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File extension description in German
File extension description in French

File Extension RTF

RTF files are associated with documents that are created using a variety of word processing programs. RTF stands for Rich Text Format, which is a process used to allow the exchange of text files among different operating systems and word processing programs without losing the original formatting in the text.

Files that contain the RTF extension are stored as plain text but contain additional commands for formatting. This allows the file recipient to open and view the file in the same format as the sender created it. Rich text can include different font sizes, italics, images, tab settings, and other document components. Without using RTF format, these components are typically lost during file transmission or when the recipient opens the document with a different word processing program.

How to Open RTF Files

Since RTF files are created with a word processing program, there is a broad range of programs and applications you can use to open, view, and edit them. If you want to open an RTF file to simply view the contents without the formatting, you can use any text editing program, such as Notepad or WordPad for Windows, Apple TextEdit for Mac OS X, or gEdit for Linux. On the other hand, if you want to open the file in its intended format, there are a number of programs you can use.

If you use Windows, you can open RTF documents using any version of Microsoft Word or Microsoft Works. Other programs that allow you to open RTF documents include AbiWord, Adobe Illustrator, Ability Write, TextMaker, or Atlantis Word Processor. You can also opt to download and install OpenOffice, which is a free open source office suite of applications available from

For Mac OS X, you can open, view, and edit RTF documents using Apple TextEdit or NeoOffice. You can also opt to use OpenOffice Writer, which is part of the open source suite of applications available as a free download from

If you use the Linux or UNIX operating system, you can open and edit RTF files using KWord, which is a word processing and desktop publisher application that offers a variety of features for working with RTF documents. KWord is part of the KOffice suite of office applications and is available as a free download from

If you are looking for cross platform applications that will open RTF files, you can use LibreOffice Writer or IBM Lotus Symphony, which is available as free software downloads. There is also Office Suite which is a multiplatform application that also works with the Google Android platform.

If you need to convert an RTF document for any reason, you can simply open the document in your word processor and then save it as a PDF file, which is a universal document format that can be read by any operating system. If your word processor does not offer this capability, you can use any file conversion program to convert the RTF file to another format.