What is an AC3 File?

How to Open, Edit, & Convert AC3 Files

Picture of the AC3 file icon

A file with the AC3 file extension is an Audio Codec 3 file. Much like MP3s, the AC3 file format uses lossy compression to reduce the overall size of the file.

The AC3 format was created by Dolby Laboratories and is often the format used in movie theaters, video games, and DVDs.

Note: AC-3, short for Arc Consistency Algorithm #3, is an algorithm that has nothing to do with the Audio Codec 3 file format.

How To Open an AC3 File

AC3 files can be opened with Apple's QuickTime, Windows Media Player, MPlayer, VLC, and I imagine many other multi-format media players as well, such as CyberLink PowerDVD.

Open Freely, a free "file opener" tool, is another program that will play AC3 files.

If you find that an application on your PC does try to open the AC3 file but it's the wrong application or if you would rather have another installed program open AC3 files, see my How To Change the Default Program for a Specific File Extension guide for making that change in Windows.

How To Convert an AC3 File

Several free audio converters support converting AC3 files to other audio formats like MP3, AAC, WAV, M4A, and M4R.

My two favorite AC3 converters, Zamzar and FileZigZag, work in your web browser, which means you just have to upload the AC3 file to one of those websites, choose an output format, and then save the converted file back to your computer.

More Help With AC3 Files

See Get More Help for information about contacting me on social networks or via email, posting on tech support forums, and more. Let me know what kinds of problems you're having with opening or using the AC3 file and I'll see what I can do to help.