How to Open, Edit, and Convert XFDL Files

A file with the XFDL file extension is an Extensible Forms Description Language file. It's a secure type of XML file developed by PureEdge Solutions (a company acquired by IBM in 2005) as a way to create secure and legal electronic forms.

XFDL files are most commonly used in a business or government context when transferring data or buying and selling things over the internet. The data contained in XFDL files typically consist of things like transaction information and digital signatures.

Screenshot of several XFDL files in Windows 10 that open with IBM Forms Viewer
Tim Fisher 

Files with the .XFD extension are the same as ones that use .XFDL. However, be sure you're not confusing your XFDL file with an Acrobat Forms Document file that uses the XFDF file extension.

How to Open an XFDL File

Before opening your XFDL, know that it might be compressed in an archive, which means you have to first extract the XFDL file out of the archive before you can use it. 7-Zip is a popular program that can do this, but so can other free file extractors.

IBM Forms Viewer is the best program for opening XFDL files on a computer. You can also download a free trial of IBM Forms Designer to view and edit XFDL files. To get either program, you must first create a free IBMid account.

IBM Forms hasn't always gone by that name. It was originally called PureEdge Forms before IBM purchased the PureEdge company. It was then called IBM Workplace Forms before changing to Lotus Forms in 2007, and finally, IBM Forms in 2010.

The iOS app XFDL Reader can open XFDL files too, and even save them to PDF or print them.

Since XFDL files just have text in them, a text editor can be used to open and properly display them if you just need to edit the file or view it in text form. You can see what we mean in this example of an XFDL file on IBM's website. As you can see, the whole document is simply a text file, so any text editor like Notepad in Windows, or one from our Best Free Text Editors list, can be used to do open one.

If the information here still doesn't help you open your XFDL file, you might want to double-check that you're not confusing the file with another, similarly-named file extension, like XSD, XFDF, CXF, or XSPF. Although some extensions may appear very similar, it doesn't mean they're at all related or are similar formats in any way.

How to Convert an XFDL File

We don't know of any free file converters that will convert an XFDL file to another format. However, the IBM Forms Designer tool mentioned above can convert an open XFDL to PDF. You can also use IBM Forms Viewer to save the XFDL file as an FRM (Form) file.

The XFDL file can be saved to a non-fillable PDF another way too, using a script, as described in this document on the Army Electronic Publication System website.

To convert the XFDL to a Word document, we recommend first making it a PDF and then using a free PDF to Word converter to save the file to the DOCX or DOC format.

If you need to convert an XFDL to HTML, you can use the Webform Server component of IBM Forms Server.