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A text file is a computer file structured as a sequence of lines of electronic text. Each line is a sequence of printable characters. They can be opened and edited with Wordpad, Notepad, and other text editors. Text files usually contain plain text and not binary data. Whether it be a story, recipe, or even directions to Grandma's house, you can put it in a text file. When text is stored with Microsoft Word or OpenOffice.org the file is no more called a text file, but a word processor file or document file.
Text files are commonly encountered with an extension of .doc, .txt, and many others, depending on the software and hardware you choose.