Opening DBF files

Have a problem opening a .DBF file? We collect information about file formats and can explain what DBF files are. Additionally we recommend software suitable for opening or converting such files.

What is the .DBF file type?

One of the oldest and most familiar database-related extensions, the .dbf extension is universally used to denote the binary dBase (xBase) database file format and the respective generic DBF file type.

With its long history, dBase was a very popular database management solution (DBMS) for (MS-)DOS that was later ported to other platforms like Unix and gave start to a number of dBase-like DBMS products (commonly referred to as xBase).

Basically, the DBF format allows to store data in table form with fixed data fields. It is used mainly for database tables. A .dbf file consists of a header that describes the structure of data stored in the file, and a data section with actual records.

A large number of applications, either dedicated xBase DBMS or individual applications relying on the dBase technology, use the DBF format and .dbf files to store their data. Over time, several (often incompatible) variants of the DBF format have developed.

DBF files can be opened/imported with most office spreadsheet and database applications as well as dedicated DBF viewer utilities.

Further along the database line, the .dbf extension is also specifically associated with the Microsoft (MS) Visual FoxPro Table (DBF) file type and format. Currently considered legacy, MS Visual FoxPro is a DBMS that shared the common origin with dBase and was a successful Windows-focused fork of the dBase technology.

The DBF format used by MS Visual FoxPro is an extension of the original dBase format referred to above. Besides MS Visual FoxPro, .dbf table files can be opened (with some limitations) with practically any software that can handle the DBF format.

Software to open or convert DBF files

You can open DBF files with the following programs: 

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