How to Convert a Microsoft Word Document to Rtf: A Step-by-Step Guide

Converting a Microsoft Word document to RTF (Rich Text Format) is a straightforward process that can be accomplished in just a few clicks. This action is often necessary when you need a document to be compatible with different word processors or when you are required to submit a document in RTF format. After you’ve converted your document, it will be saved as a new file in RTF format, which can be opened and edited in numerous text editing applications without losing any formatting.

Once you’ve converted your Word document to RTF, you’ll have a file that’s more universally accessible. RTF files can be opened by almost all word processors, which makes them ideal for sharing documents with others who may not have the same software.


You might be wondering, why would anyone need to convert a Word document to RTF? Well, it turns out there are several scenarios where this could be quite handy. For starters, RTF is a cross-platform text format that maintains the document’s formatting across different word processing programs and operating systems. This means that whether you’re using Microsoft Word on a Windows machine, or a different text editor on a Mac or Linux system, your document will look the same. That’s pretty cool, right?

RTF is particularly useful when you’re dealing with an older computer system or software that doesn’t support the latest Word formats. It’s also a preferred format for some applications that process text, including certain email and web platforms. But beyond compatibility, RTF files are less likely to carry viruses compared to other word processing formats, making them a safer option for email attachments. So, whether you’re a student, a business professional, or someone who just needs to share a document with a friend using a different word processor, knowing how to convert your files to RTF can come in really handy!

Step by Step Tutorial to Convert a Microsoft Word Document to RTF

The following steps will guide you through the process of converting your Microsoft Word document to RTF format.

Step 1: Open the Word Document

Open the Microsoft Word document you want to convert to RTF.

This is the document that you have created and saved in the .doc or .docx format. Make sure you have it handy on your computer.

Step 2: Click on “File”

Navigate to the “File” menu in the upper left corner of your Word document.

This will open the backstage view where you can find various options for managing your document.

Step 3: Select “Save As”

In the “File” menu, find and select the “Save As” option.

This will prompt you to choose a new location to save your document, as well as the format in which you want to save it.

Step 4: Choose the Save Location

Choose where you want to save your new RTF file on your computer.

You can save it in the same location as the original Word document or select a new folder if you prefer.

Step 5: Select “Rich Text Format”

In the “Save as type” dropdown menu, select “Rich Text Format (*.rtf)”.

This action will specify the format in which you want to save your new document.

Step 6: Name Your Document and Save

Give your new RTF file a name, then click “Save”.

Your Word document will now be saved as an RTF file in the location you selected with the name you’ve provided.


CompatibilityRTF files can be opened by nearly every word processor, making them great for sharing documents with others.
SafetyRTF is considered a safer format for email attachments, as it’s less likely to contain viruses.
Format PreservationRTF maintains the formatting of the document across different platforms and word processors.


File SizeRTF files can be larger than their Word counterparts, which might be a concern for file storage or transfer limits.
Limited FeaturesSome advanced formatting and features available in Word may not be supported in RTF.
Outdated FormatRTF is an older format and may not be the standard for professional environments that often use the latest Word or PDF formats.

Additional Information

When you’re converting your Word document to RTF, there are a few additional things you might want to keep in mind. For one, while RTF is great for maintaining the basic formatting of your text, it might strip out some more advanced features like macros or embedded objects. So if your document includes these, you’ll want to make sure you don’t need them before converting.

Also, while an RTF file is unlikely to carry viruses, it’s still always good practice to have a reliable antivirus program in place, especially if you’re sharing or receiving documents from others. And remember, converting documents back and forth between formats can sometimes result in minor alterations in formatting, so it’s always a good idea to double-check your documents after converting them.


  1. Open the Word document.
  2. Click on “File”.
  3. Select “Save As”.
  4. Choose the save location.
  5. Select “Rich Text Format”.
  6. Name your document and save.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I convert an RTF file back to a Word document?

Yes, you can open an RTF file in Word and then save it as a Word document using the “Save As” function.

Will converting to RTF keep all my images and tables in place?

RTF should maintain most of your formatting including images and tables, but there might be slight variations depending on the complexity.

Is there a file size limit for RTF files?

No, there isn’t a specific file size limit for RTF files, but larger files may take longer to open or may not be supported by some text editors.

Can I open an RTF file on a mobile device?

Yes, many mobile word processors support RTF files, so you should be able to open and edit them on your smartphone or tablet.

Is RTF better than PDF?

It depends on your needs. RTF is better for editing and compatibility across word processors, while PDF is better for preserving the exact layout and for printing.


Converting a Microsoft Word document to RTF is a simple but valuable skill that can save you a lot of headaches when it comes to document compatibility and safety. Whether you’re collaborating with others, submitting documents to different platforms, or just looking to keep your files virus-free, RTF is a format that’s worth knowing how to work with.

Remember, it’s all about choosing the right tool for the job, and when it comes to universal readability and formatting preservation, RTF is a trusty option. Keep these steps and tips in mind, and you’ll be converting documents like a pro in no time!