RTF, DOC, and HTML - Part 4 - More about RTF

RTF, DOC, and HTML - Part 4 - More about RTF

In the previous parts of this series, we got a glimpse of the concept as well as the importance of the three main types of document formats: HTML, RTF, DOC, as well as way to convert from HTML to Doc using Word Office Component. In this articles, we will go deep down into RTF to see what it is

Overview of RTF

  • Standard RTF (Rich Text Format) - is a file format used for copyrighted computer text with descriptions published to the public. **Microsoft Company ** has developed this RTF standard since 1987 for Microsoft products and cross-platform documents. With RTF, we can easily exchange files between many different computer systems and editing programs.
  • Richard Brodie, Charles Simonyi, and David Luebbert are members of the Microsoft Word development team, who developed the first version of RTF in the 1980s. The TeX syntax influenced the syntax of this format (which is is the best way to type complex mathematical formulas, especially in the form of LaTeX, ConTeXt or other template packages; we may also use it for other typesetting tasks). The first software to read and write RTF (using RTF version 1.0) was sold in 1987 as a component of Microsoft Word 3.0 for Macintosh (or Mac, a line of personal computer products designed, developed and marketed by Apple Inc. All subsequent versions of Microsoft Word for Macintosh and Windows will be read in RTF format.
  • Microsoft reserves the copyright of RTF and maintains this format. As of 2008, the RTF version is 1.9.1. According to the accompanying document Microsoft Office 2010, Microsoft has stopped making improvements to the RTF specification. RTF versions from 1987 to the present:
  • 1987: Released the RTF specification version 1.0, used for Microsoft Word 3.0.
  • January 1994: Release specification RTF version 1.3, used for Microsoft Word 6.0.
  • April 1997: Release RTF specification version 1.5, used for Microsoft Word 97.
  • May 1999: Released the RTF specification version 1.6, used for Microsoft Word 2000.
  • August 2001: Release RTF specification version 1.7, used for Microsoft Word 2002.
  • April 2004: Release RTF specification version 1.8, used for Microsoft Word 2003.
  • March 19, 2008: Released the RTF specification version 1.9.1, used for Microsoft Word 2007.
  • A standard RTF file structure is a continuous sequence of blocks of data placed in individual labels, which indicate the processor knows the beginning and end of the sections. Data can be of different types of data: text blocks, graphics, executable program files, etc. RTF is a widely used standard for presenting graphical data and documents. The fact that editors run on different types of processors and operating systems support the RTF format. When creating an RTF-format file on a Windows-compatible PC, users of other operating systems, such as Mac OS, can also read these files and vice versa.
  • Like any solution related to information technology, an RTF standard file cannot avoid the fact that the whole world is adversely affected by a harmful element, in this case, not only one but two parts. First, the most widely used RTF file processor is Microsoft Word, as in the case of many other applications and operating systems, it is impossible to prevent a flaw from affecting the security of the system. On May 21, 2001,, Microsoft released a report on the latest security vulnerability that could cause a user to accidentally launch a macro virus in an RTF file.
  • As is well known, macro viruses are dangerous macros that can perform various actions and gain unauthorized access to other files. These macros can be found right in documents (or templates), or macros can be downloaded from other sources using hyperlinks. In both cases, Microsoft Word needs to automatically display a message about unknown macros, which may contain viruses that this editor finds in the document. However, this protection does not work for RTF files. Therefore, an attacker could copy into a document a link to a remote website containing a template infected with a macro virus. When reading this RTF file, Microsoft Word will automatically download this template and start the infection without any warning. At the same time, the virus writer can change the file stored on the website at any time, adding new functions to the data.

Rich Text Format

  • File name extension .rtf
  • Internet media type text/rtf application/rtf
  • Type code RTF
  • Uniform Type Identifier public.rtf
  • Magic number {\rtf
  • Developed by Microsoft
  • Latest version 1.9.1 / 19 March 2008; 11 years ago
  • Open format? No

The essential components of RTF

  • 7-bit ASCF RTF files are easy to transfer between operating systems, including control words, control symbols, and groups.

Structure of an RTF file

  • An RTF file has the following syntax:
    <File>'{'<header><document>'}' 
  • This syntax is standard RTF syntax; Any RTF reader must be able to interpret this RTF syntax text correctly. The RTF reader does not need to explain all control words, but must be able to omit unknown (or unused) control words.

Convert Docx to RTF or PDF easily with Docx2Rtf?

You can view or edit Docx files without installing new MS Word versions.

  • We usually save Microsoft Word files with a .doc extension. However, from the 2007 version upwards, files created by this software have a .docx. extension. This change makes it difficult for people who are still using older versions of Office because these versions cannot be open it. Docx2Rtf is a tool that allows opening, viewing and editing Microsoft Word Docx, SXW/ODT (OpenOffice), HTML, RTF, PDB (Palm OS), TIFF files. Besides, this application can convert the above formats to RTF or PDF to make reading and editing easier.

How to use Docx2Rtf?

  • First, you open the Word file you want to convert, choose Create PDF to convert it to PDF format, or click Save as to switch to RTF (Rich Text Format). You can also print documents right away through the Print function of Docx2Rtf.
  • Usually, Docx2Rtf will remove all formats such as italic, bold of the converted text. However, there are some cases where the software retains the original form, but the rate is shallow.
  • To view the XML attribute of the document, select View XML. The program displays an XML tree, and to the right is information about the source of the document.
  • Docx2Rtf also works as a text viewer and editor. You can choose to use this application by default to open Word 2007, OpenOffice, or PalmOS Database file types.
  • In addition to the above applications, Docx2Rtf also works in command line mode. You can convert the format using the -a or -f command with the path to the file you want to save. For example, you want to convert the file C:\My Document to convert.docx into C:\My Document to convert.rtf using the command:
    Docx2Rtf -a "C:\My Document to convert\" test.docx
  • You can also convert entire documents in a selected directory with the -f command.
    Docx2Rtf -f "C: \ My Folder to convert."
  • If you want to convert PDF files, add an extension to the command as an example.
    Docx2Rtf -f "C:\My Folder to convert" odt pdf
  • Docx2Rtf works well on Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Windows 7 operating systems.

You can download Docx2Rtf here.

And that's all about RTF for today. In the next part, which will be the final section for RTF, we will take the time to recap RTF and how to convert from RTF to DOC from your .NET application.

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