What Is JSON File And How To Open It In Readable Format?

When you open a JSON file in your browser, it’s not formatted in a way that is easy to read. If you’re trying to make sense of the data inside, this can be frustrating. But there are four ways you can change the JSON format and open it in a readable way! Let’s get into it.

What Is A JSON File?

JSON, which stands for JavaScript Object Notation, is an open-source data-interchange format. It’s used to store and transmit data between systems. It’s commonly used in web applications since it holds data that can easily be parsed into JavaScript objects by the browser.

  • Different social media websites use JSON to pass information about status updates, users, friends lists, etc.
  • Along with HTML and CSS, JSON is one of the three core technologies of World Wide Web content production.
  • As you’d expect, there are libraries available explicitly designed for parsing JSON in PHP scripts.
  • These make it easy for programmers to build websites that include dynamic elements that adjust based on user interaction or external factors without refreshing the page.


Easy Ways To Open A JSON File

You can open a JSON file with any text editor you like (although some come pre-loaded with extra features that make working with them easier). You’ll need to extract whatever data is in it and save it somewhere to use it. It isn’t always as easy as opening and reading a typical document.

  • The better programs and editors may even format the data for you automatically (or at least put it into an easily readable table).
  • But if not, then there are free HTML parsers available online that will do it for you.
  • With one of those, all you have to do is copy and paste your JSON code into the box on the website and click submit.
  • You’ll get back something that looks just like a standard HTML table, and it’s as easy as that to access the data. Some methods that you can check to access JSON files include:

1. Using Notepad

Notepad is a basic text editor that comes pre-installed on most Windows computers. It only allows you to open up one file at a time and doesn’t include any special features designed specifically for working with other types of files. Still, if all you need to do is take a look and see what’s inside, then Notepad will work just fine:

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Steps To Use:

  1. Save the JSON file in an easily accessible location such as your desktop or documents folder. If there are other, similarly organized data in it (like different arrays or JavaScript objects), then you should save them all as a group.
  2. Right-click the file and select “Open with” from the menu that appears. If there is no such option, then you’ll need to open Notepad manually.
  3. In newer versions of Windows, go to Start > All Programs > Accessories and look for Notepad there. In older versions, go to Start > Run and type “notepad.”
  4. Once Notepad opens up, click File at the top of the window and choose “Open.”
  5. Find your file with an XML file format on your hard drive and double-click it. Unless your text editor has done so automatically, Notepad will now format the file as a table.
  6. Continue reading the file as needed. JSON file extension uses whitespace to organize information (just like HTML and some other markup languages). So make sure you use the same spacing already in place, or your code won’t work correctly.

Notepad is suitable for an introductory look at the data in a JSON file format, but it’s not designed to do anything more complex. You won’t be able to sort it by any particular column, highlight specific values or perform other everyday tasks that you can with a purpose-built editor. There is no spell checker and no way to add notes or comments.


2. Using Firefox

Firefox is a browser from Mozilla which includes several helpful tools for working with a web application and content. It has plugins available that add even more functionality, including one called JSON View. If you need to open a lot of file formats then this can help speed things up:

Steps To Open JSON Files:

  1. Save the JSON data file in an easily accessible location.
  2. Right-click the file and select “Open with” from the menu that appears. If there is no such option, then you’ll need to open Firefox manually. In newer versions of Windows, go to Start > All Programs > Mozilla Firefox and look for Firefox there. In older versions, go to Start > Run and type “Firefox.”
  3. Once Firefox opens up, click File at the top of the window and choose “Open File.”
  4. Find your JSON file and look for a new option called JSON View at the top of the window.
  5. Click JSON View to expand it, then click “View Data in Tree” underneath. The page’s primary content area will now show you everything inside the document, including other arrays and other data types.

You can also change how this information is displayed by clicking Format > Arrange alphabetically, by key, or expand/collapse objects if needed. Note that sometimes these options will not appear right away if you don’t see them after expanding the main content area. Then simply scroll to the top of the page, and they should show up. Also, check for tips to stay safe on the Internet for further help while working.


3. Using Notepad++

Notepad++ is a free text editor and file viewer that focuses on speed, making it ideal for programming purposes. It’s also available in many languages, including Russian, Simplified Chinese, French, and German. If you need any of these options, this would be your best choice for editing JSON files.

Steps To Follow:

  1. Save the JSON file and open it with Notepad++.
  2. Once Notepad++ opens up, click “View” at the top of the window and choose “Side Bar.” A new sidebar will show up on the left, which can be used for sorting through different parts of your file.
  3. Double-click the object you to sort by. In this case, it is “info,” so double-click on “info.” It will expand the sidebar to show different properties inside of that object.
  4. Be careful when changing values here, as you might break your file if these are critical variables. You can also use this window to add notes and comments.
  5. Click File at the top and choose “Save As” or click “Save.”

4. Using ATOM

The easiest way to open a JSON file on a Windows machine is using any text editor. The popular Atom text editor has in-built support for opening JSON files in almost all popular computer languages, including JavaScript.

Steps To Open:

  1. Open Atom by searching your computer for “Atom.”
  2. Once you have opened the program, go to File > Open and locate your JSON file in your files.
  3. After that, select the language that will be used to view/edit the selected file when it is opened under “Language Mode.”
  4. You can select JavaScript if you want to use ATOM’s native JavaScript syntax highlighting.
  5. Once you have done that, your JSON file will open up in ATOM and be displayed as a hierarchical list/ structured data of keys and values.


Summing Up

JSON files open in a readable format when you use one of the four methods we have provided. Why not try them all? You never know what will work best for your needs! If none of these options seem to be working, feel free to reach out and let us help.

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