World File

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File Format
Name World File
PRONOM fmt/367

A World file is an ASCII text file that is used to georeference raster images. The format was designed by ESRI. A world file contains 6 lines:

  1. x-dimension of a pixel in map units
  2. row rotation parameter
  3. column rotation parameter
  4. negative value of y-dimension of a pixel in map units
  5. x-coordinate of center of upper left pixel
  6. y-coordinate of center of upper left pixel

Naming conventions

According to this Wikipedia entry, the naming of a World file (including its extension) is based on the name of its corresponding raster image. This would make the automatic identification of World files rather difficult.


ESRI (the creator of the World file format) also maintains another format that is used to define coordinate transformations in CAD datasets. Confusingly, they also refer to these files as 'World files', even though it is a completely different format. These 'World files' are typically saved with a '.wld' extension.


No official specification appears to exist, however the following links both provide an adequate explanation of the format:

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