text Editors list for some of our favorites.

  5. Cinelerra Video Project files that use the XML file extension can be opened with the Cinelerra software for Linux. The program used to be split into two, called Heroine Virtual and Community Version, but they're now combined into one.

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