Open RTF File

File extension RTF is most commonly associated with a Rich Text Format file, which is a format developed by Microsoft in the late 1980's for the transfer of formatted text documents between different platforms. The RTF file format is still owned and developed by Microsoft, with the latest version, 1.9.1, released in March 2008.

RTF files primarily contain text with additional control codes which identify the file type and also indicate formatting features to an application used to open it. RTF files can contain a variety of formatting, including emboldened, italic and underlined text, fonts and font sizes, paragraphs, text justification, bullet points, text colours and tab spaces. It is also possible to embed objects, such as images or PDF files, in packages within RTF files, which can then be activated and viewed using an appropriate application.

Though RTF files do not support many of the features of more advanced word processed document formats such as DOC, they are stored in ASCII format rather than binary. This means that they are human-readable if opened with a simple text editor as any content is stored in plaintext with any formatting indicated by control codes, which are prefixed by a backslash (), or groups which are stored within braces ({}). Though characters in RTF files are stored using 8 bits which would traditionally only allow the use of ASCII, code page and Unicode escape characters allow a much wider range of characters to be stored.

As RTF files can contain embedded objects stored in packages, it is possible that they contain malicious software such as viruses or spyware so should be checked with anti virus software before opening, particularly if the source of the file is unknown.

RTF files were developed to be cross-platform compatible, meaning that they can be transferred between a wide range of applications on Windows, Mac and UNIX-based platforms. RTF files can be opened using most word processors such as Microsoft Word, WordPad, Writer and Corel WordPerfect, or with the majority of text editing applications.

Open RTF File on Windows

Open RTF File on Mac OS

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Open RTF file article translations

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