What Is the File Extension RDF?


File extensions are associated with the software programs that can open and use them. The .RDF file extension is used by many programs and applications, but the most common is for a Resource Description Framework file, a document used by web browsers.


  • An .RDF extension can have other meanings. It can also mean a Report Definition file (used by Oracle and Chromeleon programs), or a Rate Description file (used by the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention: http://www.cdc.gov/). About a dozen other companies have .RDF files for their applications, all with different functions.

Primary Function

  • In the most common context, .RDF files are documents written in the Resource Description Framework (RDF) language. These files hold "metadata" information about a website such as keywords, website maps and web page descriptions. They can also store configuration settings for toolbars and windows. .RDF files are also used for Rich Site Summary (RSS) feeds on the web.

Secondary Functions

  • Many nonbrowser programs use the .RDF file extension. Some database and spreadsheet programs use it for a Report Definition File.


  • Chances are, your browser is using an .RDF file right now, to help you find web pages based on a search keyword you typed.

Fun Fact

  • A ham radio company uses .RDF files to store data about radio usage.

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  • Photo Credit M. Shea
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