.SWP File Extension

A .SWP file is a Swap File, created by Bill Joy.

Open with Vim. Available for Linux, Windows, and Mac.

What is a .SWP file?

A .SWP file is a type of file known as a Swap File. It is mainly used by a text editing program called Vi, and other similar programs like Vim (which stands for Vi Improved), gVim, and MacVim. These files are very important because they help to save your work automatically. This means if the program closes unexpectedly, like during a computer crash, you won't lose all your work.

Here's how it works: When you start editing a document with Vi or any of its variants, the program creates a .SWP file. This file is stored in the same folder as the document you are working on. For example, if you are editing a file named "report.txt," the swap file will be named ".report.txt.swp." The .SWP file has two main purposes. First, it acts as a backup. If your editing session ends unexpectedly, you can recover your unsaved changes from this file. Second, it serves as a lock file. This means that it prevents more than one person or session from editing the same file at the same time, which could cause conflicts or loss of data.

If you try to open a file that already has a .SWP file, the program will warn you with a message like "Swap file .report.txt.swp already exists!" You will then have several options: 1) Open the file in Read-Only mode, so you can look at it but not change it. 2) Continue editing the file. 3) Recover the last saved data from the swap file. 4) Quit or abort opening the file.

If you see this message and you know you don't need to recover any data (maybe because you already saved your changes), you can safely delete the .SWP file. This will remove the warning message the next time you open the file.

In cases where multiple swap files might be needed, the program will create additional files with extensions like .swo or .swn after the original .swp file.

To open or work with .SWP files, you should use one of the programs that can handle them, such as Vim, Vi, gVim, or MacVim. These programs understand how to process and use these files correctly.


Our goal is to help people find the most up-to-date information about file extensions for Windows, Mac, Linux, Android and iOS. We researched over 10,000 file extensions and their respective programs that open those files. If you want to suggest edits or updates about .SWP file formats, example files, or programs that are compatible. Please contact us.

More extensions