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6 min read 9 comments

How to open and play all file types on Android

Although Android is a largely open system, you can't always read or play every file format. Thanks to the wide range of available apps, however, assistance is never far away. It's usually a simple task of finding the right app for the job. We'll show you how almost any type of file can be opened and played on Android.

What type of file do you want to open?

Get to work with office files

The Play Store offers a wide variety of apps to read and edit Office documents. The Google Drive and Microsoft Office apps are technically just “view” apps - meaning you can view and read the document, but not edit.

If you want to open, edit, save or even convert a DOCX, XLSX, PPT, PDF file on Android, then you’re best off downloading one of the specialist apps.

In this case those would be Docs (Google), Sheets (Google), Slides (Google), Word, Excel and PowerPoint. All of them can export PDF files, which most Android smartphones can open thanks to the fact that Google Drive has a built in PDF viewer pre-installed.

File type compatibility

  PDF DOCX XLSX PPTX ODT RTF ODS TXT
Google Drive Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
WPS Office Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Microsoft apps No Yes Yes Yes No No No No

Quite a few smartphone manufacturers also pre-install WPS Office. This app contains ads, and if you want to unlock new fonts and convert documents/files on Android, you will need to pay. Nevertheless many users appreciate the seamless dropbox connectivity and good syncing capabilities between smartphone/tablet and PC.  

Another worthwhile app to use for those looking for a completely free Microsoft Office alternative for Android is SmartOffice. This app still has a few kinks depending on your device, but it's ad-free, lightweight and regularly updated.

wps office formats prices
Get to work with WPS Office / © AndroidPIT
WPS Office - Word, Docs, PDF, Note, Slide & Sheet Install on Google Play Google Drive Install on Google Play Microsoft Word Install on Google Play Microsoft Excel Install on Google Play SmartOffice - View & Edit MS Office files & PDFs Install on Google Play

Catch up on your reading with ePub and ebook files

In order for you to open and read ePub and other ebook files you'll need a dedicated ebook reader. We recommend the Moon+ Reader, as it's capable of opening EPUB, PDF, MOBI, CHM, CBR, CBZ, UMD, FB2, TXT, HTML, RAR, ZIP and OPDS files.

Moon+ Reader Install on Google Play

A great free alternative to Moon+ can be found in the form of ReadEra. ReadEra supports EPUB, PDF, DOC, RTF, TXT, DJVU, FB2, MOBI and CHM formats, and has no ads or IAPs.

ReadEra – free ebook reader Install on Google Play

Open, edit, and sort your photos and images

Many phones come with the Google Photos app preinstalled already, which at this point can even handle RAW files. But if you really want your smartphone or tablet to be capable of dealing with every image file out there, we can recommend RawDroid Pro. For $5 |€5,40 in the Google Play store, your Android will be capable of reading the following image formats:

.3fr (Hasselblad), .arw .srf .sr2 (Sony), .bay (Casio), .crw, .cr2 (Canon), .cap, .iiq, .eip (Phase_One), .dcs, .dcr, .drf, .k25, .kdc (Kodak), .dng (Adobe), .erf (Epson), .fff (Imacon), .mef (Mamiya), .mos (Leaf), .mrw (Minolta), .nef, .nrw (Nikon), .orf (Olympus), .pef, .ptx (Pentax), .raf (Fuji), .raw, .rw2 (Panasonic), .raw, .rwl, .dng (Leica), .srw (Samsung) und .x3f (Sigma).

RawDroid Pro Install on Google Play

RawDroid is still a solid app, though an older one which may have some compatibility issues. Dedicated photographers should consider Adobe Photoshop Express and Lightroom CC for more advanced features and regular updates.

Adobe Photoshop Express:Photo Editor Collage Maker Install on Google Play Adobe Photoshop Lightroom CC Install on Google Play

On the other hand, those who just want to be able to open and view a large amount of RAW file types should be happy with Sharpened's File Viewer, which offers excellent and expansive support for image files as well as other types.

File Viewer for Android Install on Google Play

What's the best app for playing video files on Android?

The pinnacle of play-anything desktop media players is VLC. The Android version can play almost all audio and video files (as well as stream) and handle multiple audio tracks, subtitles, auto-rotation of the display and corrections to the aspect ratio.

VLC for Android Install on Google Play

Volume and brightness can be controlled by gestures, and there's widgets available too. We've got a nice article which gives a little bit more of an insight about codec errors and unsupported audio files.

ANDROIDPIT best video player
Playing videos on Android is super easy / © ANDROIDPIT

Two other well-engineered video players are MoboPlayer and MX Player, both of which also support subtitles, multi-audio, streams and playlists and can also play back formats that are not supported by the default video player.

The bookmark function is also very convenient: when you leave a movie halfway through, the next time you open the app it will pick up where you left off.

What's your jam? Play any audio format on Android

The default Android media player has no problems with MP3s, and can natively play MP4, 3GP, M4A, OTA, MKV and TS audio files - but there are some audio formats which can be a little troublesome.

Any Android user consumed by music and audiobooks on their smartphone or tablet will sooner or later embark on a search for an audio player that can support their particular requirements.

The offerings out there are as varied as individual tastes – for an overview, see our list of the top 5 music players for Android. As far as sheer versatility of supported file formats goes though, here are two candidates worthy of your consideration.

AndroidPIT spotify 1 2
The best apps for listening to music on the go. / © ANDROIDPIT

PowerAmp

Besides MP3s, the PowerAmp music player supports the following formats: MP4; M4A; ALAC; OGG; WMA; FLAC; WAV; APE; WV; and TTA. The extensive functions, the intuitive user interface and the all-round adaptability make this app one of the most popular audio players out there. There's a free trial version, otherwise the app costs a few dollars.

Poweramp Music Player (Trial) Install on Google Play

MortPlayer Music

A solid free alternative is MortPlayer Music, which can handle all of the same formats listed above. the team as well get along with the formats listed above, although the playback of FLAC and WMA files is device-dependent.

MortPlayer Music Install on Google Play

Open, unzip, unpack archive files

The excellent and versatile free B1 Free Archiver opens the following file formats:  7z, apk, a, ar, arj, bz2, bzip2, cab, deb, gz, gzip, jar, iso, lha, lzh, lzma, mtz, rpm, tar, tar.bz2, tbz, tbz2, tar.gz, tgz, tpz, taz, tar.lzma, tar.xz, tar.Z, xap, xar, xz, Z, zipx.

B1 Archiver zip rar unzip Install on Google Play

If you're looking for a file manager to open Android archive files, get the AndroZip app. Its design is very clear, allowing users to quickly access their Android archive files to open or encrypt files. The app is also an excellent way to manage Android archive files on the tablet.

AndroZip™ FREE File Manager Install on Google Play

Do you have any favorites for difficult file types that we haven't included? Leave your suggestions in the comments!

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  • Microsoft word can open PDF files so it should be yes for Microsoft office.


  • Pre-installed apps can be a pain, period. Apart from users being able to install whatever they want from the Play Store, or elsewhere, I would suggest that if phones or tablets came with just a browser then the user could take it from there. It would also be an idea for a 'cherry-picking' list to be made available by each manufacturer so that new phones could be quickly customised by the user by simply ticking a number of check boxes in much the same way as users can now do using the DroidAdmin service adopted by many Youtube 'tips' contributers.


  • Really helpful tips you have mentioned. Keep it up with something similar and helpful for readers as well as bloggers.


  • Just Tell Me How To Open .exo File In Android Or Tell My Any App Which Support This File.


    •   24

      the only way to open an exo file is with the android youtube app. If youve got the file on your phone it should automatically open with the youtube app.


  • I always like to mention the fine, free high-rated app "Better Open With" by Giorgi Dalakishvili, that shows a selection box for a few beats before opening with a selected default app - it's great for URLs for multiple browsers as well as a choice of apps for various file types. While I bought Moon+ Pro for ebooks and use it for PDFs and saved HTML pages, its simple plug-in does not support PDF forms, highlighting, etc. Foxit is very good, so is Adobe's own free PDF reader. Moon+ also balks at Kindle book files so Kindle Reader is necessary for subscribers to that service - Kindle shows PDFs but limits ebook types to Kindle and *.mobi. I use free open-source VLC for all media types and it has an equalizer - saves bothering to learn and remember different interfaces. Finally I think any decent file manager will deal with most users' zips and archiving. Nowadays its worth checking that it can access cloud drives (GDrive, DBox, OneDrive) and local network connections as well as onboard storage - I'm using free X-plore (Lonely Cat) because I like dual-pane, but there are others.


  • B1 Archiver is a reliable application

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