mad 

Opening MAD files

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

What is the .MAD file type?

The primary association of the .mad filename extension belongs to the Microsoft Access Module Shortcut (.mad) file type and format. This file type is used solely with Microsoft Access, a commercial relational database management system (RDBMS) by Microsoft and part of the popular Microsoft Office suite.

As its description implies, a .mad file is a pointer to another file. In fact, it points to an executable VBA (Visual Basic for Applications) module within a Microsoft Access database. Mainly used with earlier Access versions, MAD shortcuts were intended to launch such VBA modules right from the desktop. A .mad file does not contain any database data, just a link to a VBA module.



Taking into account the default Microsoft Windows behavior of concealing true filename extensions for known file types, Microsoft Access shortcuts (.mad) can be masqueraded for other file types and used for malicious purposes. For security reasons, Microsoft Outlook bans MAD files from being sent as e-mail attachments.


With reference to MariaDB, an open-source high-performance scalable database engine and an expansion over MySQL, the .mad extension denotes the MariaDB Database File (.mad) file type/format. A .mad file contains the actual MariaDB database accompanied by its index (.mai). MariaDB databases (.mad) cannot be just 'opened,' but rather must be connected to, using the cross-platform MariaDB engine.


The .mad extension additionally occurs in relation to game video files (.mad) in a proprietary container format developed by Electronic Arts (EA). In particular, MAD files represent in-game video sequences in EA's Need For Speed series (NFS: Underground, NFS: Porsche Unleashed, and others). MAD video files cannot be played by any media player, although they can reportedly be converted into standard video formats (.avi), using unofficial tools and the ffmpeg transcoder.


Another occurrence of the .mad extension has to do with model animation data (.mad) files used in the Homeworld, Homeworld 2, and Homeworld: Cataclysm computer games by Relic Entertainment (Sierra). Non-text MAD files define mesh animation sequences for Homeworld game objects (.shp). Thanks to detailed reverse-engineered file format descriptions, .mad animation files are often subject to modding.


The .mad extension also stands for the Magic Album Deck (.mad) file type and format and is used in this capacity by Album Magic, a Microsoft Windows organizer application for Magic: The Gathering (MTG) collector cards. Here, a .mad file represents a single deck of MTG cards.


Lastly, the .mad extension also happens to be assigned to Instorescreen content configuration files (.mad), with reference to the Instorescreen advertising LCD screen devices. A .mad file is a short text file that employs an INI-like syntax to control display options for a given digital content unit (.jpg, .avi) on a per-file basis.

Software to open or convert MAD files

You can open MAD files with the following programs: 

Popular formats