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How to Open JSON File?

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2nd Nov, 2022
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How to Open JSON File?

Have you ever come across a JSON file and did not know how to open it? Well, you are not alone!

A JSON file stores data in the JSON format for exchange between web servers and web applications. Originally derived from JavaScript, JSON file formats are compatible with multiple databases and programming languages and have a .json file extension. 

But how to open JSON file online if you receive one? Dive in to know all about JSON files and how to open them using readily available tools.

What is a JSON file?

JSON stands for JavaScript Object Notation, a standard format to store and exchange data between web servers and applications. Lightweight and text-based, the JSON format is human-readable and is similar to the XML file format.

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Although JSON was initially JavaScript-based, it is widely considered language-independent with support from many programming APIs. Today, JSON has become a popular alternative to XML. However, you cannot run a JSON file or execute it like an EXE file. Since it is a readable text file, you can open JSON using standard text editing programs, but not all of them will let you edit the JSON file unless you wish to ruin the text formatting. 

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Creating a JSON File

Before we learn how to open JSON file Python, let us quickly understand how to create one.

Steps to create a JSON file:

  1. Open the text editor on your computer.
  2. Now, create a new file in the text editor and save it.
  3. Save the file using the .json extension.
  4. Copy the JSON sample code below, paste it into the file, and save it again.


    “firstName”: “Jack”,

    “lastName”: “Johnson”,

    “gender”: “Male”,

    “age”: 25,

    “address”: {

        “streetAddress”: “2020 Wilson Avenue”,

        “city”: “Carrollton”,

        “state”: “Texas”,

        “postalCode”: “75007”


    “phoneNumbers”: [

        { “type”: “home”, “number”: “7386547627” }



How to open a JSON file?

JSON is a plain text-based file that you can open in any text editor. The web browsers Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome are cross-platforms that can be used to open JSON files across every operating system, the steps for which are given below:

  1. Right-click on the JSON file and choose the ‘Open with’ option from the menu.
  2. From the drop-down menu, choose either Chrome or Firefox.
  3. If you do not find the Chrome in-app menu, click on ‘Choose another app,’ and you will find Chrome and Firefox in the list.

Alternately, you can directly copy the location path of the JSON file and copy it to the browser. Every operating system supports different text editors to read JSON files, a list of which you can find below. You can use these tools or applications to open and edit JSON files.

Operating SystemApplications/Text Editors
WindowsMicrosoft Word, Microsoft Notepad, Notepad++, Mozilla Firefox, File Viewer Plus
MacMacVim, Apple TextEdit, BBEdit
LinuxPICO, Vim, GNU Emacs
AndroidFile Viewer for Android

Read JSON File in Python

You can open JSON file Python and read it since Python has an in-built package that lets users work with JSON data. Among the many functions in the Python json module, load() and loads() are used to read the JSON files. While the load()function is used to parse or read a JSON file, loads()is for parsing a JSON string.

Before you can use the Python json module, you must import it using the following syntax:

import json

Say you have a JSON file named language.json with the following contents:


   ‘name’: ‘Emilia’,

   ‘languages’: [‘English’, ‘French’]


Now, to open and read the above JSON file in Python, you have to follow the steps below:

  1. Import the Python json module.
  2. Use the open() function to open the JSON file (language.json).
  3. Use the load() function to read the JSON file and put the JSON data into a variable.
  4. Use the data retrieved from the JSON file or print it for convenience. 

The following code snippet illustrates the above steps.

import json

with open(‘language.json’) as f:

   data = json.load(f)



{‘name’: ‘Emilia’, ‘languages’: [‘English’, ‘French’]}

Ensure that you save the JSON file on your system with a .json extension. Also, save the Python program and the JSON file in the same directory on your system to avoid raising an exception. 

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Uses of JSON Format

Although the primary use of JSON files was to exchange data between a web server and a web application, they have evolved to serve other purposes, including – 

  • Data storage: MongoDB and several other NoSQL databases use JSON files to store structured data.
  • File configurations: Server-based JavaScript applications such as node.JS, reactJS, and others, use JSON files to store configuration information.
  • Application notifications: Another use of JSON is to deliver notifications to a web server from web applications. Web applications can also use JSON to download the web application state.

Benefits of Using JSON Format

Like XML, JSON facilitates data exchange in a heterogeneous environment and has the following advantages:

  • JSON is simple text, making it safe and suitable for transferring across operating systems and platforms.
  • You can easily open and edit JSON in simple text editors.
  • JSON is compact, and an average JSON string size is about two-thirds of the same data in XML.
  • JSON is easy to read, learn, and understand.


JSON is a simple, readable data format for data structuring. It has a minimal text-based structure, making it both machine and human-readable and a great alternative to XML for data transmission between a web server and web application. JSON files have a .json extension, and you can open JSON file Python and edit using standard text-based editors across major operating systems. 

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Pavan Vadapalli

Blog Author
Director of Engineering @ upGrad. Motivated to leverage technology to solve problems. Seasoned leader for startups and fast moving orgs. Working on solving problems of scale and long term technology strategy.
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1How do I open a JSON file in Windows?

You can use Microsoft Word, Microsoft Notepad, Notepad++, Mozilla Firefox, and File Viewer Plus to open a JSON file in Windows.

2How do I open and read a JSON file in Python?

Python has an in-built JSON package that lets users work with JSON data. The JSON module has methods such as load()and loads()that we can use to read JSON files.

3What is JSON decode?

The json_decode() function is PHP's built-in function that lets us decode a JSON string by converting a JSON encoded string into a PHP variable.

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