.RTF File Extension

Rich Text Format File

Developer Microsoft
3.5  |  493 Votes

What is an RTF file?

An RTF file is a text document that supports font styling known as "rich text." Examples include bold, italicized, and underlined text, as well as different typefaces and font sizes. Rich text files also support page formatting options, such as custom line spacing, tab width, and document margins. Modern versions of the RTF format can also contain images, such as .JPG and .PNG files.

More Information

Screenshot of a .rtf file in Microsoft WordPad
RTF file open in Microsoft WordPad

Microsoft introduced the Rich Text Format (RTF) in 1987 as an alternative to the standard plain text format. Over the next few decades, the company made several incremental updates to the format, such as adding embedded image support. While Microsoft stopped updating the RTF format in 2008, most word processors still support rich text files.

Since RTF is widely-supported, it is an ideal choice for those who need to transfer and edit documents across multiple operating systems and devices. For example, if you use a Windows PC at work but a Mac at home, you can save a Microsoft WordPad document as an RTF file on your work computer, email the file to yourself, and then open it in Apple TextEdit at home.

NOTE: You may encounter minor formatting discrepancies when opening an RTF file created by one program in another. These changes can be attributed to the different versions of the RTF format that various programs support.

Common RTF Filenames

New Rich Text Document.rtf - The default name given to new RTF files created via the Windows context menu (right click in a folder and choose New → Rich Text Document).

How to open an RTF file

You can open an RTF file with most word processing programs, including:

How to convert an RTF file

Most word processors can convert RTF files to other formats. For example, Microsoft WordPad can convert RTF documents to .DOCX, .ODT, and .TXT files.

Also, in the Windows and Mac versions of Microsoft Word, select File → Save As to convert RTF files to one of the following formats:

  • .DOCX - Microsoft Word Document
  • .DOC - Microsoft Word Document (Legacy)
  • .PDF - Portable Document Format
  • .ODT - OpenDocument Text Document
  • .TXT - Plain Text
  • .HTM, .HTML - HTML Webpage
  • .XML - Extensible Markup Language
  • .MHT, .MHTML - MIME HTML Archive
  • .XPS - XML Paper Specification (Windows only)
Open and view .RTF files with File Viewer Plus.Free Download

Programs that open RTF files

Verified by FileInfo.com

The FileInfo.com team has independently researched the Rich Text Format file format and Mac, Windows, Linux, Android, and iOS apps listed on this page. Our goal is 100% accuracy and we only publish information about file types that we have verified.

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