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What is the .HDF File Extension?

.HDF File Extension Description:

The HDF (Hierarchical Data Format) file extensions are standardized file format for storing scientific data. They are most commonly used in Environmental Science, Neutron Scattering, Non-Destructive Testing, and Aerospace fields. HDF utilities are able to manipulate, analyze, view, visualize, and convert scientific data from files with the .hdf file extensions.

The HDF technology addresses data management challenges because it allows organizations to easily share data across a wide variety of computational platforms by using applications written in different programming languages. It also allows objects of hierarchical data to be duly expressed in an especially natural manner. This, of course, would contrast relational databases' tables. HDF file extensions support n-dimensional datasets; each element may itself be a complex object.

Files with the HDF file extensions are very much like the XML documents because both are regarded as self-describing and enable the users to point out dependencies and complex data relations. However, unlike XML files, the HDF file extensions can contain binary data displayed in many representations allowing direct access to the parts of the file even without first parsing the entire contents.

The HDF file extensions also offer flexible format and powerful API that define their own data objects and project specific to those objects. They provide an increasingly large percentage of the total development effort of the data management portion of the code. Projects that adopt the HDF file extensions are assured of the technology that they rely on to manage their data. They are not proprietary format dependent and are not binary-only software.

The two most frequently used versions of the HDF file extensions are the HDF4 and HDF5, each of which includes software libraries which contain functions such as analyzing and manipulating the data in HDF files.

The programs that can read and process the HDF file extensions on Windows, Mac and Linux are NCSA HDFView, and Basic ENVISAT Atmospheric Toolbox (BEAT). On both Linux and Windows, the GDAL (Geospatial Data Abstraction Library) can open files with the HDF file extensions while on Mac and Windows, the WaveMetrics IGOR Pro can.

Author: The HDF Group
Author URL:
Related Applications: NCSA HDFView, Basic ENVISAT Atmospheric Toolbox (,BEAT),, GDAL, WaveMetrics IGOR Pro
Common Path: N/A


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Do you have errors with .HDF files?

The Reason for .HDF files Errors:

.HDF files errors are potential severe Windows file system errors and can be brought on due to a defective program registry that you should rectify immediately to protect against even further corruption in other applications and/or hardware. Dangers include device failure, blue screen errors and fatal crashes.

Symptoms of .HDF files Errors:

Common symptoms from .HDF files errors include poor personal computer speed, excessive software load times, failure saving files, long pauses in application functions, applications exits without displaying an indication of error, input freezing and programs crash.

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What is the .HDF File Extension?    |    How to Fix .HDF File Extension Errors    |    Repair .HDF File Errors