How to Open, Edit, & Convert AAF Files

Screenshot of several AAF files in Windows 10

Tim Fisher 


A file with the AAF file extension is an Advanced Authoring Format file. It contains complex multimedia information like video and audio clips, as well as metadata information for that content and project.

Most video editing programs utilize proprietary formats for their project files. When multiple programs support the importing and exporting of AAF files, it's easy to move the working contents of a project from one application to another.

The AAF format was developed by the Advanced Media Workflow Association.

How to Open an AAF File

Several programs exist that are compatible with AAF files including Adobe After EffectsAdobe Premiere Pro, Apple's Final Cut Pro, Avid's Media Composer (formerly Avid Xpress), Sony's Vegas Pro, and more. These programs use AAF files to import project information from another AAF supporting program or export it for use in another.

Many files are text-only files meaning no matter the file extension, a text editor (like one from our Best Free Text Editors list) may be able to properly display the file's contents. However, we don't think this is the case with AAF files. At best, you might be able to view some metadata or file header information for the AAF file in a text editor but considering the multimedia components of this format, we highly doubt that a text editor will show you anything useful.

If the programs we mentioned above won't open your file, double-check that you're not confusing an AAC, AXX, AAX (Audible Enhanced Audiobook), AAE (Sidecar Image Format), AIFF, AIF, or AIFC file for an AAF file.

If you find that an application on your PC does try to open the AAF file but it's the wrong application or if you would rather have another installed program open AAF files, see our guide for making that change in Windows.

How to Convert an AAF File

The software from above that can open AAF is likely able to export the AAF file to OMF (Open Media Framework), a similar format as AAF.

Converting AAF files to multimedia file formats like MP3, MP4, WAV, etc., can be done with AnyVideo Converter HD, and probably some similar video converter programs. You might also be able to convert the AAF file to these formats by opening it in one of the above programs and then exporting/saving the media files.

AnyVideo Converter HD is only free for the first 15 conversions.

If you can't find a free AAF converter that works, AATranslator might be a good alternative. Just be sure to buy the Enhanced Version.