How to Open Enc Files

Updated July 19, 2017

The file extension ".enc" is associated with three file types: generic encoded files that are created by various programs; copy protected Portable Document Format (PDF) files; and Electronic Navigation Chart files used by the Office of Coast Survey. If you have received or created a .enc file and do not know how to open it, this article should give you a good idea of how to start.

Double-click the .enc file with which you are working. Move to step 2 if it does not open with the program normally associated with files of that type.

Right-click on the file and select "Properties" from the context menu that opens if you are using Windows. Ctrl+click or right-click on the file and select "Get Info" from the context menu if you are using a computer running Mac OS. The properties/get info option should indicate the file type and suggest programs that might open it.

Select the program with which you will open your .enc file. The file should open in that program. Move to step 4 if your file does not open.

Download and install a file reader that will open .enc files. If the file does not open in the reader, there is a possibility that the file is corrupted. If the file opens in the reader, there is a possibility that the program with which the file was created is corrupted or is otherwise malfunctioning.

Open the file on the computer on which it was originally created, if possible. If that is not possible, attempt to open the file on a different computer that is running the same software. If the file does not open at this point, it is most likely corrupted, or has been given an erroneous file extension.


Always perform a virus scan on unfamiliar or unknown files prior to attempting to open them. Check the file's complete name by right-clicking on it or ctrl+clicking on it and selecting "Properties" or "Get Info." When a file is named, renamed or copied, there's a possibility that the file could have lost its extension, or had the extension changed due to typographical error.

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About the Author

Mike Arneson is an adjunct professor of English. He's been a professional writer since 2003 and was chief editor of his English department's student literary magazine, "Notations." His other online publications include procedurals for various websites. He has a Bachelor of Science in professional writing and a Master of Arts in TESOL.