Hierarchical Data Format

In short

Proprietary legacy format for tabular data.

item info
types Database
preferred ❌ no
extensions .hdf5
related formats Access, CSV, dbase, SIARD, SQL, XML
wikipedia Hierarchical_Data_Format


HDF (version 5, not compatible with earlier versions) is a common dataset format with the ability to store data in multidimensional arrays, grouped into collections and/or hierarchies. Relationships between data in the arrays can be saved, but the format does not allow for storing structured (descriptive) metadata.


The format is open and can be read in a variety of applications, but it is very difficult to process without the use of HDF5 software.

Use one of the tools on HDF Group Support (legacy) to convert data to SQL or CSV.

See also