File with DBF contains a structured database organized in tables with records. The format was developed in 1983 for database application dBase II. DBF format was designed to facilitate data exchange between various applications. Total of seven versions of DBF format were released, and each iteration added new features and changes. Due to DBF format versions differences, not all applications can open given DBF file. DBF format has no official public documention available.
DBF file header contains information about the related database, saved in binary format. Header holds such information as:
After the header recored in ASCII text or binary format are saved. Record fields should have a constant length. When a record is removed from the database by the application, its field is filled with zeros. New records registered in the database are added to the end of the file, increasing its size (depends on the implementation). Sometimes previously deleted records are overwritten with new records. DBT is a version of DBF file used by xBase software applications for storing floating point data – binary data, memos, or OLE objects.
DBF files can also be opened using dedicated DBF viewers. Such tools allow users to inspect the file contents in a human-readable form. DBF files should not be opened with text editor as they may containd binary data.
Below you will find an index of software programs that can be used to open DBF files divided into 4 categories according to system platform supported. DBF files can be encountered on all system platforms, including mobile, yet there is no guarantee each will properly support such files.
There can be multiple causes why you have problems with opening DBF files on given system. What is important, all common issues related to files with DBF extension can be resolved by the users themselves. The process is quick and doesn’t involve an IT expert. The following is a list of guidelines that will help you identify and solve file-related problems.
Problems with opening and working with DBF files are most probably having to do with no proper software compatible with DBF files being present on your machine. This one is an easy one. Select Microsoft Access or one of the recommended programs (for example, Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Works, Visual FoxPro) and download it from appropriate source and install on your system. The full list of programs grouped by operating systems can be found above. One of the most risk-free method of downloading software is using links provided by official distributors. Visit Microsoft Access website and download the installer.
You still cannot access DBF files although Microsoft Access is installed on your system? Make sure that the software is up to date. Sometimes software developers introduce new formats in place of that already supports along with newer versions of their applications. This can be one of the causes why DBF files are not compatible with Microsoft Access. All of the file formats that were handled just fine by the previous versions of given program should be also possible to open using Microsoft Access.
After installing Microsoft Access (the most recent version) make sure that it is set as the default application to open DBF files. The process of associating file formats with default application may differ in details depending on platform, but the basic procedure is very similar.
The procedure to change the default program in Windows
The procedure to change the default program in Mac OS
If you followed the instructions form the previous steps yet the issue is still not solved, you should verify the DBF file in question. It is probable that the file is corrupted and thus cannot be accessed.
If the file is infected, the malware that resides in the DBF file hinders attempts to open it. It is advised to scan the system for viruses and malware as soon as possible or use an online antivirus scanner. DBF file is infected with malware? Follow the steps suggested by your antivirus software.
Did you receive the DBF file in question from a different person? Ask him/her to send it one more time. It is possible that the file has not been properly copied to a data storage and is incomplete and therefore cannot be opened. It could happen the the download process of file with DBF extension was interrupted and the file data is defective. Download the file again from the same source.
There is a possibility that the file in question can only be accessed by users with sufficient system privileges. Switch to an account that has required privileges and try opening the Database Format file again.
If the system is under havy load, it may not be able to handle the program that you use to open files with DBF extension. In this case close the other applications.
Regularly updated system, drivers, and programs keep your computer secure. This may also prevent problems with Database Format files. It is possible that one of the available system or driver updates may solve the problems with DBF files affecting older versions of given software.
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