PGN File Type

- The quick facts

What are PGN files and how to open them

Are you having problems opening a PGN file or just wondering what they contain? We explain what these files are used for and show you software that we know can open or otherwise handle your files.

What is a PGN file?

PGN files have multiple uses, and Portable Gaming Notation is one of them.

Portable Gaming Notation

These files contain the recoded moves and participant data of a played game of chess.

The files are in a formatted text structure. You can view them with any text editor, but the content will be easier to understand with a dedicated PGN viewer.

How to open PGN files

We have identified 6 PGN openers that are compatible with this specific type of PGN file.

Programs that open Portable Gaming Notation files

GNU ChessGNU ChessVerified
Chess WizardChess WizardVerified

Last updated: February 26, 2022

All known file formats using extension .PGN

While Portable Gaming Notation is a popular type of PGN-file, we know of 2 different uses of the .PGN extension. Different software may use files with the same extension for different types of data.

Picatinny Arsenal Electronic Formstore Image

The .pgn file extension is most commonly associated with Picatinny Arsenal Electronic Formstore image files. The PGN files are a TIFF file format used by Picatinny Arsenal Electronic Formstore. The PGN files are compressed image files stored in a lossless compression format.

While we have not verified the apps ourselves yet, our users have suggested 10 different PGN openers which you will find listed below.

Various apps that use files with this extension

These apps are known to open certain types of PGN files. Remember, different programs may use PGN files for different purposes, so you may need to try out a few of them to be able to open your specific file.

ChessBase LightChessBase LightUser submitted
ICC DasherICC DasherUser submitted
WinBoard Startup DialogWinBoard Startup DialogUser submitted
ChessBase ReaderChessBase ReaderUser submitted
Shredder ClassicShredder ClassicUser submitted
MaxQiMaxQiUser submitted
AjedrezNetAjedrezNetUser submitted
KChess EliteKChess EliteUser submitted submitted
Chess Informant ExpertChess Informant ExpertUser submitted

Help us help others helps thousands of users every day, and we would love to hear from you if you have additional information about PGN file formats, example files, or compatible programs. Please use the links below or email us at to discuss further.