How to show file endings in File Explorer

Maybe it's because I am a long time Windows PC user or just because I am getting old, I always want to know what the file endings are of files on my PC. Somewhere along the way Microsoft decided to hide the file endings, my feeling was that this was around the time of Windows XP but I may be wrong. It was probably to make Windows more like the Apple Mac which never relied on the file ending to decide what application should open a file.

What are file endings?

These are the three or more characters after the dot at the end of a file. Some examples:

"This is a word document.doc" or nowadays "This is a word document.docx"

So in the above examples the file ending is .doc or .docx

If a spreadsheet then .xls or .xlsx and so on.

So if you want to turn them on then do as follows:

Windows 10 and 8.1 (scroll down for other versions of Windows)

Open File Explorer (the yellow folder icon usually shown as the second icon next to the start menu) or press Windows Key + E:
File Explorer Icon

When in Explorer, select the "View" tab (arrow 1 in image below) and then on the ribbon tick the option "file name extensions" (arrow 2 in image below):

Explorer View Tab

NB: If you don't see the ribbon (pointed to by arrow 2 in the image above) it will be because you don't have it expanded.  By default in Windows 10 it is collapsed, so to make it show click the downward pointing chevron as shown below:

Explorer View Tab No Ribbon


Windows 7 and Previous Windows Versions

As with Windows 10, open the yellow folder on your task bar to open file explorer (or Windows Explorer as it is called in Windows 7):

Win7 No File Ending Showing

As you can see the archive file listed is not showing its file ending which should be .pst.

To turn endings on, select the "Tools" menu above and select "Folder Options".  If you can't see the "Tools" menu, press the "ALT" key on your keyboard to make it appear temporarily.

This dialog appears, select the "View" tab and locate the tick box in the lower panel "Advanced Settings" that says "Hide extensions for known file types" and untick it:

Folder Options Untick Hide Extensions

Ok the above dialog and now when you go back to Explorer you will now be able to see the file endings.

Win 7 File Ending Now Showing

Not a big thing but just makes the World seem right again.

NB: if you want to keep the menu bar showing all the time in Windows Explorer in Windows 7 and previous versions of Windows, call up the "Folder Options" dialog again and select the "View" tab, near the top of the tick box list in the lower pane put a tick on the option "Always show menus":

Always Show Menus

This completes this How To!