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What is an ASPX file?

We look at what this web file does and how it can be viewed

Just in the same way office documents have various file extensions depending on the application required to open and edit them, the same goes for files meant for use on the web. Active Server Pages (ASPX) is a file format used by web servers and generated using the Microsoft ASP.NET framework - an open-source development framework used by web developers to create dynamic web pages, often with the .NET and C# programming languages.

ASPX iterates on ASP, the technology which precedes ASPX, but does not use Microsoft’s .NET language and is instead written in other frameworks. ASPX is also commonly referred to as a .NET Web Form and you can determine whether a web page is written in ASPX when a ‘.aspx’ suffix is applied to the URL of the web page.  

ASPX files typically contain various scripts or other open-source files that web browsers - the end-user - receive from web servers and these are the components of the web service that deliver dynamic, modern-looking elements on a page.

End users normally shouldn’t see or interact with these file types during their online experience, but if they do it can indicate there is an error with the web service’s configuration.

How to open an ASPX file

A common occurrence when downloading a file from the web and onto a Windows machine is that it downloads as a .aspx file when you were expecting something else, such as a PDF. In these cases, a quick workaround that often works is to simply rename the file and change the file type to the one you expected, such as .pdf

Renaming a file type in Windows 10

Keumars Afifi-Sabet/IT Pro

But if it’s a true ASPX file you’re looking to open, there are a number of options out there. Microsoft initially intended for the file to be opened in its open-source integrated developer environment (IDE) Visual Studio Code, and is arguably the best option out there for the job. But other programs are out there, both free and paid-for, should you wish to use an alternative.

Opening ASPX files with Adobe Dreamweaver 

Adobe Dreamweaver is a popular web development platform that can also be used to open the ASPX files. It lets users create and publish web pages with HTML, CSS, Javascript, and more, quickly and from almost anywhere.

It has a smart, simplified coding engine, with hints and tips to help users get to grips with HTML, CSS and other web standards. However, Adobe is a paid-for service and a subscription to Dreamweaver will set you back £19.97 per month.

Opening ASPX files with Notepad++

Notepad++ is a free source code editor and replacement for Notepad with support for several languages, including CGI format. It is based on the editing component Scintilla and written in C++. It offers a higher execution speed and smaller program size due to its use of Win32 API and STL.

Other types of ASPX files (and what to do with them)

If you see in a browser bar a URL with .aspx at the end, this means that the page itself is being run as part of an ASP.NET framework, and there is no need to open it yourself as the browser should do this automatically. The code inside the file is processed by the webserver running ASP.NET.

If you need to open and edit a .aspx file, then you can use Microsoft's free Visual Studio to do so. You could also open up such a file using a normal text editor.

How to convert an ASPX file to PDF

Converting ASPX to PDF in Chrome

Keumars Afifi-Sabet/IT Pro

There are a number of different converters to change ASPX to PDF, but it's often simpler to just use a browser, like Chrome. The ASPX file just needs to be simply dragged and dropped into the browser bar where one would enter a URL. Once the new browser window opens, press CTRL+P to print. Under the destination of said printing window click on 'Change' and then save it as a PDF.

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