Opening SAM files

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

What is the .SAM file type?

The primary association of the .sam extension belongs to the Sequence Alignment/Map (SAM) file format/type. SAM is an open, well-documented text-based (ASCII) format, in which tab-delimited entries are used to record large genetic-data (DNA) sequences, also referred to as genome sequences or maps. Along with its binary counterpart BAM, SAM is widely used in genetics, bioinformatics, and the related fields.

A .sam file is a listing of DNA sequence reads, following the SAM syntax. Although any .sam file can be opened and viewed with a text editor, its contents would not be human-readable. SAM files can get quite large (several gigabytes) and are processed much slower than their binary versions (.bam). The main tool to work with the SAM/BAM formats is SAMtools, a set of open-source utilities. SAM sequences/maps are also supported by several other genetic-research software tools.

The .sam extension is also conventionally associated with the IBM Lotus Word Pro Document (SAM) file format and type. Word Pro (part of IBM Lotus SmartSuite) is the name of a commercial word-processing software developed and marketed by Lotus (now, IBM). SAM is a proprietary and obscure document format, generally not supported outside IBM Lotus SmartSuite. With SmartSuite withdrawn by IBM since 2013, the use of the .sam format should be discouraged in favor of standard office formats.

Another occurrence of the .sam extension relates to audio sample files. Here, a .sam file is a raw (headerless) audio sample that contains 8-bit signed PCM waveform data. Originating from the era of MOD trackers, such SAM samples usually represent various sound effects and/or noises used in video games.

Additionally, the .sam extension is used by the freeware desktop enhancement and system-monitoring tool Samurize (MS Windows) to denote configuration archive packages exported by the application. Samurize config packages (.sam) are ZIP archives, containing scripts, resource files, etc. required for the config (widget) to function. Such .sam files can be added to Samurize via the Export/Import tool and/or opened and extracted with any ZIP-enabled archiver.

Finally, the .sam extension, short for 'Sample,' serves to identify the "lmhosts.sam" file, a sample of the text-based LMHOSTS configuration file used by several Microsoft Windows operating systems to map computers' IP adresses to their NetBIOS names. The "lmhosts.sam" file is a brief how-to, explaining the LMHOSTS syntax and setup, located in the "%SystemRoot%\System32\drivers\etc" directory (MS Windows 7 and several others). The "lmhosts.sam" file is meant to be taken as a template to modify to one's needs, openable and editable with any text editor.

Software to open or convert SAM files

You can open SAM files with the following programs:
Adobe Audition
Adobe Audition by Adobe Systems
Adobe Audition
Adobe Audition by Adobe Systems Incorporated
MAGIX Samplitude Music Studio
MAGIX Samplitude Music Studio by MAGIX Software GmbH

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