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.RTF File Extension

File TypeRich Text Format File

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CategoryText Files

What is an RTF file?

An RTF file is a text document that includes rich text. Rich text documents can include a variety of text formatting, including bolding, italicization, custom fonts, and custom colors. RTF documents can also contain images, such as .JPG and .PNG files, embedded within their text.

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

In 1987, Microsoft introduced the Rich Text Format (RTF). In contrast to plain text files, RTF files can contain formatted text. The RTF format also provides users with page formatting options, such as the ability to customize a document's margins, line spacing, and tab width.

While Microsoft stopped updating the RTF format in 2008, most word processors still support the format. This makes the RTF format 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 home but a Mac at work, you can save a Microsoft WordPad document as an RTF file on your home PC, email the file to yourself, and then open it in Apple TextEdit at your workplace.

You may encounter minor formatting issues 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 different 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 do I open an RTF file?

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

Open and view .RTF files with File Viewer Plus.

Programs that open RTF files

Included with OS
Any text editor that supports formatted text
Included with OS
Included with OS
Any text editor that supports formatted text
Chrome OS
Updated 3/17/2021

About RTF Files

Our goal is to help you understand what a file with a *.rtf suffix is and how to open it.

The Rich Text Format file type, file format description, and Mac, Windows, Linux, Android, and iOS programs listed on this page have been individually researched and verified by the FileInfo team. We strive for 100% accuracy and only publish information about file formats that we have tested and validated.

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