How to Open, Edit, and Convert A2W Files

Screenshot of several A2W files in Windows 10

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 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.

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 software on Windows, Mac, and Linux through the File > Open World... menu.

Alice is portable, which means it doesn't need to be installed. You can find a handful of sample A2W files in the \Alice\Required\exampleWorlds\ folder.

Since A2W files are saved in a ZIP archive, you could also open them with 7-Zip or any of these free file extractors. Opening the A2W file in 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.

The Adlib Tracker II program is used to open Adlib Tracker II Instrument Bank files with macros. The software runs on Windows too, even though it's a DOS program.

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

If you find that an application on your PC does try to open the A2W file but it's the wrong application or if you would rather have another installed program open A2W files, here's how to change the default program for a specific file extension in Windows.

How to Convert an A2W File

You can use the File > Export As A Web Page... option in the Alice software to save the A2W file to a folder that includes an HTML and JAR file. You can then open the HTML file in a web browser like Chrome or Firefox to see the animation play without needing Alice.

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 the Adlib Tracker software 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 Alice World files or Adlib Tracker files.

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