What Is a FACE File?

How to open, edit, and convert FACE files

Mid adult man searching for files in filing cabinet
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A file with the FACE or FAC file extension is a Usenix FaceServer Graphic file created on Unix-based operating systems. Though the format has been replaced by ones like JPG and GIF, it was originally used as the format for pictures taken of USENIX conferences.

Some facial recognition systems, especially those on some smartphones, use the FACE file extension to store face tagging information, and they are of a similar graphics-based format.

FACE is also an acronym for some terms that have nothing to do with a file format, like Fiber Access Covering Everyone, Framed Access Communications Environment, and Florida Association for Computers in Education, Inc.

Several FACE files in Windows 10 that open with XnView
Lifewire / Tim Fisher

How to Open a FACE File

Open FACE with the free XnView program. Other graphics tools that work with raster-based images may be able to open FACE files too.

You might also be able to open a FACE file in other image viewers by just renaming the extension to .JPG. This trick prompts the program to recognize the file as a JPG image, which the program can likely open, and then possibly display the photo correctly if the application can actually recognize the internal structure of the format.

It's impractical to open FACE files from a smartphone because they can use up a lot of storage space if there are lots of them. The Android OS (and maybe similar devices) employ a feature called Tag Buddy that produces FACE files and sometimes even .FACE folders.

If you find that an application on your PC does try to open the FACE file but it's the wrong application, or if you would rather have another installed program open FACE 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 FACE File

Few free file converters except for Konvertor convert a FACE file to another format.

However, you might be able to change the .FACE extension to .JPG and then use a free image converter to convert the JPG file to something else, like PNG. Though it's not free, Graphics Converter Pro from Newera Software supports the FACE format plus more than 500 other graphic formats.

How to Stop Making FACE Files

Since FACE files on a phone are made automatically through the Tag Buddy feature, you have to turn off Tag Buddy to stop the auto-creation of the FACE files. Consult the documentation for the Tag Buddy system for your particular phone for additional information.

Still Can't Open Your File?

If your file won't open with the FACE file openers mentioned above, then there's a good chance that your file isn't really in this particular graphics file format. It might instead be a totally different format with an entirely different file extension, which means that it opens with a different program.

For example, FACE files are not the same as FACEFX files, which are FaceFX Actor 3D model files created with OC3 Entertainment's FaceFX program. Although the two file extensions are similarly spelled, their formats are actually not related at all.