How to show file extensions on Windows 11

You can show extensions for known files in File Explorer, and here's how on Windows 11.

Windows 11 show file extensions
Windows 11 show file extensions / Image: Mauro Huculak
  • To show file extensions on Windows 11, open File Explorer, then click on “View,” select “Show,” and choose the “File name extensions” option to show extensions.
  • Another way is to open “Folder Options” and clear the “Hide extensions for known file types” option.
  • Furthermore, you can enable this feature from the Settings app or by using Command Prompt or PowerShell.

On Windows 11, File Explorer hides the extensions for known file types by default for some reason. However, you have multiple ways to make them visible, and in this guide, I will teach you how to complete this configuration.

A file extension is the three or four letters after the period at the end of the filename, indicating the file format type (for example, my-notes.txt, my-document.docx, etc.). Although extensions are unnecessary after saving the file with a supported application, it’s another visual queue to identify the file’s format quickly. Also, it makes it easier to change compatible extensions as necessary, such as from .txt to .bat, when writing a script or batch file.

In this guide, I will teach you the easy steps to show extensions for files on File Explorer.

Show file extensions on Windows 11 from File Explorer

To view file extensions on Windows 11, use these steps:

  1. Open File Explorer (Windows key + E) on Windows 11.

  2. Click the View menu button in the command bar.

  3. Select the Show submenu and choose the “File name extensions” option.

    Show file name extensions

Folder Options method

You can also show file extensions by turning on the feature from the “Folder Options” settings, and here’s how:

  1. Open File Explorer.

  2. Click the See more button and click on Options.

    File Explorer open Folder Options

  3. Click the View tab.

  4. Clear the “Hide extensions for known file types” option under the “Advanced settings” section.

    Hide extensions for known files disabled

  5. Click the Apply button.

  6. Click the OK button.

Once you complete the steps, File Explorer will show extensions (for example, .txt, .exe, and .docx) for known file types on Windows 11.

Show file extensions on Windows 11 from Settings

To enable the option to view file extensions on Windows 11 from the Settings app, use these steps:

  1. Open Settings.

  2. Click on System.

  3. Click the For developers page.

  4. Click the File Explorer setting.

  5. Turn on the “Show file extensions” toggle switch.

    For developers show file extensions option

After you complete the steps, you will be able to see the file extensions on File Explorer.

Show file extensions on Windows 11 from Command Prompt

You can also use Command Prompt or PowerShell to enable the option to display extensions for files by running a command that will edit the Registry to enable the feature. This option will also come in handy when turning on extensions through a script file.

Warning: It’s crucial to note that modifying the Registry can cause serious problems if not used properly. It’s assumed you know what you’re doing and created a full backup of your system before proceeding.

To display file extensions through the Command Prompt on Windows 11, use these steps:

  1. Open Start.

  2. Search for Command Prompt or PowerShell, right-click the top result, and choose the Run as administrator option.

  3. Type the following command to show extensions for files and press Enter:

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

    Command Prompt show file extensions

After you complete the steps, File Explorer will start displaying file extensions on Windows 11.

Update May 14, 2024: This guide has been updated to ensure accuracy and reflect changes to the process.

About the author

Mauro Huculak is a Windows How-To Expert who started Pureinfotech in 2010 as an independent online publication. He has also been a Windows Central contributor for nearly a decade. Mauro has over 14 years of experience writing comprehensive guides and creating professional videos about Windows and software, including Android and Linux. Before becoming a technology writer, he was an IT administrator for seven years. In total, Mauro has over 20 years of combined experience in technology. Throughout his career, he achieved different professional certifications from Microsoft (MSCA), Cisco (CCNP), VMware (VCP), and CompTIA (A+ and Network+), and he has been recognized as a Microsoft MVP for many years. You can follow him on X (Twitter), YouTube, LinkedIn and About.me. Email him at [email protected].