How to Read a Hex File

by Aaron Wardell

Reading a hex file allows the user to view and alter specific areas of a file in a raw format (base-16) by keying in characters and numbers. A hex editor will give you the tools you need to analyze and perform necessary changes to a wide array of files at the hexadecimal level.

Download, install and use a hex editor

Download and install a hex editor. Once the installation file is successfully downloaded, run it and follow the onscreen instructions.

Open the hex editor, and import the file you wish to edit. This process will differ depending on the program you use, but it's a safe bet in most editors to click on the "File" menu, and then select "Open" to choose the file.

Perform the necessary tasks. Now that you see the hexadecimal version of the file, you can alter it. Depending on the functionality of your hex editor, you can find, replace, show particular strings and provide statistics for utilized values and characters.

Tip

  • check Be careful when editing files with a hex editor, as you can easily type in the wrong values or alter something by mistake. Always make a backup before editing a file in a hex editor.

References

About the Author

Aaron Wardell is a freelance writer, professional musician, audiophile, cell phone nut and computer geek. He holds a master's degree in vocal music performance from the University of Cincinnati. His true passions include anything related to classical vocal music and it's performance, including opera, oratorio and choral music.