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File Formats for Data

File formats play an important role in facilitating replication, new research, and long-term preservation. While you may collect and analyze data in specialized instrument or application formats, you should aim to share and archive data in formats that can be opened and manipulated by a wide variety of software—sometimes called non-proprietary, open, or platform-independent formats.

The chart below contains some file formats that are suitable for sharing and archiving data. For additional information, see the links following the chart. If you submit data to a repository or archive, the data managers will probably request specific formats.

Please email us to suggest additions or revisions.

More information on file formats:

Sustainability of Digital Formats (Library of Congress)

List of Electronic File Formats

Examples of open formats (Wikipedia)

Select a data type to view recommended formats:

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