If you've downloaded or been sent a file in epub format, you're probably wondering how to open it.

Here we'll explain the options, which are free. These epub files can be particularly useful for those with impaired vision as you can use a variety of free text-to-speech apps to have them read aloud by your computer.

What is an epub file?

The acronym EPUB is short for Electronic Publication and is a hugely popular ebook format used all over the world.

Unlike the .azw files used by Amazon’s Kindle, epub is free from any digital right management (DRM) restrictions that prevent you from reading it on a range of devices. This makes it the perfect file format for sharing open-source books, manuals or any publication that is free from copyright.

Windows used to have epub support built into its Microsoft Edge browser, but the switch to the Chromium version in September 2019 brought this to an end. Don’t worry though, there are still free ways to open epub files on Windows 10.

Use a free app to open an epub file in Windows

Calibre is a free ebook management app that’s been around for many years now. It’s an excellent way to keep an epub library together, plus it has a number of other features such as being able to convert one file type to another and of course enabling you to read them.

How to open epub files in windows: Calibre

To open your epub file, download Calibre and install the app. Launch it, then click the Add books option in the top right corner. Find the file you want to read, click on it, then when you see it appear in the main pane of Calibre, highlight it and click the View icon at the top of the screen.

How to open epub files in windows: View epub

You’ll now see the epub file appear in a new window, which you can resize to suit your reading preferences.

How to open epub files in windows : Reading epub

Calibre isn’t the only standalone reader for epub files though, as you can also check out Kobo, Freda, Icecream EPUB reader and others.

Use a browser plugin to open an epub file in Windows

If you don’t want to install something as fully featured as Calibre, then there are several good plug-ins and extensions for your browser. With Microsoft Edge now based on Google’s Chromium engine, you’ll find that any extensions for Google Chrome should be available for Edge as well as Opera.

Firefox has its own library though, so you’ll need to look through that to find a suitable option.

One of the most popular extensions for ebooks on Chrome is EPUBReader. This free app is a simple way to open and read your epub files all without leaving your browser. To get it, go to the EPUBReasder page on the Chrome Extension Store and click the Add to Chrome button.

how to open epub files in windows: Browser extension

The icon should appear in your toolbar shortly afterwards or you many need to click on the three dots in the top right corner of Chrome and select More tools > Extensions find EPUBReader and click the switch to enable it.

When you want to open an epub file, click on the EPUBReader icon in the toolbar and you’ll see a folder icon appear.

How to open epub files in windows : Find file

Click this, find the epub file, then double click it to see the contents displayed in your browser window.

how to open an epub file in windows : Reading file

Of course, another way to read eBooks is on a dedicated device, so be sure to also take a look at our best eReader and best Kindle roundups.