How to Extract a DAT File

Updated March 23, 2017

Files that have a .dat extension contain data for an application or document on your computer system. DAT files cannot be normally opened and information extracted like other file types, since they are connected to specific programs on your computer. Information from DAT files can be extracted using Microsoft Word and from there, you can attempt to figure out what program the DAT file is associated with.

Open and run the Microsoft Word application.

Click the "File" option in the word application top menu bar. Select "Open." Locate the DAT file in the "Open" dialogue box and click the "Open" button.

Examine the DAT file. All the information should be extracted to the Word document. If the DAT file is for Word, the data will be readable.

Open and run a rich text editor such as Notepad.

Click the "File" option in Notepad's menu bar. Locate the DAT file in the "Open" dialogue box and click the "Open" button.

Review the DAT file. Look for certain elements within the file that will associate it with another program. For example, if the DAT file is associated with Excel, certain elements from Excel will be present in the DAT file.

Open and run the document that corresponds to the DAT file. Locate the file that looks correct and choose the "File" option in the menu bar. Select "Save As" or "Export" and save the file as a "TXT" or "RTF" file by selecting these options in the "Save as Type" box. Click the "Save As" button afterward.

Open and run Microsoft Word. Click "File," then "Open," and locate the "TXT" or "RTF" file you recently saved in the "Open" dialogue. After locating it, select it and click the "Open" button.

Things You'll Need

  • Microsoft Word
  • Microsoft Notepad
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About the Author

Jason Candanedo is currently a student at Empire State College, pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in social theory, social structure and change. He has been writing since August 2008 on his political blog and since September 2009 as a freelance writer for various websites.