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I am wondering if anyone can recommend some software to convert MS Word documents to RTF documents in a clean fashion?

The RTF file will be used by other software as a template for generating other documents. We are experiencing some problems when Word does the conversion itself with special characters.

For example, Word has a special hyphen character that is causing problems. When Word converts to RTF, the hyphen is encoded as "/endash", rather than "-" which is expected by our other software.

I feel like there might be a better word to rtf converter available than the one built into MS Word.

Does anyone have any recommendations?

THanks!

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2 Answers 2

up vote 2 down vote accepted

Have you tried OpenOffice? We're using it as a server to convert documents to other formats, most often PDF. As OpenOffice can also save RTF, i'm pretty sure that it would handle Word-RTF in a suitable way.

A little test showed that for dashes, both text processors export them differently to RTF. I inserted them into a Word document and copied them over to OpenOffice using the clipboard:

[Em-dash][1]              (---)  Word uses \emdash   OpenOffice uses \'97
[Dash][2]                 (--)   Word uses \endash   OpenOffice uses \'96
[Non-breaking hyphen][3]  (-)    Word uses \_        OpenOffice uses \'_

1: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dash#Em_dash

2: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dash

3: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Non-breaking_hyphen

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I have open office at home. I will give it a shot this weekend and see how it does. Thanks for the recommendation! –  Swoop Jun 18 '10 at 20:20
    
Maybe try Wordpad? –  joeqwerty Jun 18 '10 at 21:13
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en dash and hyphen are two different characters. Try turning off autocorrect in Word before creating your document, and it will stop turning your hyphens into en dashes, and then things should work just fine.

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