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Rich Text Format (.rtf)

The Rich Text Format (RTF), developed by Microsoft, is a document file format that has been integral to text document exchange across diverse word processors and operating systems. RTF stands out for its support of multiple font styles and formatting options, including bold, italic, and underlined text, alongside a variety of typefaces and font sizes. RTF files surpass plain text files by accommodating images and intricate page formatting features such as custom line spacing, tab width, and margins. Recent RTF iterations even support embedded images in JPG and PNG formats.

Microsoft introduced RTF in 1987 to offer an alternative to plain text, enhancing document sharing among various word processor users, including non-Microsoft Word users. Microsoft updated the format over the years, notably adding embedded image support. Despite Microsoft halting RTF updates in 2008, its widespread support persists in most word-processing applications. RTF's enduring compatibility renders it a prime choice for transferring and editing documents on multiple platforms. For example, an RTF document created on a Windows PC can be seamlessly emailed and opened in Apple TextEdit, although minor formatting differences may arise due to the varying RTF versions supported by different programs.

RTF Specifications

Name Rich Text Format
File Extension(s) .rtf
Category Documents
Use For Text documents that require features like diverse font styles, formatting options, and embedded images, are designed to streamline document sharing and editing across various systems and word processors.
Developer Microsoft
MIME Type(s) application/rtf
License Proprietary; Microsoft; but since Microsoft no longer actively updates it, the format is commonly recognized as open format due to its extensive use and compatibility.
File Sample(s) N/A
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