What Is a WEBM File?

How to open, edit, and convert WEBM files

What to Know

  • A WEBM file is a video in the WebM format.
  • Open one with VLC or your web browser.
  • Convert to MP4, GIF, MP3, etc., with Zamzar.

This article explains what a WEBM file is, how to play one on your devices, and how to convert one to a different file format like an MP4 video file or MP3 audio file.

What Is a WEBM File?

A file with the .WEBM file extension is a WebM video file. It's based on the same video format that utilizes the MKV file extension.

Since this format is sometimes used on HTML5 websites for video streaming, it's supported by most web browsers. For example, in most browsers, YouTube uses the WebM Video file format for all of its videos, from 360p up to high resolutions. So do Wikimedia and Skype.

WEBM Files

How to Play WEBM Files

You can open a WEBM video with most modern web browsers, including Chrome, Opera, Firefox, and Edge. If you want to play one in the Safari browser on a Mac, you can do so through VLC with the VLC for Mac OS X plug-in.

If your browser won't play the video, make sure it's fully updated. WebM support was included starting with Chrome 6, Opera 10.60, Firefox 4, and Internet Explorer 9 (with the WebM for IE plug-in). Those are all ancient versions, so chances are slim that your browser is this outdated.

WEBM file playing in the Edge browser
WEBM video in Edge.

This video format is also supported by Windows Media Player (if DirectShow Filters are installed too), MPlayer, KMPlayer, and Miro.

If you're on a Mac, you can use most of the same programs supported by Windows, as well as the free Elmedia Player.

Devices running Android 2.3 Gingerbread and newer can open WebM videos natively without any special apps. If you need to open WEBM files on iOS, use PlayerXtreme Video Player or VLC media player. You can also convert it to a supported format (see below).

See The WebM Project for other compatible media players.

How to Convert a WEBM File

If you need to use your file with a specific program or device that doesn't support the format, you can convert the video to a file format that is supported by using a free video file converter program. Some of them are offline programs that you have to download, but there are also some online WEBM converters.

Software like Miro Video Converter and MiniTool Video Converter can convert one to MP4, AVI, and a number of other video file formats. Zamzar is an easy way to convert from WEBM to MP4 online (it even lets you save the video as a GIF file). Other tools from that list can convert the video to MP3 and other audio file formats, so the video is stripped, and you're left with just the sound content.

WEBM to MP4 conversion on Zamzar

If you use an online tool, remember that you have to first upload the video to the website and then download it again after the conversion. You might reserve online converters for when you need to convert a small video, or it could take a long time to finish the entire process.

More Information on the WEBM Format

WebM is a compressed file format. It was initially built to use VP8 video compression and Ogg Vorbis for audio, but it now supports VP9 and Opus as well.

WebM has been developed by a number of companies, including On2, Xiph, Matroska, and Google. The format is available for free under a BSD license.

Still Can't Open It?

Some file formats use file extensions that look like they're spelled the same, which can imply that they're in the same format and can be opened with the same software. However, this isn't necessarily true and can be confusing when you can't get your file to open.

For example, WEM files are spelled almost exactly like WEBM files but are instead WWise Encoded Media files that open with Audiokinetic's WWise. Neither the programs nor the file formats are similar and are therefore incompatible with the other format's file viewers/openers/converters.

WEB files are similar, but they are Xara Web Document files used by the Xara Designer Pro. Similar ones include WEBP files (WebP Image files used by Google Chrome and other programs) and EBM files (they're either EXTRA! Basic Macro files for Extra! or Embla Recording files used with Embla RemLogic).

Double-check the file extension if your file isn't opening with the programs mentioned above. It might be in an entirely different format that none of these programs can open.

  • How do you make a WEBM file?

    There are various free tools available to help you create a WEBM file. Many of these tools also serve as WEBM converters, allowing you to convert a video file to WEBM format. Some WEBM creation tools include Leawo, Video2Edit, and FFmpeg.

  • How do I reduce WEBM file size?

    Use a WEBM compressor to reduce a WEBM file's size. Some online tools do this for you, such as XConvert, Clideo, Compresss.com, Media.io, and more.

  • How do I convert a WEBM file to PDF?

    While a video can't be converted to a PDF, there are tools that take your WEBM file, extract the audio, then present the transcribed result as a PDF file. One such tool is Sonix, which offers a free trial account. You upload a WEBM file and select its language. Then Sonix uses artificial intelligence to transcribe the audio and convert it to a downloadable PDF.

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