What Is a CHN File?

How to open, edit, & convert CHN files

A file with the CHN file extension is an Ethnograph Data file that stores information necessary for running analysis in Qualis Research's Ethnograph software. This software is used by scientists, researchers, engineers, medical professionals, and other professions where data needs to be analyzed.

Some CHN files may instead be associated with Encom's Em Vision software as some sort of 3D model, or possibly used with Marimba Network's Castanet tuner software. Another use for CHN files is as Channel files used with HYPACK's Advanced Channel Design software.

CHN files in Windows 10

Some CHN files may just be EXE files that have been renamed to .CHN files so that you don't accidentally open them. Keep reading to see how to open these types of files.

How to Open a CHN File

CHN files can be opened with Qualis Research's Ethnograph when they're of that format. The full program isn't free but you can download the demo version.

Encom's Em Vision is most likely how you are supposed to open CHN files that are associated with that application, but we don't have a download link to test that.

Files downloaded with the Castanet Tuner program are most likely saved with the .CHN file extension. BMC purchased Marimba, the company that made the Castanet Tuner software, in 2004 and they now offer BMC Helix Client Management.

Channel files that use the CHN file extension can be opened using Advanced Channel Design, which is a program associated with the HYPACK software.

If you have an EXE file that's been renamed with the .CHN extension, all you have to do to open it is rename the .CHN part of the file to .EXE. For example, if the file is called file.chn, rename it to file.exe so that it will open like a regular EXE file.

If you find that an application on your PC does try to open the CHN file but it's the wrong application or if you would rather have another installed program open CHN files, see our How to Change the Default Program for a Specific File Extension guide for making that change in Windows.

How to Convert a CHN File

CHN files clearly have a few different purposes, so the process for converting one to a new format depends entirely on which program the file is used in. However, unlike more popular file types, it's unlikely that a file converter can be used.

You can usually use a program's File > Save As or Export menu to save an open file to a different format, so this is very likely the case with the programs mentioned above that can open CHN files.

We assume that Ethnograph and Em Vision can export their CHN files to formats that other analysis and 3D modeling programs can use, but we haven't verified that.

CHN files downloaded for use with Castanet Tuner are probably different—we take it that this format is specific to that software alone and can't be saved in any other file format.

Other software from the creator of HYPACK, like DREDGEPACK, might be what you need to convert that type of CHN file.

Some files may be titled with a .CHN extension just for temporary purposes, with the assumption that you'll rename the file to .EXE so that you can run it like a regular application file. In these instances, you don't need to convert the CHN to EXE, but instead just rename the file's extension. One example may be to rename file.chn to file.exe.

Still Can't Open the File?

Opening your CHN file in Notepad++ or another text editor may be useful if this information hasn't helped. Doing it this way will let you see the CHN file as a text file, meaning you can see all the text that makes up the file. You may find some text that helps you identify what program was used to create it.

If you still aren't able to open your CHN file in these programs, be careful that you aren't confusing the file extension with that of a CHA, CHW, or CHM (Compiled HTML Help) file, none of which open with the same programs as CHN files.