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RTF File

RTF is one of the oldest formats used by word processing software. It was developed in 1987 for Microsoft Word 3 by Microsoft Word development team. It became a default document format used by Microsoft Word software for a long period of time until Microsoft Office 97 release, when DOC binary file format was introduced. Even though DOC and its follower DOCX replaced RTF as a default document file format RTF is still relatively popular and there are many files available on the internet and user computers in RTF format.

Besides text RTF supports some advanced features like:

  • Embedded images (JPEG, PNG, EMF, WMF, PICT and more)
  • Embedded Fonts
  • Drawing with objects (rectangles, lines, arrows, ellipses, polygons, etc.)
  • Annotations

RTF format does not support macros. It is somewhat limits RTF capabilities but at the same time keeps it safe from macro viruses. Opening RTF files is safe and could be used to exchange documents when there is a danger of transferring a virus.

RTF file format is text based. It could be interpreted by a human though it is not exactly human-readable because format rules could be quite complex. We will cover some basic principles of the RTF file format. RTF format consists of a text, control commands starting with \ and groups enclosed in {}.

For example, in the following RTF text:

\line \bullet Hello
\line \bullet World

\line is a command specifying that text should start on a new line. \bullet is a command encoding the bullet sign. RTF above will be rendered to:

  • Hello
  • World

Groups could be used to specify custom formatting specific only to a certain region of text. For example in the following RTF file group notion and \i command are used to specify that text within a {} should be italic.

Hello {\i World}

The RTF file above will be rendered to:

Hello World

At this moment RTF file format is supported by majority of text editors on the market. Even though RTF doesn’t have all the latest features that some word processing applications support it is still a very comfortable format to exchange documents between software packages and platforms.

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PAGES Quick Info
Apple Pages File Format
  • application/x-iwork-pages-sffpages
Opens with
  • Apple Pages
  • LibreOffice