What Is an A2W File?

How to Open, Edit, & Convert A2W Files

What to Know

  • An A2W file is an Alice World file.
  • Open one with the Alice program.
  • Use that same software to convert one to MOV.

This article describes two formats that use the A2W file extension. See how to open both kinds and how to convert the A2W file to a different format.

What Is an A2W File?

A file with the A2W file extension is an Alice World file used with the Alice educational program from Carnegie Mellon University. The file is a 3D animated scene called a "world" that's used for teaching computer programming.

A2W files are just ZIP archives that contain things like a script.py file, some text documents, images, numerous folders, and XML files that the Alice application can understand. You might also see Alice object files, class files, and project files (A2C, A3C, and A3P) along with A2W files when using the Alice software.

A2W files

An A2W file may instead be an Adlib Tracker II Instrument Bank (.A2B) file that includes macros. This file format holds instruments that the Adlib Tracker software uses to create musical compositions and are probably seen along with Adlib Tracker Song files (.A2M) and individual Instrument files (.A2I).

How to Open an A2W File

A2W files can be opened with the free Alice 2 software on Windows, Mac, and Linux through the File > Open World menu. The program is portable, which means it doesn't need to be installed. You can find a handful of sample A2W files in the \Required\exampleWorlds\ folder.

A2W file open in Alice
A2W file open in Alice.

Since these files are saved in the ZIP format, you could also open them with 7-Zip or any of these free file extractors. Opening the file this way doesn't let you use it with Alice. This method is only useful if you want to see or gain access to the individual XML files, images, etc. that make up the file.

Adlib Tracker II is used to open instrument banks.

If you find that an application on your PC does try to open the file but it's the wrong application or you'd rather have another installed program open the file, you can change the default program that opens A2W files in Windows.

How to Convert an A2W File

You can use the File > Export Video option in Alice to save the A2W file to a MOV video file. The same menu has an Export Code For Printing option that exports some details to an HTML file.

Alice export to MOV menu

We don't know if there's any way to convert an Adlib Tracker II Instrument Bank file (A2W or A2B), but it's possible that Adlib Tracker has the ability to do that.

Most file types (like MP3, PDF, JPG, etc.) can be converted with little effort thanks to numerous free file converters out there, but that just isn't the case for the formats described here.

Still Can't Open It?

The A2W file extension is very similar in appearance to AZW (Amazon's Kindle format), as well as ARW and ABW, so be sure you're reading the extension appropriately if your file doesn't open with Alice or Adlib Tracker.

If the file extension says A3W instead, you can use the Alice 3 player.

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