BlackBerry Supported File Formats (Email and Media)

FileFormatIconsWhat kinds of files will a BlackBerry open as email attachments?

What kinds of audio and video files will a BlackBerry play?

Here’s an update from Research in Motion (RIM) on which file formats are supported by current BlackBerry Device Software and BlackBerry Internet Service.

Below are supported file formats assuming you have:

  • BlackBerry Operating System 4.5 (see my article on upgrading to 4.5)
  • BlackBerry Internet Service 2.5 (this applies to your wireless carrier, not your phone)

Email Attachments

You should be able to download, view, and edit the following types of attachments in their native file formats:

  • .zip
  • .txt
  • .html
  • Adobe Acrobat (.pdf)
  • WordPerfect (.wpd)
  • Microsoft Word (.doc) [Word 97-2003, not 2007 (.docx)*]
  • Microsoft Excel (.xls) [Excel 97-2003, not 2007 (.xlsx)*]
  • Microsoft PowerPoint (.ppt) [PowerPoint 97-2003, not 2007 (.pptx)*]
  • Audio file formats (see next section)
  • Video file formats (see next section)

Media Files

You generally should be able to play the following music and video file formats, although there are numerous parameters in the original conversion of the files that can be critical for playback compatibility and quality (see the original RIM knowledgebase article for details and exceptions):


  • ACC
  • AMR
  • MIDI
  • MP3
  • WAV
  • WMA 9 and 10


  • MPEG-4 (Part 2, Simple)
  • MPEG-4 (Part 2, Advanced Simple)
  • H.263 (Profile 0 and 3)
  • WMV 9 (Simple)
  • avi
  • mov
  • 3gp
  • mp4
  • m4v
  • mpg

Again, these are generally supported but with exceptions.


This information is based on RIM’s BlackBerry knowledge base articles KB15253 and KB05482. If you are converting music or video, you absolutely must read those articles.


* Ask your email senders who use Office 2007 to save their Office documents in Office 97-2003 format before attaching files to emails sent to your BlackBerry.


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About the author

This entry was contributed by Kelly Carter
84 entries have been written by this author.

28 comments on this post

Rick Shipman says:
Nov 20, 2008 - 03:11:38

I installed OS 4.5 and everything worked fine. I am using DM 4.6 and a Verizon customer. I have been unable to edit Word (or any) documents. When I download one, I get a message that states “You are about to download a file thatcannot be viewed on your Blackberry device. Continue? Yes/No” When I proceed to download it and then attempt to open it, I get the message “Unable to display file/path/document”, where path and document represent the location and name of the file. I’ve tried to storing the document on the memory card and on the device memory and the result is the same. Am I doing something wrong?

Nov 21, 2008 - 04:11:16

First, you may not have installed “Documents to Go” when you upgraded (I didn’t either–oops!). See this article that might help:

Next, to get the full power of “Documents to Go,” you may want to consider upgrading (not cheap) to a more powerful version of this app. See it here:

I apologize that I haven’t had time to investigate this further. When I get time, I will. Please share with me/us what you learn. Thanks!

Rick Shipman says:
Nov 23, 2008 - 03:11:24

Thank you so much for your assistance. Your instructions worked for me. I really don’t know how I would have known this was a problem without you guiding me in the right direction. There were no install notes from Verizon or Blackberry that would have helped me figure this out on my own. One additional note that I would add for others is that after they install the Documents to Go software, they have to activate it before it will work. I found there was a free upgrade that I had to install also that gave me the ability to work with Office 2007 files. Things are working fine now. Thanks for your priceless, free advice.

Nov 23, 2008 - 11:11:37

Thanks for your kind words. I am planning to write more about Documents To Go (possibly both the free and for-pay editions) in the near future. That’s lot more to say about it.

Bernie M says:
Dec 18, 2008 - 08:12:37

Excellent stuff, thankyou Rick.
Looking forward to your next article.

Anthony says:
Jan 24, 2009 - 01:01:16

I cannot convert video and view on my Storm. Nor do I know how to transfer it to the device…I am just dragging and dropping but then it tells me its the wrong format….this is after I purchased Nidesoft video converter for Blackberry. What am I doing wrong???

Jan 24, 2009 - 08:01:20

I just did a little reading on Nidesoft Video Converter. It appears to be able to work for the Storm. I recommend converting your original video to MP4 format for a screen resolution of 480×360 (best, if possible), or 480×320 (good, if possible), or slightly smaller (OK, if your only choice). Make sure that after conversion the file does have a filename something like MyVideo.mp4. Microsoft Windows is often set to hide the file extension (.mp4 in this case) from you, so that might throw you off.

I recommend you set your Storm for Mass Storage Mode (under Options > Media Card) so you can just connect it to your computer with a USB cable and access it just like a disk drive (or USB flash drive). Normally, the Storm causes TWO windows to pop up when you plug it in: one for Device Memory and one for the Media Card. I HIGHLY recommend copying the video to the Media Card instead of Device Memory. The Media Card has a folder named “BlackBerry,” and inside that folder is a number of folders, one named “videos.” Drop your video in there.

To learn more about your Storm memory, open Media, press Menu key, and select Explore. From there you can poke around in your Device Memory and Media Card (look, don’t delete anything!).

If you follow those instructions and can’t get a video to work, see my article on the Twilight movie here: and download the Paramore video (MP4 format) for the Bold. I know it plays very well on the Storm.

Please let me know your results. I definitely want you to get videos playing on the Storm–that’s one of its very strongest points, if you ask me.

george says:
Feb 14, 2009 - 07:02:55

I try to view a video on the storm but it keep saying “The media being played is of an unsupported format”. What can I do or download to see this videos?

Feb 15, 2009 - 04:02:19

I don’t have enough information. Is this streaming video or a video file(s) from your BB’s Device Memory or Media Card? What exactly is the format of the video? If streaming, you may not know the format, so telling where you’re streaming from would help.

I’ll anticipate some answers: If streaming, that error message has occurred with me on probably every streaming site I’ve ever tried, but not ALWAYS. Are you getting it consistently after trying a LOT, at different times?

If not streaming, did you try the file on your computer to make sure it’s not corrupted?

I’ll await more info.

Bob says:
Feb 18, 2009 - 06:02:17

Hello: I would like to save word documents that are emailed to me as attachments. I can open the attachments, but have no way of saving the documents. I have the basic addition of Doc to go. Is it necessary as you suggest to get the update version? Best regards, Bob

Feb 19, 2009 - 02:02:56

I’ve since upgraded to a trial version of Docs To Go (the premium edition, or whatever it’s called), so what I see may not match what you see. I am able to save a Word attachment from my email by pressing the Menu key: there is a Save option (if I scroll up a bit). I just don’t remember if that option was available before I installed the trial version of the upgraded Docs To Go. If your menu has no Save option, then I suspect you must upgrade. Sorry.

Sean says:
Mar 4, 2009 - 12:03:09

Riddle me this… HOW do you EMAIL a video…?

From what I understand it can’t be done, you find a way- you get a big hug! :D

Mar 4, 2009 - 04:03:59

On my Storm 9530, I can enter Compose Email, press Menu key, select Attach File, and navigate to a video to attach it. Or, even more easily, I can enter Media > Video, highlight a video, press Menu key, and select Send as Email. My other BlackBerry models are not at-hand for me to try. Does your model not allow any of that?

Sean says:
Mar 4, 2009 - 04:03:55

Kelly, thanks for the quick feedback i’m impressed!

Actually sending it from the blackberry is not the problem, its sending it from an email client (outlook)… i made a forum post here:

dosen’t seem to be a solution :( … great article though!

Bobbie Cloud says:
Mar 19, 2009 - 10:03:31

I have the trial version of Documents to Go Premium. Can you tell me how to actually get a document in Documents to go. I have a Word 7 document and I am trying to figure out how to get it into the Documents to go folder. Do I send it to myself as an attachment? I tried that and it said it couldn’t be viewed on my BB. I don’t know where to go from here.



Mar 19, 2009 - 10:03:09

By Word 7, do you mean Word 2007 or the much older Word 95/7? Where is the Word document now–the one you’re trying to get into the Docs To Go folder?

Adam says:
Mar 24, 2009 - 06:03:25

If you are on a BES, Docs to Go will not work with attachments on your coporate email unless the BES is 4.1 sp6. It will work with a BIS email account however.

Mar 24, 2009 - 09:03:49

Thanks for that info.

Bobbie Cloud says:
Mar 25, 2009 - 03:03:51


I just checked and it looks as if I am using Word for Mac 2004 so it seems like it is the old Word. Does that make a difference? (Of course, everything makes a difference using a Mac.) And Adam I am not using corporate email. I have regular email accounts so I tried to send the document from my to another of my emails and it wouldn’t let me open it. I also cannot get it to go into my Docs to Go. Does any of this help?

Mar 26, 2009 - 11:03:43

There are several issues. First, you should check with DataViz to see if Word for Mac 2004 is supported and/or if there are any known problems. I know it should work, but Mac users know how that goes.

Next, what are you seeing when you say your phone “won’t let you open” a document. Is there a message stating that explicitly? Does the menu not give you the option to open? Does the phone do nothing when you try to open it?

And next, when you say you “cannot get it to go into my Docs to Go,” how are you trying to do that? Are you trying to save it somewhere and it won’t save?

I’m just not clear on the details. Maybe your can shed more light.

Ginny says:
May 19, 2009 - 06:05:16


You seemed to know alot and are always there to help people. I hope you are able to help me. On Saturday, May 15, I installed some software on my pearl. I can see it on the media card but when I try and open it, I get that same message as the other people, unable to display file. I did upgrade to the 4.2 office manager. I cannot find the 4.5 upgrade software on T-mobile. I also did the handheld upgrade that was on the T-mobile website but not too sure what type it is. I tried to find the software for Documents to Go, but I was unable to find that also. Could you PLEASE help me find the software so I can see if that is my problem why I can’t open this software up.


May 19, 2009 - 08:05:36

I’m not totally clear. First, if the software you installed is an application (versus, say, a document, picture, song, or video), it cannot run from the media card. It has to be installed in Device Memory. Normally, apps are installed “over the air” (OTA) or using Desktop Manager’s Application Loader. If you use either of those techniques, the app should install in Device Memory where you can run it. (There is a 3rd party product that allows you to run apps from the Media Card. It’s by Aerize, but I forget the exact name. Not sure how well it works.) You actually asked more than one question. Why don’t you first tell me what the software is that you installed but cannot open/run? You can leave a reply here or email me at

Bobbie Cloud says:
May 20, 2009 - 03:05:47


In regards to Ginny’s problem, when I had my Pearl and wrote you about the similiar problem, I did get in touch with DataViz. Let me first say that they were soooo good about responding and helping me find the problem. We emailed back and forth for several days and then she decided that my software on my BB was bad. She had me unistall and then re-install Documents To Go, and it worked beautifully. So Ginny, if you are having problems, my suggestion is go to DataViz and work with them. They really were responsive.

John Volkens says:
Jun 11, 2009 - 05:06:36

I just got my blackberry cure and am getting the error: Media being played is of an unsupported format. I’m trying to view movie clips from within the browser. What am I doing wrong and is there any quick fix. I’m very new to this and any help would be appreciated.

Jun 12, 2009 - 03:06:56

I’ve seen that same message many times. And other BB owners report it, too. It seems to be a transient kind of problem in most cases, so the same video may play fine at a later time. If you read my old article on YouTube (plus all the postscripts), you’ll get a flavor of how YouTube performs. There is probably nothing wrong with your Curve.

Jul 9, 2009 - 05:07:16

I am having problems viewing files on my 8830 also. I have recently upgraded to 4.5.0 and tried the Workaround in the article Kelly referred to in his post of Nov. 21. ( In the Workaround it indicates that Documents to Go will be on the list of applications available for installation; but when I get to this point Documents to Go does not appear on my list. Do I need to download Documents to Go directly, or was it part of the package when I upgraded to 4.5.0?

Jul 10, 2009 - 08:07:01

Docs to Go should have been included with 4.5. If something went wrong and it appears that you didn’t get it, you should be able to download and install it separately. I know I did that with a trial version of the Docs to Go Premium (not the free version). Let me know if you get it resolved or not.

Sep 23, 2009 - 11:09:26

Very cool site you’ve got here. Thanks for the update.

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