Opening LYR files

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

What is the .LYR file type?

The most frequent occurrence of the .lyr filename extension has to do with the ArcGIS Layer File (.lyr) file type and format. ArcGIS is the name of a major Geographic Information System (GIS) software suite by Esri that includes over a dozen tools and utilities (ArcMap, ArcCatalog, ArcView, and many others).

An ArcGIS layer file (.lyr) represents a map layer, most commonly a legend, a colored overlay, or symbology that can be distributed separately from the map itself (.mxd). A .lyr file controls a number of presentational aspects of the actual geospatial data stored elsewhere. Complex maps can use several .lyr layers placed on top of each other. Internally, .lyr files use the Microsoft Compound File Binary File Format (MS-CFB).

To draw properly on a map, a .lyr file must have access to the data source (e.g., a shapefile or a database) referenced in it. LYR files mainly use relative references and must reside in the same directory as the data files they refer to. Besides ArcGIS, the LYR format is supported by several other major GIS systems.

Rendering a different meaning (a short for 'Lyrics'), the .lyr extension is also used to denote various lyrics files (.lyr). A lyrics file is a simple text file with the complete words of a song, a musical poem, etc. Specially formatted LYR files can often be found on karaoke DVD's. Some multimedia players automatically display lyrics for an audio file, if a .lyr file with the same name is found in the same directory.

With reference to Crysis, a futuristic spec-ops jungle warfare FPS shooter by Crytek GmbH, the .lyr extension associates with the Crysis Object Layer (.lyr) file type. Here, a .lyr file is a text-only XML-style definition of a game object's placement in space and time within the game world as rendered by the game engine (CryEngine).

Software to open or convert LYR files

You can open LYR files with the following programs: 

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