If you’ve been downloading comics books from the internet, you may have come across some strange file extensions such as .CBR, .CBZ, .CB7, .CBT and .CBA. These are basically comic book archives. Each page of a comic book is stored in a JPEG or a TIFF file and a collection of such pages are encapsulated in a single archive. None of these file types can be opened in Windows by default. But with the right software installed, you can view comic books right from your computer.

Open with regular archive handling software

Although these files have odd looking extensions, they are compressed using standard file compression algorithms such as ZIP, RAR and ACE. See the table below for more information:

Comic book archive Format Actual compression used Software
CBR RAR WinRAR [Download]
CBZ ZIP WinZip [Download]
CB7 7-ZIP 7-Zip [Download]
CBT TAR WinZip [Download]
CBA ACE WinRAR [Download]

Note that you can use any software that supports the actual compression to open a particular file type (not just the ones mentioned in ‘software to open’ column). Do not rename any of the archives to actual format. Just open the archive handling software, browse to .CBX file and choose to open it from within the program.

Open with special comic book reader software

In addition to the compression utilities mentioned above, there are comic book reader software which are specifically designed to open and view cbr, cbz and other file formats. Such software usually feature file type association, support for rotation, zoom, multi page view and other viewer enhancements, etc. Mentioned below are two of the most popular comic book reader software that are currently around.

Comical makes viewing cbr and cbz files on Linux, Mac OS X and Windows easier than ever. You can read more about this software from it’s homepage.

[Click Here] to download the latest version of Comical for Windows, Linux and Mac OS X from SourceForge

CDisplayEx is an open source application based on the older CDisplay (sequential image viewer). This application also supports most comic book archive formats. More information including screenshots can be found here.

[Click Here] to download the latest version of CDisplayEx from SourceForge

[Click Here] to download the portable version of CDisplayEx from PortableApps.com

Wondering where to download comic books in .CBR and CBZ formats? We’ll be posting several private torrent trackers and other sites that offer free comic book downloads. Keep checking the homepage and the private trackers section for latest updates.