Help Center Knowledge Base What is a TAB file?

What is a TAB file?


A Mapinfo TAB file is a geospatial vector data format for geographic information system (GIS) software developed by Mapinfo. The TAB file links all other files together and holds the information about the dataset. The tab file links the .DAT, .IND, .MAP and .ID files together and turns them into a map. The TAB format is one of the most used formats in GIS software like Arcgis, QGIS, Mapinfo or Tableau Software.


A complete Mapinfo dataset contains files with attribute data (mandatory) and data that draws a vector feature on the map (not mandatory). The mandatory files are:

  • TAB file (.tab) – the file that links all other files together into a dataset;
  • Data file (.dat) – the file that stores attribute data. This file can also be a text file (.txt), Excel (.xls), WK file (.wk) or a Microsoft Access Database (.mdb);
  • Index file (.ind) – an optional file for tabular data.

The files that are needed for creating a map from the data:

  • MAP file (.map) – the file that stores graphic and geographic information that is needed to display each feature on the map;
  • ID file (.id) – the file that links the graphical data to the database information.

What software opens a Mapinfo TAB file?

  • Mapinfo
  • Arcgis
  • QGIS
  • Tableau Software

Import a TAB file into the Spotzi Mapbuilder?
Spotzi Studio doesn’t support TAB formats. That’s why you need to convert the file to a shapefile first. Read our documentation on how to convert a Mapinfo TAB file to a shapefile.

Associated filename extensions

  • .tab
  • .dat
  • .ind
  • .map
  • .id
  • .txt
  • .xls
  • .wk
  • .mdb

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