What Is an A2W File?

An A2W file could be a 3D world for the Alice program, or instrument banks used by Adlib Tracker II

What to Know

  • A2W = 3D world archive used with the Alice educational program. Contains text, images, folders, and XML.
  • Open: Open Alice software > select File > Open World > select A2W file. Can open as ZIP file for contents.
  • Convert: Open Alice > select File > Export Video > save MOV video. Select Export Code For Printing for HTML.

This article describes the two possible formats an A2W file could be in, plus how to open the file and how to convert one to a different format.

What Is an A2W File?

A file with the A2W file extension is a 3D world file used with the Alice educational program from Carnegie Mellon University. The "world" is a 3D-animated scene 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 format holds instruments that the Adlib Tracker software uses to create musical compositions, and are probably seen along with Adlib Tracker songs (.A2M) and individual instruments (.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 opens A2W instrument banks.

How to Convert an A2W File

Go to File > Export Video 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 (A2W or A2B), but it's possible Adlib Tracker has that ability.

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, 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, use Alice 3 player. Or, if you know it's not associated with a 3D world, it's most likely an Adobe Authorware project.

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