RTF - Rich Text Format

What is a RTF file

RTF stands for Rich Text Format and enables the user to write text with the ability to save it and use it between different operating systems. Unlike other text file types, RTF only allows text, no images, video, or audio. The text production can be done with any other word processing program and the file can be saves as an RTF file instead of the default file. This makes it easy to transport text through different programs (like Microsoft Office and Word Perfect, or between different versions of Windows). RTF is not to be confused with enriched text, Rich text, or IBM’s RFT-DCA.

The first version of RTF was released in 1987 with RTF 1.1. In March 2008, RTF 1.9.1 was released. RTF files updated with nearly every version of Microsoft Office Word and every few versions, a new group of control words were added. In the latest version, the use of XML, XLS, OMML, and SmartTags elements was introduced. The user can embed font data, 16-bit Unicode characters as well as images on a binary level into the file. When viewing in plain-text mode, the markup language is legible but not so distracting as to keep the reader from being able to understand and follow the material.

Here's a small, but not exhaustive list of programs that can open RTF documents:

  • AbiWord
  • Kword
  • Microsoft Word
  • TextEdit
  • WordPad
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