ECW file icon

ECW File Extension

Enhanced Compression Wavelet Image

What is ECW file?

ECW is a proprietary Wavelet compression format optimized for aerial and satellite images developed by Earth Resource Mapping, but now owned by ERDAS. ECW file can hold data gathered with satellite or aerial cameras and georadars located in space.

ECW format is optimized for aerial and satellite imagery to meet the needs of geolocation and data mapping. Images in this format are used along with geospatial data.

ECW format technical specification

Image data stored in ECW file are compressed using lossy compression algorithm without significant loss of image quality. This type of file is ideal for large-format pictures, because the ECW compression algoritm handles large images very well, reaching compression rations from 1:10 to 1:100 – result hard to achieve using other compression algorithms. ECW format supports from 1 to 8-bit continuous data per layer and up to 255 colors.

Programs which support ECW file extension

Programs that can handle ECW files are as follows. Files with ECW extension, just like any other file formats, can be found on any operating system. The files in question may be transferred to other devices, be it mobile or stationary, yet not all systems may be capable of properly handling such files.

Programs that support ECW file

Updated: 10/23/2022

How to open file with ECW extension?

Being unable to open files with ECW extension can be have various origins. What is important, all common issues related to files with ECW 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.

Step 1. Install FME Desktop software

Install software to open ECW file The most common reason for such problems is the lack of proper applications that supports ECW files installed on the system. The most obvious solution is to download and install FME Desktop or one to the listed programs: IrfanView, TatukGIS Viewer, Falcon View. Above you will find a complete listing of programs that support ECW files, classified according to system platforms for which they are available. If you want to download FME Desktop installer in the most secured manner, we suggest you visit Safe Software Inc. website and download from their official repositories.

Step 2. Update FME Desktop to the latest version

Update software that support file extension ECWYou still cannot access ECW files although FME Desktop is installed on your system? Make sure that the software is up to date. It may also happen that software creators by updating their applications add compatibility with other, newer file formats. If you have an older version of FME Desktop installed, it may not support ECW format. The most recent version of FME Desktop is backward compatible and can handle file formats supported by older versions of the software.

Step 3. Set the default application to open ECW files to FME Desktop

If you have the latest version of FME Desktop installed and the problem persists, select it as the default program to be used to manage ECW on your device. The process of associating file formats with default application may differ in details depending on platform, but the basic procedure is very similar.

Associate software with ECW file on Windows

Selecting the first-choice application in Windows

  • Choose the Open with entry from the file menu accessed by right-mouse clicking on the ECW file
  • Next, select the Choose another app option and then using More apps open the list of available applications
  • To finalize the process, select Look for another app on this PC entry and using the file explorer select the FME Desktop installation folder. Confirm by checking Always use this app to open ECW files box and clicking OK button.
Associate software with ECW file on Mac

Selecting the first-choice application in Mac OS

  • From the drop-down menu, accessed by clicking the file with ECW extension, select Information
  • Proceed to the Open with section. If its closed, click the title to access available options
  • Select FME Desktop and click Change for all...
  • A message window should appear informing that This change will be applied to all files with ECW extension. By clicking Continue you confirm your selection.

Step 4. Verify that the ECW is not faulty

If you followed the instructions form the previous steps yet the issue is still not solved, you should verify the ECW file in question. It is probable that the file is corrupted and thus cannot be accessed.

Check ECW file for viruses
1. The ECW may be infected with malware – make sure to scan it with an antivirus tool.

If the ECW is indeed infected, it is possible that the malware is blocking it from opening. Immediately scan the file using an antivirus tool or scan the whole system to ensure the whole system is safe. If the scanner detected that the ECW file is unsafe, proceed as instructed by the antivirus program to neutralize the threat.

2. Ensure the file with ECW extension is complete and error-free

Did you receive the ECW file in question from a different person? Ask him/her to send it one more time. The file might have been copied erroneously and the data lost integrity, which precludes from accessing the file. If the ECW file has been downloaded from the internet only partially, try to redownload it.

3. Ensure that you have appropriate access rights

Sometimes in order to access files user need to have administrative privileges. Switch to an account that has required privileges and try opening the Enhanced Compression Wavelet Image file again.

4. Verify that your device fulfills the requirements to be able to open FME Desktop

If the systems has insufficient resources to open ECW files, try closing all currently running applications and try again.

5. Check if you have the latest updates to the operating system and drivers

Latest versions of programs and drivers may help you solve problems with Enhanced Compression Wavelet Image files and ensure security of your device and operating system. It may be the case that the ECW files work properly with updated software that addresses some system bugs.

Do you want to help?

If you have additional information about the ECW file, we will be grateful if you share it with our users. To do this, use the form here and send us your information on ECW file.

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