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If I create an .rtf file in WordPad and send it to someone on a Mac, can I assume that they will be able to view it correctly?

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up vote 5 down vote accepted

View it? Absolutely. Mac OS X includes TextEdit, which will read RTFs. Correctly? One can never be sure. RTFs shouldn't vary too much, but if layout is crucially important, as always send a PDF.

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Yeah. RTF is such a fundamental, pervasive part of Mac OS X and OpenStep/NeXTStep before it that I was surprised to discover that it was Microsoft, and not NeXT, that created it. NeXTStep's really pushed rich email with RTF and MIME back in the late 80's when everyone else was stuck on 70 columns of monospaced 7-bit ASCII (and before HTML even existed). – Spiff Aug 7 '10 at 22:48
@Spiff thanks, didn't know that, interesting, from wiki, "The first RTF reader and writer shipped in 1987 as part of Microsoft Word 3.0 for Macintosh, which implemented the RTF version 1.0 specification. All subsequent releases of Microsoft Word for the Macintosh and all versions for Windows can read and write files in RTF format.": – Edward Tanguay Aug 7 '10 at 23:39
the RTF format is from beyond hell -- just try parsing it to see why. – Jeff Atwood Aug 8 '10 at 6:46
@jeff I'm currently trying to parse .docx and am a far ways into hell with it myself, I mistakingly assumed it would be like HTML/CSS/Zengarden, yes I would avoid parsing RTF or anything from the 80s – Edward Tanguay Aug 8 '10 at 8:49
As of OSX 10.10 TextEdit does not display math sections in RTF documents. They will appear blank. I found this out when attempting to help my blind brother-in-law with his math homework. – segy Apr 6 '15 at 22:52

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