Digital Comic Museum > Rules and FAQ's

How do I view .cbr or .cbz files? Apps, etc. (FAQ)


Question "How do I READ these files after I've downloaded them?"
Answer - Read part 3 below if you are in a hurry.

Table of Contents (TOC)
1. Digital Comics
2. What are CBR, CBZ, CBT, RAR, ZIP and TAR files?
2a. I've downloaded a file that doesn't have any file type...
3. How do I view these files (read comics)?
4. What's so good about the CDisplay/Comical/FFView programs?
5. How do I make my own CBR, CBZ or CBT files?  (or CONVERT one to another?)
6. Can I view cbr/cbz files on Digital Comic Museum Website?

1. Digital Comics

The comics that we read are digital pictures of the original physical comics. The pictures are placed in a directory and are in a certain sequence based on the name of the picture file. The file is compressed into a computer archive and computer software can be used to read these picture archives.


2. What are CBR, CBZ, CBT, RAR, ZIP and TAR files?
2a. I've downloaded a file that doesn't have any file type or shows a different one than the above.

Computer files are generally compressed into archive data sets to save space and to organize information better. Common archives are RAR, ZIP and TAR. Comics have a “special” set of extensions to designate them as “comics”. CBR, CBZ and TAR files are comic archive files. A CBR file is the same as an RAR file, CBZ the same as a ZIP file, and CBT the same as a TAR file. The designations allow computers to associate comic reading software with files and allow other non-comic products to use the standard extensions.

The ZIP format takes one or more files and compresses them as one file, with a .zip file extension. The RAR format does the same (and has better compression sometimes).

The TAR format is found primarily on UNIX and Linux operating systems; it can be used on Windows and Mac platforms, although the ZIP format has become the most popular. (Most users are not familiar with .tar files.) The .tar file bundles files together, although without any compression. If a user wishes to compress them, they are advised to use gzip (which turns the compressed file into *.tar.gz ) .

Software programs for making/opening/viewing the contents of these .zip, .rar and .tar files can be found on the Internet.

2a Answer - If you've downloaded a file from DCM that is missing or has a different file type ending then please rename the file and try viewing it.  In Windows right click on the file, select rename and add one of the following: CBR, CBZ, RAR, or ZIP.  Hit enter.  Then try reading it again with your viewer app.  Remember .zip files are .cbz; .rar files are .cbr; and .tar files are .cbt.

If you find a file on the site with such a problem PLEASE report it to this section: Problems with links or scans.


3. How do I view these files (read comics)?

There is a plethora of software to read digital comics. The most popular no-cost software is listed at the top of each operating system group.
Here is a list of some that might help.  You can also see a great selection with descriptions as well as other utilities at this site -


* CDisplay, the Windows Sequential Image Viewer for Windows by David Dayton.  Reported to work with Windows7 by Zog.
Available here:   or   the unofficial update CDisplayEX is here:

* The Comic Rack (with multi-language support)
Available here:

* pixelComic, a skinnable comic book viewer written in C++.
Available here:

* CBViewer
Available here:

* yacreader, versions for Windows, MacOS and Linux
Available here:

For a list of other viewers as well as how they work try these - or


* Comix: also handles gzip or bzip2 compression (python GTK+)
Available here:

* cbrPager: a very simple comic pager for Linux (using GTK+)
Available here:

* QComicBook (using Qt) - Linux and POSIX
Available here:

* Comical, the UNIX, Linux, Windows and MacOS X Sequential Image Viewer (using wxWidgets)
Available here:

* PyComicsViewer, for Linux and Windows
Available here:

Mac OSX:

* The Chunky Comic Reader - this app was recently recommended by a DCM member unable to get DCM scans to download and view on his iPad.
Available here:

* FFView
Available here:

* Simple Comic
Available here:

* Jomic (written in Java, so should be cross-platform as well)
Available here:

These are free software image viewing programs designed specifically for reading digital comic book files, particularly those in .cbr and .cbz formats (and .rar and .zip formats, if they haven't had their file extensions changed to .cbr and .cbz yet).


4. What's so good about these digital comic viewing programs?

They're a great way of viewing image archives, including various options which are optimized for digital comics!


5. How do I make my own CBR, CBZ and CBT files?

Place all comic scans into a folder and rename them in page order, eg. 001 002 003 AT THE FRONT of a jpg name and then archive the files using WinZip, WinRAR or other compression software. Now just rename them with the different extensions. Remember .zip files are .cbz; .rar files are .cbr; and .tar files are .cbt. (Viewers, like CDisplay, can read .all of these file formats, among other extensions, but the de facto standard has become .cbz and .cbr. We recommend you use these two formats.)

You can rename a *.cbz file to a *.cbr file and CDisplay will still view it, although it isn't recommended. (This might be because WinRAR can read both .zip and .rar files.) Please stick to the original file format/extension name, especially if you're distributing files via DC++ and/or Bit Torrent.

Also, if you are using WinRAR to rar images into an archive for CDisplay to view, you can just rename the extension from *.rar to *.cbr before you actually start the archiving process.

The Free Open Source 7ZIP application can compress and decompress ZIP files and decompress ONLY RAR files.  You can find it here -

Quickly if all you need is a ZIP file changed to a CBZ file (in WINDOWS) you just RIGHT CLICK and rename the file extension.  The same if you have a RAR file you just right click and rename it to CBR. 
You will need to be able to see file extensions.  You can turn it on within Windows.  For WinXP it's inside My Documents - Tools - Folder Options.


If you need to CONVERT from one to the other you will need to install an application like 7ZIP for this.
Start your compression app and Extract the comic file into a folder. 

Within 7Zip right click on the new folder jpg scans you want to compress and select ADD TO ARCHIVE.  Their default is to create a 7z file.  Select ARCHIVE FORMAT (second option from to top) to tell it to make a ZIP file for you.  Click OK at the bottom to complete the process.

Rename file to CBZ for ease of use with reader apps.


6. Can I view cbr/cbz files on Digital Comic Museum Website?

You may view any hosted comic book online using our Comic Book viewer. For each listed comic book you will find a Preview button allowing you to view every page online.


Here are some more recent links on the subject of comic reader applications -

Everything You Need to Know About Digital Comics (PC Magazine)

5+ great comic book readers for Windows 10 (Windows Report)

15 best comic book readers for mobile devices (Tom's Guide)

10 best comic book apps and readers for Android (Android Authority)

7 Best CBR Readers For MAC You Can Use in 2021 (Techviral Media)


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