Technology Explained

The 6 Best NFO File Readers to Open Your NFO Documents

Gavin Phillips Updated 05-06-2020

An NFO file is a type of text file that usually accompanies digital media downloads from certain sources. More than just a simple text file, NFO files also allow for elaborate ASCII artwork to accompany the details of the download or to embed XML tags for media libraries.

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So, here’s what an NFO file is, where you find them, and how to open and view NFO files—to their full potential.

What Is an NFO File?

NFO files are typically associated with media downloaded using a distributed file network, such as BitTorrent, or through a warez site. They are strongly associated with communities that pirate media, software, and other digital files. NFO itself is a contraction of “information,” which is what the file provides.

The NFO file includes information regarding the media, such as release date, genre, title, bitrate, subtitles, audio and video codec, resolution, and so on. Some NFO files attached to pirate software will also include information on how to install the program without triggering anti-piracy software or trackers.

As well as that, NFO files usually provide information on the person uploading the file and might include shoutouts to other pirates and file uploaders, requests for cryptocurrency donations for their efforts, contact details for file requests, and details of upcoming releases.

Kodi, Plex, and NFO Files

Media streaming and organization services such as Kodi and Plex use NFO files to update media library information. An NFO file can contain XML data that the services can read, updating your library accordingly, using tags such as title, user rating, outline, plot, runtime, genre, and so on.

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The Best NFO File Viewers

If you find an NFO file on your system and want to view its contents, you can use a standard text file program, such as Notepad for Windows or TextEdit for macOS. However, opening an NFO file in those basic text editing programs doesn’t unlock the full potential of the file. At the very least, you won’t view the ASCII artwork in its true form, missing out on its glory.

There are several excellent NFO file viewers available for each operating system.

1. Notepad++

notepad++ NFO files

Notepad++ is a significant step up from the Windows Notepad. It supports several programming languages, multiple tabs, and heaps of other features. Importantly, it can display NFO files, as well as edit and convert them, too.

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There’s no wonder it features on our list of the best Notepad alternatives The 6 Best Windows Notepad Alternatives Windows Notepad is too simple, but Microsoft Office is overkill? If you're looking for a Notepad replacement, here are the leading alternatives. One will be perfect for you. Read More .

Download: Notepad++ for Windows (Free)

2. NFO Viewer

NFO View nfo file viewer

NFO Viewer is a “simple viewer for NFO files.” It presents your NFO files in a simple yet effective manner and doesn’t mess around with fonts or other visual effects. Better still, NFO Viewer is free and open-source, so you can check out the source code if you want.

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Once you open the NFO file, you can edit the font style and color, the line spacing, toggle through the color schemes, or select a custom color scheme. NFO Viewer also makes any URLs in the NFO file clickable, which is handy.

Download: NFO Viewer for Windows or Linux (Free)

3. Jane

jane NFO file viewer

Jane (Just Another Nasty Editor) is one of the most feature-packed NFO viewers available to Windows users. Not only that, but Jane is also one of the most frequently updated options, too.

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Jane comes with several NFO file editing tools, such as font editing, design and organization presets, and a myriad of color options. One of my favorite Jane features is the random color option, which changes the font and background color. Press CTRL + ALT + H to cycle through all manner of NFO file colors!

Download: Jane for Windows (Free)

4. iNFekt

iNFekt NFO file viewer

iNFekt is a free and open-source desktop NFO viewer for Windows. There is also a command-line tool available for Linux users, which you can find in the iNFekt Github releases.

Easy to use, one of my favorite iNFekt features is also one of the simplest—it keeps the NFO file centered when you change the window size. Aside from that, there are options for importing and exporting NFO themes, customizable color schemes, editable fonts, and a few different viewing mode options.

Download: iNFekt for Windows (Free)

5. Yet Another NFO Viewer

yet another NFO viewer macos

Yet Another NFO Viewer (YANV) is a free NFO file viewer for macOS. YANV is a very basic NFO viewer and was designed as a “small, light, and hopefully fast tool.” Features-wise, YANV doesn’t offer much, but it is a handy NFO file reader option for macOS users.

Download: Yet Another NFO Viewer for macOS (Free)

6. NFOmation

NFOmation online NFO file viewer

If you don’t want to install a specific NFO viewer on your system but come across a file you want to look at, you could use an online NFO viewer. NFOmation is a basic online NFO viewer you can use to view your NFO file.

The maximum file size is 300KB, which is a decent limit considering the minute amount of data a typical NFO file uses. As an example, the NFO file I’m using in these screenshots is 3KB.

Do You Need an NFO File Viewer?

NFO files can contain elaborate ASCII artwork, showing off the skills of the creator. The NFO files found with torrent and warez downloads also act as a tag of kinds, indicating to the rest of the community that a particular group cracked this software.

If you don’t care about the ASCII artwork and just want the information in the file, you can open the NFO file in a standard text editor. While the fancy logo header won’t parse, the information regarding the file should be absolutely fine.

Similarly, if you’re creating or reading NFO files for Plex, Kodi, or another media service, you could probably use a default operating system text editor without running into any issues.

NFO files are still really handy. Did you know they are one of the ways you can check the quality of a film before downloading How to Check the Quality of a Movie Before Downloading Here's how to check the quality of movies (in both senses of the term) before you download them. Read More ?

Image Credit: Pressmaster/Shutterstock

Related topics: Linux Apps, Mac Apps, NFO, Windows Apps, XML.

Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the site alive. Read more.

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  1. josue contreras
    August 19, 2016 at 11:52 pm

    Beware of ACiDView 6! I extracted the files and the Downloads folder is locked. AVG Internet Security wont find a virus and everytime I open Downloads folder it closes itself. So sad, now I gotta look for another antivirus and warn AVG support. Please dont try ACiDView 6!

  2. Bostyan
    February 19, 2016 at 11:00 pm

    Always NFOPad is small and easy to use it. Notepad++ is bigger software with lots of features available. If user need small software is NFOPad very good or any other similar (NFOlux) etc.

    I have Notepad++ sure :) If I need for bigger file or... I use but for small files always NFOPad and is default to.

    "NFOPad is a free and easy to use NFO file viewer and editor. It lets you view and edit NOF, DIZ, and TXT files easily. You can change its font and background settings. It displays the ASCII art present in the NFO files correctly. You can use basic text editing functions like find, find and replace etc. easily with it. It also detects the URLs and Emails in the documents. You can associate it to directly open NFO, DIZ, and TXT files with it."

  3. Didier
    May 24, 2015 at 2:47 pm

    I used notepad to read my nfo or firefox to see the ascii art but with thoses soft the displaying quality of the ascii art is really better. THX ;)

  4. Simon Slangen
    September 2, 2009 at 2:26 pm

    The question to ask with Notepad(++) and Firefox is not 'if' there is a quality difference, but rather 'do you mind?'

  5. jesse
    September 2, 2009 at 2:07 pm

    I open mine with Firefox, i wonder if there is a quality difference?

    • anon
      February 1, 2015 at 2:36 am

      Thanks for the Firefox tip! I always used plain ol' notepad.exe to view .nfo but the formatting was frustrating!

      I just tried dragging the file over to Chrome and I'm happy to report that it displays the .nfo properly! MUCH MUCH better with formatting! I'm not sure why anyone would download another program, when, at least on Winboxes, you have a couple already built in. Now, if you were creating sweet .nfo's then by all means, check out the above mentioned progs.

  6. Mida
    September 2, 2009 at 1:34 pm

    what is wrong with notepad++ and notepad :D

  7. chtrich
    August 31, 2009 at 11:37 pm

    just change the extension from .nfo to .txt and notepad works fine.

    • Nobruca
      June 6, 2020 at 4:06 pm

      Exactly. Why does anyone need an dedicated app to read a freaking TXT file?

  8. unyk
    August 31, 2009 at 1:42 am

    GetDiz is what i use & still the best IMHO.
    You can't beat Damn nfo for raw speed though.

  9. mike
    August 30, 2009 at 4:09 pm

    notepad++ and you good to go..

  10. Herbert
    August 30, 2009 at 1:16 pm

    IMHO, QuickNFO is still the best.

  11. Magnifico
    August 30, 2009 at 11:12 am

    Huh, I discovered Damn a long time ago and it has never occurred to me that there are others out there. Though, now that I think of it, that was kind of ignorant of me. Hehe. There's always another. Anyway, I think I'll give that other a try even though I can see that it has nothing I really need. I can't help myself.

  12. megeain
    August 30, 2009 at 10:40 am

    I was just to dl one of these, then i saw that you could use notepad++, did not think of that, now im just using that, thx for the tip jollyrogue.

  13. MM
    August 30, 2009 at 10:38 am

    I use GetDiz, it looks good and simple

  14. dps9682
    August 30, 2009 at 10:02 am

    standard notepad is more than enough.

    • antonio brandao
      September 3, 2009 at 9:22 am

      is more than enough, to read only. but if you start using one of these progs (I use DamnNFO) you will not want to go back. The ASCII art is properly displayed!! it makes wuite a difference.

      As a NFO reader-only person, I choose DamnNFO, I don't need the sidebar and I don't publish NFOs.

      I've used both simple notepad for a long time and DamnNFO, and today I use and recommend DamnNFO for readers.

  15. jollyrogue
    August 30, 2009 at 9:55 am

    i just use Notepad++ to open my nfos. :)

  16. Chris
    August 30, 2009 at 9:45 am

    I have been using NFOpad for awhile now. You can get it here. thd.dyndns.org/s_nfopad.php I originally saw it here when it was posted on LH http://lifehacker.com/5132766/nfopad-is-a-nfo-friendly-notepad-clone