What Is a LIST File?

Your LIST file might be an APT list file or a JAR index file, or it could exist in a completely unrelated format

What to Know

  • Some LIST files are APT lists that work through the Debian APT package manager.
  • Others are JAR index files, or are associated with Microsoft Entourage or BlindWrite.

This article describes which file formats use the LIST file extension and how to open and convert the file.

What Is a LIST File?

A file with the LIST file extension might be an APT list file used in the Debian operating system. It contains a collection of software package download sources. They're created by the included Advanced Package Tool.

A JAR index file uses the LIST file extension as well. This kind of LIST file is sometimes stored within a JAR file and is used to hold information about other related content, such as other to-be-downloaded JAR files.

Some web browsers use LIST files, too, like to list words that should or shouldn't be used in the browser's built-in dictionary. Other browsers might use the list for some other purpose, like to describe the DLL files that the program relies on in order to work properly.

Other files using this extension might be associated with Microsoft Entourage or used with BlindWrite.

Screenshot of several LIST files in Windows 10 that open with Notepad
LIST Files.

How to Open a LIST File

Debian uses LIST files with its package management system called Advanced Package Tool. See Installing New Packages With APT, from devconnected, for a tutorial.

LIST files that are associated with JAR files are used along with JAR files via the Java Runtime Environment (JRE). However, if you're able to open the JAR file, you can use a text editor like Notepad, or one from our best free text editors list, to open the LIST file to read its text contents.

If your file is one that stores dictionary items, library dependencies, incompatible programs, or some other list of text content, you can easily open it with any text editor. Use the text editors list above to find some of the best ones for your computer, or use your OS's built-in editor like Notepad (Windows) or TextEdit (Mac).

Microsoft Entourage was Microsoft's email client for Macs that could open LIST files. While it's no longer in development, if a LIST file was created with the program, it may still be able to be viewed in Microsoft Outlook.

LIST files that are associated with a ripped copy of a disc can be opened with BlindWrite from VSO Software.


As you can see, files using this extension can be used by a number of programs. If you have a few of these already installed on your computer, you might find that the file opens in a program that you'd rather not use it with. Learn how to change which program opens LIST files in Windows for help.

How to Convert a LIST File

There are several kinds of LIST files, but in each instance mentioned above, it's unlikely that it can be converted to another file format. 

However, since some are just text files, it's easy to convert one of those to another text-based format like CSV or HTML. While doing so would let you open the file easier in text file openers, changing the file extension from .LIST to .CSV, etc., would mean that the program using the file would no longer understand how to use it.

For example, the Firefox web browser might use a LIST file to explain all the DLL files that it requires. Removing the extension and replacing it with HTML would let you open the file in a web browser or text editor, but it would also render it unusable in Firefox since the program is looking for a file that ends with LIST, not HTML.

If there is any program that can convert a LIST file, it's most likely the same program that can open it. Although this doesn't seem likely, if it is possible, it'd be available somewhere in the program's File menu, maybe called Save As or Export.

Still Can't Open It?

LIST is a short file extension that contains common letters, so it's no surprise how easy it is to mix up other extensions for this one. When this happens, you'll most likely receive errors when trying to open the file in one of the programs linked above.

For example, LIS is a really similar extension, but it has nothing to do with LIST files. SQR Output files and VAX Program Listing files use the LIS extension.

LIT is another. If it's not used for an eBook file format, it's either a source code file or some sort of script. Either way, it might not work as you intend if it's opened with some of the tools mentioned above.

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