[an error occurred while processing this directive] Google Guide: File Type Conversion Google Guide: Making Searching Even Easier
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File Type Conversion

Google converts all file types it searches to either HTML or text (unless, of course, they already are in one of these formats). Google searches a variety of file formats including

File Format Suffix Description
Adobe Acrobat PDF pdf A publishing format commonly used for product manuals and documents of all sorts.
Adobe PostScript ps A printing format often used for academic papers.
Hypertext Markup Language html or htm The primary language for web pages.
Lotus 1-2-3 wk1, wk2, wk3, wk4, wk5, wki, wks, or wku A spreadsheet format.
Lotus WordPro lwp A word processing format.
MacWrite mw A word processing format.
Microsoft Excel xls A spreadsheet format.
Microsoft PowerPoint ppt A format for presentations and slides.
Microsoft Word doc A common word processing format.
Microsoft Works wks, wps, or wdb A word processing format.
Microsoft Write wri A Macintosh word processing format.
Rich Text Format rtf A format used to exchange documents between Microsoft Word and other formats.
Plain Text ans or txt Ordinary text with no special formating.

Clicking on a link to a non-HTML file will launch the associated program for reading the file, provided it's installed on your system.

If you can't view the page in the native format — for instance, if you don't have Adobe Acrobat on your computer, or if you want faster access to the file — click on either the "View as HTML" or "View as Text" link. Note: Portions of some files converted to HTML or text may be difficult to read.

Non-HTML files can be viewed in their original forms, or as HTML or text

You can use the Advanced Search form or the filetype: search operator to restrict your results to a particular format.

For more information about file types that Google supports, visit www.google.com/help/faq_filetypes.html.


These problems give you practice viewing files of different types. For hints and answers to selected problems, see the Solutions page in the Appendix.

  1. Find a document with tips on job interviewing and salary negotiation that is in PDF/Adobe Acrobat format. What differences in the appearance of the document result from viewing it in its native format, Adobe Acrobat versus HTML?

  2. Find a Power Point slide presentation on first aid and choking. View the presentation as HTML.

  3. Find pdf or Postscript documents and course notes on symplectic geometry that are on university and other educational sites.

    This problem was inspired by Julian Uschersohn.

This page was last modified on Monday January 02, 2006.

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