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 Though the format has been replaced by ones like JPG and GIF, it was originally used as the format for pictures taken of USENIX conferences.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

FACE files can be opened with the free XnView program. Other graphics tools that work with raster-based images may be able to open FACE files too, but I haven't confirmed anything beyond XnView.

You might also be able to open a FACE file in other image viewers by just renaming the extension to .JPG. This will let the program 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 format.

I don't know of any way to open FACE files from a smartphone, but they can use up a lot of disk space if there are lots of them. The Android OS (and maybe similar devices) have a feature called Tag Buddy that produces FACE files and maybe 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

I'm not aware of any free file converters except Konvertor that can convert a FACE file to another format.

Also, remember what I mentioned above — 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 over 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 if you want to stop the auto-creation of the FACE files.

These are general instructions for disabling Tag Buddy on a Samsung smartphone (you might have to adapt these steps to apply them to your own device):

  1. Open the Gallery app.
  2. Tap the three-dotted stacked menu at the top-right of the screen.
  3. Choose Settings from that drop-down menu.
  4. Scroll down to the Tags section and tap Tag buddy.
  5. Toggle the Tag buddy feature off with the switch at the top-right.

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.

Similar is the WinAce Compressed file format that uses the .ACE file extension. Those are compressed archives that hold other files and folders under one file with the .ACE file extension, and are far from the image format seen with FACE files.

If you don't have a FACE file, research the file extension that you do have to see which software programs are necessary to have on your computer in order to open or convert the file.