How to Open a JSON File

Did you find a JSON file on your PC, or maybe you just downloaded one from the web but don’t know how to use it? You have come across the article that is right for you. In fact, in the next paragraphs of this short guide, I will explain how to open a JSON file on Windows or macOS.

JSON (JavaScript Object Notation) is a standard used to interchange data between client and server, based on associative arrays, therefore a set of objects, keys, and values.

JSON is a text-based format, very easy for both humans and computers to understand. Therefore, it is similar to XML files, but unlike the latter, JSON files are much lighter. Therefore they require less transfer bandwidth.

As you surely have already understood, JSON files can be viewed with any program capable of opening text files. However, some of these may have difficulty in visualizing and interpreting the objects present within the JSON files properly, all of which would lead to displaying a completely incomprehensible text on the screen. For this reason, to open a JSON file correctly, you will need to install a text editor on your PC or Mac. We will look at the best.

Open a JSON file on Windows and Mac

To open a JSON file correctly on Windows or Mac, you will need to install a text editor on your computer. Here are the best solutions, completely free and very simple to use.


Without a doubt, the best software to open JSON files on Windows and Mac is Atom. It is an open-source editor aimed primarily at web developers, capable of reading and managing different programming languages.

The software is completely free and cross-platform, so you can download and install it without any problem on both Windows and macOS.

To download it, go to the official website and then click on the “Download” button. After downloading and installing the program, start Atom, click on “File,” click on “Open,” and select the JSON file you want to open.

Visual Studio Code

A valid alternative to the software seen above is Visual Studio Code. This is Microsoft’s text editor, and this program is also capable of handling most programming languages.

Although it is a Microsoft software, Visual Studio Code is completely free, open-source, and cross-platform. So this program can also be installed on both Windows and macOS.

To download Visual Studio Code, go to this page. If you are using Windows, click on the “64-bit” button next to the “.zip” item, under the “Windows” item (if you are using a 32-bit system, click on “32 bit” ), if you are using macOS, click on the item “Mac.

Once the program has been downloaded and installed:

  • Start Visual Studio Code
  • Click on the “File” item present at the top right
  • Click on “Open file,”
  • Select the JSON file you want to open.

Notepad ++

Lastly, I recommend that you also try Notepad ++, but the latter is only available on Windows.

Compared to the software seen previously, Notepad ++ is the lighter, more intuitive, and easier to use editor. Unfortunately, as mentioned before, it is only available on Microsoft operating systems.

To download Notepad ++, access the official website from the right side menu, select the item “Download,” click on the name of the latest version available, and on the new page that opens, click on the “Download” button.

Once you have finished downloading and installing the software:

  • Start Notepad ++
  • Click on the “File” item at the top right
  • Click on the “Open file” item
  • Select the JSON file you want to open.

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