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Native file format refers to the default file format that an application uses to create or save files. Most software developers create their own proprietary file formats, which can only be used by their own software, at least initially. When the software or application becomes popular enough that other developers create software that mimics or extends its functionalities, they will also use this format. This is one of the ways that a file format becomes standard in its own field of use.
Native file formats vary depending on the type of software that created them. The contents will also vary wildly from simple ASCII characters, to mathematical equations outlining vectors for graphics. Some software programs have the ability to save files in formats aside from their native formats. For example, Microsoft Word’s native file format is .docx, but users are still given the option to save in other formats like .txt, .pdf and .rtf, which can also be used by Word. Photoshop, as well as other image-editing software, can be saved in most or all available image formats. In the same vein, CAD and 3-D modeling software can save and read files from other similar software or in standard file formats used for these types of data.