Stands for "Rich Text Format."

RTF is a file format for rich text documents that may include styled text and images. It is a widely-supported document format that most text editors and word processors can open and edit. Microsoft first developed the RTF format as an interchange format, allowing users to save Word documents in a format that maintained most of Word's features but could be opened in other applications.

The RTF format supports most rich text formatting, including font styling (like bold, italics, and underline), custom typefaces, and multiple font sizes. It also includes page layout options allowing you to customize page margins, line spacing, tab width, and text alignment. You can add annotations and comments, insert tables, and create automatically-numbered and bulleted lists. You can also embed images inside an RTF file, including bitmap images, PNGs, GIFs, and JPEGs.

An RTF document in Microsoft WordPad
An RTF document in Microsoft WordPad

Most word processors and text editors supporting rich text can open and edit RTF files. However, not every application that can open the RTF format supports every available feature. Some formatting options, image types, tables, annotations, and comments are often not supported by basic text editors like Windows WordPad and macOS TextEdit. If you don't need to share a text document with other people using other word processors, you'll have more features available using a word processor's default file format.

File Extension: .RTF

Updated May 11, 2023 by Brian P.

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