Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Difference Between RTF and DOC

computer-keyboard-pdRTF vs DOC

When it comes to word processing documents the DOC format is arguably the king. This format is used by Microsoft Word, a very popular word processing application that is included in the Microsoft Office suite. Although Microsoft Word is able to handle a variety of file formats, DOC is the default. RTF is an older file format that was also developed by Microsoft for Word but has since fallen at the wayside. There is a significant difference between the two when it comes to the number of features that you can use. DOCs allow you to format your document in any which way you want it to appear while RTF just provides simple options like boldface, italics, font sizes, and types.

Due to the greater number of options and formatting that you could include, the amount of data, aside from the actual text, is much greater for DOCs than for RTF files. This results in a big difference in file size. Although this is not really that big of an issue as a typical DOC file is still very small, it’s a difference between the two formats.

Another difference between DOCs and RTFs is how they encode the data. RTF files are encoded as text files that contain extra keywords for the formatting. You can basically open an RTF file with any text editor and find the text in various parts of the file. DOC files are not encoded as text and you cannot view the information without the correct application. RTF’s advantage lies in the ability to open the file even if your application does not recognize RTF files. On the flip side, RTF is not really very secure and just about anyone can read the information in the file. DOCs include security options that even allow the user to encrypt the file so that it is not readily readable.

The RTF format has been discontinued by Microsoft and no improvements are meant to be introduced to it. More recent versions of Microsoft Office are no longer able to save in RTF correctly. Microsoft is continuing with the DOC format, the latest incarnation of which is the DOCX.


1. RTF does not carry the same amount of formatting that you could have in a DOC

2. RTF files tend to be much smaller compared to DOC files

3. RTF files can be opened and read with a text editor while DOC cannot

4. RTF development has been halted while DOC is still being actively developed

Sharing is caring!

Search DifferenceBetween.net :

Email This Post Email This Post : If you like this article or our site. Please spread the word. Share it with your friends/family.


  1. In some files, the doc file is SMALLER than rtf files. But “newer” rtf can support equations without having to switch to the .docx format (which some websites may “reject” since they don’t recognize docx).

  2. I have noticed that if an RTF is created from MS Word it tends to be much bigger than the .doc or .docx file that can be saved from the same document. For example, I had an RTF at 998 KB, opened it in Word and saved it as a .doc file which came out as 97 KB. A .docx file saved from the RTF came to 80KB.
    Do you know if there is any particular reason for the massive difference in size?

  3. RTF support the whole set of cascading style sheets, so it’s hard to understand how it can only support bold, italic and the other very basic formatting options.

Leave a Response

Please note: comment moderation is enabled and may delay your comment. There is no need to resubmit your comment.

Articles on DifferenceBetween.net are general information, and are not intended to substitute for professional advice. The information is "AS IS", "WITH ALL FAULTS". User assumes all risk of use, damage, or injury. You agree that we have no liability for any damages.

See more about : , ,
Protected by Copyscape Plagiarism Finder