An executable file is a file that is used to perform various functions or operations on a computer. Unlike a data file, an executable file cannot be read because it's compiled. On an IBM compatible computer, common executable files are .BAT, .COM, .EXE, and .BIN. On an Apple mac computer running macOS, the .DMG and .APP files are executable files. Depending on the operating system and its setup, there can also be other executable files.