What is a .ECW File And How To Open It – ERDAS (Guide)

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Have you came across a file with the .ecw extension, but it is a file you have never seen before? Perhaps you know what the file is, but you simply don’t know how to open it. Fear not, in this article we will show you how to easily open the .ecw file in few simple steps on various systems.

What is a .ECW file?

The .ECW file extension is Enhanced Compression Wavelet Image. The development of this file was done by ERDAS. The format of this file is binary, and it is a raster related file.

What to know

There are currently 5 software that can open the .ecw file on 1 platform.

How to open a .ECW file?

In this part of the article we will show you how to open the .ECW file on various operating systems.

How to open a .ECW file on Windows (7, 8, 10)

There are 4 simple steps to open the .ecw file on Windows.

1. The first step is to download the QGIS software. This software will be used for opening the file. The other software that you can use is ERDAS IMAGINE, Safe Software FME Desktop, TatukGIS Viewer, IrfanView and QGIS.

Step 2

Step 2: Locating your .ECW file

2. In the second step you need to locate the downloaded file. If you don’t remember where you have downloaded your file to, you should check your /download/ folder as it usually gets automatically saved there.

Step 3

Step 3: Choose “Open with”

3. In the third step, after locating your file, right click on it and click “Open with”.

Step 4

Step 4: Choose the software and click ok

4. In the fourth step, after clicking “Open with”, you should see the QGIS software that you have downloaded. Choose your software and click on “OK”. Congratulations! You have opened your file on Windows.

Still cannot open the .ECW file?

If you are still unable to open the .ECW file, it might be because you are trying to open the wrong one. There are many similar file extensions that look like the .ECW file.ecw – Green Eclipse. You might be trying to open one of them. Please recheck the file extension again.


In this article you have learned how to open the .ECW file with the QGIS, ERDAS IMAGINE, Safe Software FME Desktop, TatukGIS Viewer, IrfanView programs on Windows.