What Is a BBS File?

A bulletin board system might store text content in BBS files

What to Know

  • A BBS file is a bulletin board system text file.
  • Use any text editor to open it. Notepad++ is one example.
  • That same program can convert the file to other text-based formats.

This article explains what a BBS file is and how to open or convert one on your computer.

What Is a BBS File?

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.

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 described on this page.

How to Open BBS Files

Since this is a plain text file (see below), 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.

sample BBS file
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 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 take 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 you read 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. You can learn how to do that in our What Is a File Extension? article.

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

Still Can’t Open the File?

All BBS 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 have a completely different 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.

One suffix you might confuse for this one is PPS. That one belongs to PowerPoint, and as such, 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.

BSB is another example. It's used by BioShock as a save game file.

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