How to Create an .m3u File

Detailed description of the .m3u file type

The .m3u file format is used for storing multimedia playlists. Though the .m3u format was originally developed for Winamp, today most popular media players, including RealNetworks RealPlayer and Apple iTunes, support this format.

An .m3u file is a plain text file that stores the location of one or more media files that can be played using a media player that recognizes the .m3u file format. Generally, .m3u files are used for storing references for audio files, but they may also contain references to video files. Each file location is mentioned on a new line in an .m3u file.

It is important to understand that .m3u files do not store any actual media data, but store the locations of media files. You can use an .m3u file to play a list of songs and/or videos continuously with a compatible media player even when the audio files and/or video files are stored in different locations on the hard drive.

.m3u files come under the category of music files and the mime type is: audio/mpeg-url, audio/x-mpegurl, application/x-winamp-playlist, audio/x-scpls, audio/scpls.

Names of the programs that can open .m3u files

If you use Windows, you may open an .m3u file using any of the following programs:

  • Apple iTunes
  • RealNetworks RealPlayer
  • Nullsoft Winamp Media Player
  • VLC Media Player
  • Foobar2000
  • Roxio Creator 2010

If you use a Mac OS, you may open an .m3u file using any of the following programs:

  • Apple iTunes
  • VLC Media Player
  • RealNetworks RealPlayer

If you use Linux, you may open an .m3u file using any of the following programs:

  • VLC Media Player
  • XMMS

Is it possible to view the list of media files present in an .m3u file with a text editor?

The .m3u files are plain text files and thus can be opened using a text editor, such as Notepad.

If I delete an .m3u file by mistake, will all the media files also be removed?

No, your media files will remain intact. Please remember that .m3u files only store the location of media files and that is why deleting an .m3u file has no effect on the actual media content.

How to create an .m3u file

One can easily create an .m3u file using a text editor, such as Notepad. To create an .m3u file, perform the following steps:

  1. Open Notepad or any other text editor.
  2. Next, type the exact path of each of the .mp3 files that you want to play continuously.
  3. Important: The path of each audio file must be listed in a separate line.

  4. Now, save the text file with the .m3u file extension.

If for some reason you are unable to open an .m3u file using a compatible media player, then you may use FileCure to open the required .m3u file. FileCure is an effective and easy-to-use Windows file opener software that allows Windows users to easily access various file types, including .m3u files.