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Q: Email Attachment File Types ( Answered,   2 Comments )
Subject: Email Attachment File Types
Category: Computers > Internet
Asked by: rickc-ga
List Price: $25.00
Posted: 29 Aug 2002 13:30 PDT
Expires: 28 Sep 2002 13:30 PDT
Question ID: 59984
What are the top 5-10 most common file types that are *emailed* as
attachments? (e.g. Word, Excel, etc.)

Request for Question Clarification by eiffel-ga on 30 Aug 2002 04:55 PDT
It's hard to find truly authoritative figures with which to answer
your question. No overall statistics are available.

For your purposes, do you need the file types to be precisely ranked?
Or would it be acceptable to supply you with details of file types
that are generally considered to be the most commonly-used for email
Subject: Re: Email Attachment File Types
Answered By: aditya2k-ga on 30 Aug 2002 05:53 PDT
Hi rickc,

   Good day and thanks for your question. E-mail attachments initially
were a blessing; we could send important files via e-mail rather than
FTP or Gopher. But everything comes with strings attached. Hackers and
jobless youngsters exploited the feature and viruses were making waves
in no time.

   Hence, one would expect the filetypes which house viruses to be
common. Those being :

.exe - EXEcutable. This is the most dangerous and common attachment
type. In a recent article, it was mentioned "think of it as possibly
executing your PC!"

.com - Another executable. Indicates COMmand files

.bat - BATch file

.vbs - VBScript file. These attachments automatically execute.

.scr - Screen Saver file
.pif - Performs text based command line functions in Ms dos
.doc - Microsoft Word, Wordpad. Only harmful if they contain macros
.xls - Excel spreadsheet data. Only harmful if they contain macros

.ppt - PowerPoint Presentation. Only harmful if they contain macros

.zip - compressed file storage 

The safer type of e-mail attachments :

.jpg or .jpeg - Picture file (Joint Pictures Expert Group)

.gif - Picture File (Graphics Interchange Format). Pictures can be

.mpg or .mpeg - Movie clip (Motion Picture Expert Group)

.bmp - Picture file (BitMaP)

.txt - ASCII Text file

.pdf - Portable Document Format. Can be read by Adobe Acrobat Reader

Additional URLs on e-mail attachments

Quick reference, email attachment.
List of file types (Complete and comprehensive list)

Understand E-mail Attachments
When sending an e-mail message, you may want to include a document
that was created with another application (i.e. a document that is
already prepared rather than the message you are typing in the mail
package's message window). Examples of documents you may want to send
are a Word or WordPerfect file which includes all the formatting
information, an Excel spreadsheet, an image, etc.

Common File Types and Email Attachments
Windows and Internet Practical Tips - lists common file types in
e-mail attachments

Email Attachments!C9!3A!FA79E1EC0A1D/IOM/attachments/
The simplest, easiest course of action if a computer user sends you an
email attachment that you cannot click on and open...

Viruses and Email Attachments How to Protect Yourself
"The most common transmission method of viruses currently is by email.
Unsuspecting computer users receive an email virus, they accidentally
infect their own computer system and especially with Microsoft Outlook
or Outlook Express they send emails containing the virus to all their
contacts in their address book. The spread of a virus this way works
simply by exploiting problems within a specific email program."

"You can attach documents, graphics, programs, and other files and
send them to a recipient along with an email. The following sections
provide more information on the formats and use of attachments:"

I hope this answers your question. When you view the answer, you will
be asked in bold red letters to rate it. If you have a clarification
to make, then please ask it before rating, else if you're satisfied
with the answer, then please feel free to rate it.

Thank you for using this service. Have a good day


Search Term
e-mail attachments types

Request for Answer Clarification by rickc-ga on 30 Aug 2002 09:43 PDT

Actually, I don't care about viruses, am doing attachment research for
other reasons. What I am looking for is some sort of analysis of the
top five or ten most emailed file types (i.e. in actual daily use),
because I am considering a product designed to aid the transmission of
those. Do you know of any quantitative surveys of this, rather than
general usage or opinion?


Clarification of Answer by aditya2k-ga on 30 Aug 2002 20:29 PDT
Hi rickc,

   My answer isn't meant to be virus-centric. I was just adding
another dimension to the answer by mentioning the viruses.

   As far as the top attachments are concerned, my fellow researcher,
huntsman has already mentioned the 10 common ones. I couldn't agree
more with him (except maybe for the rank) Thanks to him for that.

   I would also like to add one more type of attachment type to the
.mht - E-mail message. When one forwards a message using an emial
client like Outlook, the message is sent in mht format, unless
forwarded inline.

If you have any further clarifications, then please do ask

Subject: Re: Email Attachment File Types
From: huntsman-ga on 30 Aug 2002 08:38 PDT

A good (and obvious) question. 

As the researchers pointed out above, there doesn't seem to be an
"official" ranking of file attachments available. This would be my
best guess for the top ten file types, ranked in descending order.

   1.  Web - .htm, .html
   2.  Image - .jpg
   3.  Image - .gif
   4.  Word - .doc
   5.  Excel - .xls
   6.  Text - .txt
   7.  Image - .bmp
   8.  Powerpoint - .ppt
   9.  Executable - .exe
   10. Compressed - .zip


Additional references - 

Here are the file types that Google searches for:

   Google Special Search Features
   Frequently Asked Questions - File Types

   "1. What file types are returned in a Google search?

   There are 12 main file types searched by Google in addition to
   standard web formatted documents in HTML. The most common formats 
   are PDF, PostScript, Microsoft Office formats:

   Adobe Portable Document Format (pdf) 
   Adobe PostScript (ps) 
   Lotus 1-2-3 (wk1, wk2, wk3, wk4, wk5, wki, wks, wku) 
   Lotus WordPro (lwp) 
   MacWrite (mw) 
   Microsoft Excel (xls) 
   Microsoft PowerPoint (ppt) 
   Microsoft Word (doc) 
   Microsoft Works (wks, wps, wdb) 
   Microsoft Write (wri) 
   Rich Text Format (rtf) 
   Text (ans, txt)" 

Common Internet file types:

   Internet for Beginners
   Harness E-Mail: Opening Attachments 

   "The most common types of files sent over the Net include these:

   [edited in alphabetical order]
   Documents: .doc, .xls
   Images: .jpg, .gif 
   Music: .mp3, .mpeg, .ra, .wmf 
   Video: .avi, .mov, .qt, .ram"

   Internet for Beginners
   Download Files: File Formats and Extensions

   "The following is a guide to common Internet file formats. 
   [edited in alphabetical order]
   .aiff - Another fairly common sound format found on the Web.
   .arc - An old and inefficient format for archiving and compression.
   .arj - A somewhat common format for MS-DOS machines.
   .au/uLaw/MuLaw - The most common sound format found on the Web. 
   .avi - The standard video format for Windows.
   .bin - A Mac binary II Encoded File.
   .doc - A common PC format for formatted text files.
   .exe - A DOS or Windows program or a self-extracting file.
   .gif - The most common graphics file format on the Internet.
   .gz/gzip - The GNU Project's compression program for UNIX and PC
   .hqx - A common Macintosh encoding format.
   .html/.htm - The language in which Web documents are authored.
   .jpg/jpeg/jfif - A popular compression standard used for photos 
      and still images.
   .mov/.movie - The common format for QuickTime movies, the 
      Macintosh native movie platform.
   .mp3 - The most popular file format on the Web for distributing 
      CD-quality music.
   .mpg/mpeg - A standard format for "movies" on the Internet.
   .pdf - Portable Document Format, a proprietary format developed 
      by Adobe Systems, Inc.
   .ps - A PostScript file. 
   .qt - Another extension that denotes a QuickTime movie.
   .ra - A proprietary streaming audio format called RealAudio.
   .ram - A popular format from RealNetworks for streaming video.
   .sea - A Macintosh self-extracting archive file.
   .sit - A Macintosh file that has been compressed using a program
      called Stuffit.
   .tar/.tar.gz/.tar.Z/.tgz - A UNIX archiving scheme that is also
      available for PCs.
   .tiff - A very large, high-resolution image format.
   .txt - A plain (ASCII) text file.
   .uu - A UUencoded file.
   .wav - The native sound format for Windows.
   .Z - A UNIX compression format.
   .zip - A common compression standard for DOS and Windows."

In the opinion of one university's information services department:
   Computer Services
   Oxford Brookes University
   How to handle email attachments in Windows Post

   "These are the most common file attachments you will receive 
   via email.

Subject: Re: Email Attachment File Types
From: rickc-ga on 30 Aug 2002 09:45 PDT
Thanks, Huntsman - this is the most useful of the answers I have
received. It's true that there's no official ranking, unfortunately.


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