CDisplay Archived Comic Book Files

How to open, edit, and convert CBR, CBZ, CBT, CB7, and CBA files

What to Know

  • CBR and CBZ files are CDisplay Archived Comic Book files.
  • Open one with CBR Reader, CDisplay Ex, Calibre, or Manga Reader.
  • Convert to eBook formats like PDF, EPUB, or MOBI with CloudConvert or B1 Online Archiver.

This article describes what archived comic book files (CBR, CBZ, CB7, etc.) are, how to open one, and how to convert one to a more recognizable eBook format like EPUB or MOBI.

What Are CBR and CBZ Files?

CDisplay Archived Comic Book files hold comic book pages in image formats like PNG, JPEG, BMP, and GIF. The images are stored in a compressed archive format so that all of them can be viewed, sequentially, from within a comic book reader program or app.

Comic Book files can exist in a RAR, ZIP, TAR, 7Z, or ACE-compressed file. Each format, then, goes by a different name, like CDisplay RAR Archived Comic Book (CBR) if the images are stored in RAR format, or CDisplay ZIP Archived Comic Book (CBZ) if the file uses the ZIP format.

Lifewire / Lara Antal 

The same naming scheme applies to CBT (TAR compressed), CB7 (7Z compressed), and CBA (ACE compressed) files. As you can see, the file extension, or more specifically the last letter of the file extension, tells you what format the CDisplay file was compressed with.

These file extension letters are also abbreviations for unrelated technology terms. See the last section at the bottom of this page for details on that.

How to Open an Archived Comic Book File

CBR comic book file open in CBR Reader

Files that use the CDisplay Archived Comic Book format—be it CBR, CBZ, CBT, CB7, or CBA—can all be opened using CBR Reader, a free comic book format reader program.

Another free, open-source comic book reader program, CDisplay Ex (which was created by David Ayton, who popularized the comic book naming scheme), supports all the already mentioned formats except CBA. GonVisor is another free reader that can open nearly all of these types of files, too.

Some other free CBR and CBZ openers for Windows and/or Mac include Calibre, Sumatra PDF, Manga Reader, ComicRack, and Simple Comic. Linux users may like MComix.

Some of these CBx readers, like GonVisor, can also create a CBR or CBZ file from a collection of images, which is super handy if you want to create your own comic book using one of these popular formats.

A dedicated eBook reader is surely the best way to open and read a CBR, CBZ, CBT, CB7, or CBA file, but if you're interested, the images and other data that make up the book can be manually extracted and viewed individually. This works because, like you learned above, these Comic Book files are actually just renamed archive files.

Contents of a CBR file in 7-Zip

Please know, however, that due to how the images are normally titled, opening a Comic Book file this way doesn't guarantee that the image files will be in the correct viewing order. This is only a helpful thing to do, then, if you want to pull out an image or two, not consume the comic as it's normally intended.

To open a CBZ, CBR, CBT, CB7, or CBA file this way, install a free file extractor like 7-Zip or PeaZip. Then, just right-click whatever CDisplay Archived Comic Book file you have and choose to open it in the file extractor. This is done through the 7-Zip > Open archive option if you're using 7-Zip, but is very similar in other programs.

Mobile Archived Comic Book Readers

If you like reading your comics on the go, CDisplayEx, Astonishing Comic Reader, and ComicRack are free CBR/CBZ readers for Android devices.

iComix and Manga Storm CBR are a couple free ones for iPhone, and Chunky Comic Reader and ComicFlow work on iPad to open CBZ and CBR files.

How to Convert an Archived Comic Book File

CBR to PDF conversion option in Sumatra PDF

If you already have a program on your computer that can open one of these Comic Book files, then converting it to another format is very simple.

Sumatra PDF, for example, can save CBR files to PDF. Calibre converts CBRs to EPUB, DOCX, PDB, and many other formats. Check the Save As or Export options in any of those tools for the destination format you're after.

CBR conversion options at CloudConvert

If you don't have a CBR or CBZ reader, or if your Comic Book file is small enough to quickly upload, we highly recommend Zamzar or CloudConvert. These are two examples of free file converters that support converting CBR & CBZ files online to formats like PDF, PRC, MOBI, LIT, AZW3, and others.

B1 Archive is a website similar to the two just mentioned that can convert CB7, CBR, CBT, and CBZ files to other formats.

If you absolutely need to have your non-CBR/CBZ Comic Book file saved in one of the more popular CBR or CBZ formats, but none of these converters are working properly, remember that you do have the option of extracting the images with a file extractor like we discussed above, and then building your own using a program like GonVisor.

More Information About These Abbreviations

Given that there are several file extensions mentioned on this page, it's important to note that some of them also belong to unrelated technology terms that use them as acronyms.

For example, some CBT files might instead be Computer Based Training files, not TAR-compressed comic book files. Those types of CBT files don't contain comic book images, of course, but are instead some kind of document or media data and will only work with whatever tool created it.

CBT is also an acronym for complete binary tree, core-based training, Cisco broadband troubleshooter, and computer based test.

CBR also stands for constant bit rate, core-based reasoning, content based routing, and can-be-reached.

CBA might also mean control bus address, current buffers active, composite burst-assembly, or call behavior analysis.

CBZ is also slang for Cyber Boxing Zone.

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