RTF - Rich Text Format

What is an RTF file

RTF or Rich Text Format is a file format that enables users to create and save text with the ability to access it on different operating systems. Unlike other text file types, RTF supports only text and does not include images, videos or audio. Users can create text in any word processing program and save it as an RTF file instead of the default format. This allows for easy transportation of text across different programs, such as Microsoft Office and Word Perfect, and different versions of Windows. It is important to note that RTF should not be confused with enriched text, Rich text, or IBM’s RFT-DCA.

The first version of RTF, RTF 1.1, was released in 1987, and since then, RTF files have been updated with almost every version of Microsoft Office Word. With each update, a new group of control words is added. The latest version, RTF 1.9.1, introduced the use of XML, XLS, OMML, and SmartTags elements.

Users can also embed font data, 16-bit Unicode characters, and images on a binary level into the file. In plain-text mode, the markup language is legible but not distracting, allowing the reader to understand and follow the material.

How do I open an RTF file

RTF files can be opened and edited with most word processing software, including

  • Microsoft Word
  • Apple Pages
  • Google Docs
  • LibreOffice Writer
  • TextEdit
  • Kword
  • Abiword and many others.

RTF is a universal format that is not proprietary to any particular software.