Software & Apps File Types 36 36 people found this article helpful What Are WAV & WAVE Files? How to open, edit, & convert a WAV or WAVE file By Tim Fisher General Manager, VP, Lifewire.com Tim Fisher has 30+ years' professional technology support experience. He writes troubleshooting content and is the General Manager of Lifewire. our editorial process Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Tim Fisher Updated November 18, 2019 File Types Design Cryptocurrency MS Office Windows Linux Google Drive Apps File Types Backup & Utilities View More Tweet Share Email A file with the .WAV or .WAVE file extension is a Waveform Audio file. This is a standard audio format seen mainly on Windows computers. WAV files are usually uncompressed but compression is supported. Uncompressed WAV files are larger than other popular audio formats, like MP3, so they're typically not used as the preferred audio format when sharing music files online or buying music, but instead for things like audio editing software, operating system functions, and video games. WAV is an extension of the bitstream format Resource Interchange File Format (RIFF) which you can read a lot more about at soundfile.sapp.org. WAV is similar to AIFF and 8SVX files, both of which are more commonly seen on Mac operating systems. How to Open a WAV/WAVE File WAV files can be opened with Windows Media Player, VLC, iTunes, QuickTime, Microsoft Groove Music, Winamp, Clementine, XMMS, and very likely some other popular media player applications as well. It's highly unlikely that your .WAV or .WAVE file is something other than an audio file, but it's possible that it could be saved in a different format but with one of those file extensions. To test this, open the WAV or WAVE file in a free text editor to view it as a text document. If the first entry you see is "RIFF," then your WAV/WAVE file is an audio file that should open with one of those programs listed above. If it doesn't, then your particular file may be corrupt (try downloading or copying it again). If the text reads something else, or you know for sure it's not an audio file, one thing you can do is try to look for another word or phrase in the file that might help start your search for what type of file it might be. In the highly unlikely situation where your WAV file is just a text document, which would be the case if the text is readable and not gibberish, then any text editor can be used to open and read the file. Considering all number of audio player programs out there, and that it's very likely you have more than one installed right now, you may find that one program automatically opens WAV and WAVE files when you actually would prefer a different do it. If that's true, see our How to Change File Associations in Windows tutorial for help doing that. How to Convert a WAV/WAVE File WAV files are best converted to other audio formats (like MP3, AAC, FLAC, OGG, M4A, M4B, M4R, etc.) with one of these Free Audio Converter Software Programs. If you have iTunes installed, you can convert WAV to MP3 without having to download any extra software. Here's how: With iTunes open, navigate to the Edit > Preferences menu in Windows, or iTunes > Preferences on a Mac. With the General tab selected, click or tap the Import Settings button. Next to the Import Using drop-down menu, choose MP3 Encoder. Click OK a couple of times to exit the settings windows. Select one or more songs that you want iTunes to convert to MP3, and then use File > Convert > Create MP3 Version menu option. This will keep the original audio file but also make a new MP3 with the same name. Some other free file converters that support converting a WAV file to another format are FileZigZag and Zamzar. These are online converters, which means you have to upload the WAV file to the website, have it converted, and then download it back to your computer. This method is great for smaller WAV files. More Information on WAV & WAVE Files This file format can not hold files that exceed 4 GB in size, and some software programs may even restrict this further, to 2 GB. Some WAV files are actually used to store non-audio data, such as signal forms called waveforms. Still Can't Open the File? If your file isn't opening after using the programs from above, there's a really good chance that you're misreading the file extension. It can be easy to confuse one file extension for another if they're spelled similarly, which means that even though they might look related, they could be in two entirely different file formats that require different file openers. WVE is one example of a file extension that resembles WAVE and WAV, but it's not an audio file at all. WVE files are Wondershare Filmora Project files that open with the Wondershare Filmora video editing program. Others might be WaveEditor Project files used with CyberLink Media Suite. If it's not really a WAV or WAVE file that you have, research the actual file extension to learn which programs can open or convert it.