What Is a BBS File?

How to Open, Edit, and Convert BBS Files

Screenshot of several BBS files in Windows 10 that open with Notepad
BBS Files.

BBS stands for Bulletin Board System, so a file with the BBS file extension is a Bulletin Board System Text file. They’re used by a BBS to store things like messages, descriptions, and metadata information.

DIZ files might be used along with BBS files in a Bulletin Board System, but those are used to describe the types of files users upload to the server.

Note: BBS is also an abbreviation for battery backup system, be back soon, BIOS boot specification, broadband switch, and baseband switch, but those terms have nothing to do with BBS files as described on this page.

How to Open BBS Files

Since a Bulletin Board System Text file is just a plain text file (see below) that uses the .BBS file extension, you can open one with any program that reads and edits text documents. We have a list of our favorites in this Best Free Text Editors list.

Screenshot of a sample BBS file open in Notepad++
BBS File Example.

Because BBS files are not a common file extension, there’s a good chance that your text editor will not open it when you double-click or double-tap it. Instead, you want to open the BBS opener first and then use the program’s menu (probably the File > Open option) to browse for and open the BBS file.

Or, if you’d rather, you could change the file extension of the BBS file so that it will look to your editor as if it’s a recognizable file (see how below). For example, since most text editors are built with support for opening .TXT files, you could rename your BBS file to use the TXT file extension. That should let it open normally when you double-click (or double-tap) the file.

BBS files can also be opened with BBS software like Mystic BBS or Maximus BBS, but the specific steps to do so are different for every program. For example, you need to follow these steps to open a BBS file with Mystic BBS.

How to Convert a BBS File

It might make more sense to you to convert the BBS file instead of keep it with the .BBS file extension. Fortunately, because a BBS file is a text file, it’s really easy to convert one.

Similar to opening one, you can convert a BBS file with a text editor like Notepad in Windows or TextEdit in macOS, or with any of the free programs mentioned in that text editors link above.

When you convert a BBS file with a text editor, you can choose from a variety of text-based formats like TXT, HTML, and many others.

Like mentioned above, you could even rename the file extension to “convert” the file to TXT. It’s not a true conversion since you’re just renaming the file but a real conversion from BBS to TXT isn’t even necessary since the BBS file is already in the plain text file format like .TXT files.

To rename the BBS file to TXT in Windows, you have to show hidden file extensions.

Screenshot of the File Explorer Options window in Windows 10
Show Hidden File Extensions (Windows 10).

Here’s how:

  1. Execute the control folders command in the Run dialog box (WIN+R).
  2. When that window opens, go into the View tab.
  3. Locate the Hide extensions for known file types option and remove the check so that file extensions are shown, not hidden.
  4. Right-click or tap-and-hold the BBS file and choose Rename.
  5. When the file name is highlighted and ready to be renamed, change the .bbs portion to be .txt.
  6. Press Enter and then confirm the name change with Yes.

Note: Changing a file extension is not a real file conversion. Converting a file can normally done with a file converter tool, but most don't support BBS files.

Still Can’t Open the File?

All Bulletin Board System Text files are plain text and can be used as described above. If you can’t do that with your file—either open it with a text editor or convert it to a text file format—then you probably don’t have a BBS file. This might happen if you’ve misread the file extension.

The file you have might use an extension that looks a lot like it says “BBS” even though it’s just similar. The file needs to end with .BBS for it to be considered a Bulletin Board System Text file.

For example, BBB files look a lot like BBS even though they’re BlackBerry Mobile Phone Backup files, which have nothing to do with BBS files used with a Bulletin Board System. If you have a BBB file, you might have luck opening it with the BlackBerry desktop software or BlackBerry Backup Extractor.

Another suffix that could be confused for a BBS file is PPS. That file extension belongs to Microsoft PowerPoint and as such, PPS files cannot be used with the same programs that open BBS files. The two formats are used for two different reasons and so require different file openers.