7.1 What exactly is a file, anyway?

Examples of different files in your desktop view

The simplest definition of a file is “A group of information that is processed by a computer as a single unit.”

You can use many different kinds of files. For example, colour images, digital music, digital videos, and Microsoft Word documents are all types of files. You also could think of a file as a digital copy of something real that you can use on your computer. When you use various programs, you often look at, make, or change files.

Usually, a file is shown by an icon. In the picture below, you can see a variety of files on the desktop below the Recycle Bin.