.KML File Extension

There is only one file type that uses the .KML extension:

Keyhole Markup Language File

Keyhole Markup Language File
  • Developer Google
  • Popularity
    3.9 (92 votes)
  • Category GIS Files
  • Format XML

A KML file stores geographic modeling information in the Keyhole Markup Language (KML), which is a geographic information systems (GIS) data format based on XML. It includes placemarks, points, lines, polygons, and images. KML files are used to identify and label locations, create different camera angles, overlay textures, and add HTML content (links, font styles, etc.).

You can open KML files with a variety of mapping applications for Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, and iOS. The Google Earth web browser application and Google Earth Pro desktop application are common choices.

To open a KML file with Google Earth, click the "Projects" icon in the left pane, select "Open," and choose "Import KML file from Google Drive" or "Import KML file from computer." To open a KML file with Google Earth Pro, select File → Open....

Since KML files are saved in a plain text, XML-like format, you can open them with a text editor, such as Microsoft Notepad (Windows) or Apple TextEdit (macOS).

NOTE: You can also open a KML file in Google Maps by hosting it on an online location and then typing the URL in the Google Maps search box. For example, if you host your KML file at http://mywebsite.com/myfile.kml, then type this URL in the Google Maps search box to display it.

Alternatively, you can construct the URL yourself in Google Maps by prefixing your KML file's URL with http://maps.google.com/maps?q=. For example, to open the same KML file from above, you can use the following URL:

http://maps.google.com/maps?q=http://mywebsite.com/myfile.kml

This procedure also works for Google Earth View, the 3D earth-browsing plug-in you can add to your web browser.

Updated: August 9, 2020

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