RTF file icon

RTF File Extension

Rich Text Format

What is RTF file?

RTF is a file extension used with text files. It was created by Microsoft in 1987 as a cross-platform sharing document standard, which is now recognized by most text editors.

Universality of RTF format

Text document saved as RTF format offers support for several formatting options, such as underline, italic and bold type, and different font colors and styles. Each RTF file can also hold images or drawings. Many word processors support RTF format without adding changes to original document formatting. Files in RTF format can be used on different operating systems (such as Windows or Linux) by various programs without any problems.

Some interesting facts about RTF format

RTF documents support ANSI, PC-8, Macintosh, IBM PC and Unicode character sets (version 1.6 and later).

In 2008 Microsoft stopped developing RTF format, however, many programs still support this standard.

Default RTF file filename on Windows is ‘New Rich Text Document.rtf’.

Programs which support RTF file extension

Below you will find an index of software programs that can be used to open RTF files divided into 5 categories according to system platform supported. Files with RTF extension, just like any other file formats, can be found on any operating system. The files in question may be transferred to other devices, be it mobile or stationary, yet not all systems may be capable of properly handling such files.

Updated: 01/11/2020

How to open file with RTF extension?

Being unable to open files with RTF extension can be have various origins. On the bright side, the most encountered issues pertaining to Rich Text Format files aren’t complex. In most cases they can be addressed swiftly and effectively without assistance from a specialist. The list below will guide you through the process of addressing the encountered problem.

Step 1. Download and install WordPad

Install software to open RTF file The most common reason for such problems is the lack of proper applications that supports RTF files installed on the system. This one is an easy one. Select WordPad or one of the recommended programs (for example, Microsoft Word, WordPerfect Office, LibreOffice) and download it from appropriate source and install on your system. The full list of programs grouped by operating systems can be found above. The safest method of downloading WordPad installed is by going to developer’s website (Microsoft Corporation) and downloading the software using provided links.

Step 2. Check the version of WordPad and update if needed

Update software that support file extension RTFYou still cannot access RTF files although WordPad is installed on your system? Make sure that the software is up to date. It may also happen that software creators by updating their applications add compatibility with other, newer file formats. This can be one of the causes why RTF files are not compatible with WordPad. The most recent version of WordPad is backward compatible and can handle file formats supported by older versions of the software.

Step 3. Assign WordPad to RTF files

If the issue has not been solved in the previous step, you should associate RTF files with latest version of WordPad you have installed on your device. The process of associating file formats with default application may differ in details depending on platform, but the basic procedure is very similar.

Associate software with RTF file on Windows

Change the default application in Windows

  • Choose the Open with entry from the file menu accessed by right-mouse clicking on the RTF file
  • Click Choose another app and then select More apps option
  • To finalize the process, select Look for another app on this PC entry and using the file explorer select the WordPad installation folder. Confirm by checking Always use this app to open RTF files box and clicking OK button.
Associate software with RTF file on Mac

Change the default application in Mac OS

  • From the drop-down menu, accessed by clicking the file with RTF extension, select Information
  • Find the Open with option – click the title if its hidden
  • From the list choose the appropriate program and confirm by clicking Change for all....
  • Finally, a This change will be applied to all files with RTF extension message should pop-up. Click Continue button in order to confirm your choice.

Step 4. Verify that the RTF is not faulty

If you followed the instructions form the previous steps yet the issue is still not solved, you should verify the RTF file in question. Problems with opening the file may arise due to various reasons.

Check RTF file for viruses
1. The RTF may be infected with malware – make sure to scan it with an antivirus tool.

If the RTF is indeed infected, it is possible that the malware is blocking it from opening. It is advised to scan the system for viruses and malware as soon as possible or use an online antivirus scanner. RTF file is infected with malware? Follow the steps suggested by your antivirus software.

2. Verify that the RTF file’s structure is intact

If the RTF file was sent to you by someone else, ask this person to resend the file to you. The file might have been copied erroneously and the data lost integrity, which precludes from accessing the file. When downloading the file with RTF extension from the internet an error may occurred resulting in incomplete file. Try downloading the file again.

3. Check if the user that you are logged as has administrative privileges.

There is a possibility that the file in question can only be accessed by users with sufficient system privileges. Log out of your current account and log in to an account with sufficient access privileges. Then open the Rich Text Format file.

4. Check whether your system can handle WordPad

The operating systems may note enough free resources to run the application that support RTF files. Close all running programs and try opening the RTF file.

5. Verify that your operating system and drivers are up to date

Regularly updated system, drivers, and programs keep your computer secure. This may also prevent problems with Rich Text Format files. Outdated drivers or software may have caused the inability to use a peripheral device needed to handle RTF files.

Do you want to help?

If you have additional information about the RTF file, we will be grateful if you share it with our users. To do this, use the form here and send us your information on RTF file.

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