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RTF File

Rich Text Format (RTF) is a popular file format developed by Microsoft for document exchange between different Microsoft products and platforms. Format was actively developed from 1987 to 2008. All Microsoft Word versions support reading and writing RTF files. Also default text editor on Mac OS – TextEdit uses RTF as a default file format for storing documents. WordPad editor in Microsoft Windows also used RTF as a default file format.

Rich Text Format Files use .RTF file extension. Every RTF file starts with “{\rtf” string. RTF is semi human readable format because it stores data as plain text. Certain formatting marks could prevent readability of RTF. But RTF text without additional formatting and with no special symbols will be readable just by opening file as Text.

Rich Text Format allows images to be stored alongside text. It supports PNG, JPG, EMW, WMF Apple PICT, Windows DIB. Images are stored in hexadecimal or binary format within the RTF file. If image format is not supported by Document Editor then empty space will be displayed.

There is also a related file format to RTF which is called RTFD which is capable of storing a folder with RTF file and higher resolution image attachments. This allows for having scalable images for printing on various paper sizes.

Besides storing formatted text and images RTF supports a variety of other useful features like page header, page footer, page numbers, footnotes, sections, columns, page borders and many more.

Full RT 1.9.1. spec is available for download from

RTF files are transferred over e-mail or internet using text/rtf and application/rtf multipurpose internet mail extensions (MIME).

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Portable Document Format
MIME Types
  • application/pdf
  • application/x-pdf
  • text/x-pdf
Identifying Characters
Hex: 25 50 44 46 2D 31 2E 
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