File | Data File | Program File.

The term file refers to named data stored in a file system.

Files can be created, renamed, copied, deleted and also have other attributes assigned to them, such as read only or hidden. There are numerous types of file, we look at some of these below.

Data files

Data file refers to a file that contains information which has been created by a computer application process (software or firmware).

For example, when you save a document that you have created using a word processor, you are creating a data file. Other data file examples include database tables, MP3 files, digital photos (which are created by the firmware on your camera) and spreadsheet workbooks.

Some data files are only readable by the software application which created them, while other data files can be accessed by many different software applications.

I/O files

I/O (Input/Output) files are system-generated data files which are used to store information which has either just been received (input) by a device, or information about to be sent (output) to a device.

Master files

Master file refers to a data file which contains the main data used by a computer application. The main queries and computations within the system would be carried out using this master file.

Program files

A program file is a file that contains executable instructions, these instructions may be stored in either source code or object code. An example of a program file commonly found under the Microsoft Windows operating system would be the text editor notepad.exe, whereas the files that it creates are data files.

Transaction files

This type of file is usually used in batch processing. A transaction file is created by the batch process to record the transactions which occur during the update of a master file.

Work files

This refers to a file which exists purely to hold and pass information between two processes.