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Are there any techniques one can use to have Word save RTF documents in a leaner (simpler, lighter weight) format than it does by default? We have large RTF documents that use basic formatting only and the size difference between Word (2003, 2007, 2010) RTF documents and the same documents opened in WordPad and resaved is 4x! For example, a 6M RTF Word document becomes a 1.4M RTF document when opened with Word and resaved. The WordPad RTF file open and saves are instantaneous, but the Word RTF open and saves are very slow. Using our 6M example document, all recent versions of Word can take 4+ seconds to open or save this document, but the same document opens and saves instantaneously via WordPad.

We are locked into using RTF because these documents are part of a complex workflow with all steps requiring RTF content.

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I am thinking it is because of all the undo and metadata Word jams in there. I'm pretty sure it isn't the formatting that makes it huge. – RobotHumans Oct 3 '10 at 14:29
Save as - RTF-wordpad or whatever doesn't reduce the size? – RobotHumans Oct 5 '10 at 16:43
Save as RTF in WordPad does accomplish what I want, but I'm looking for a way to do this from within Word vs. having to have users save/close their file in Word, open in WordPad, save, and then exit WordPad, all to achieve a leaner RTF file. We need our users to stay in Word because their Word environment has custom macros for creating and maintaining our documents and custom macros that manage work flow. – Malcolm Oct 5 '10 at 17:55

If there are images in the RTF document, you may want to check out this KB article from MS:

Symptom blurb:

...If an EMF, a PNG, a GIF, or a JPEG graphic is inserted into a Word document, when the document is saved, two copies of the graphic are saved in the document.

...a Microsoft Word 2000 document that contains a JPEG graphic that is saved as a Word 2000 document may have a file size of 45,568 bytes (44.5KB). However, when you save this file as Word 6.0/95 (.doc) or as Rich Text Format (.rtf), the file size may grow to 1,289,728 bytes (1.22MB).

Resolution blurb:

To prevent Word from saving two copies of the graphic in the document, and to reduce the file size of the document, add the ExportPictureWithMetafile=0 string value to the Microsoft Windows registry...

Maybe there's some help there?

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As aking1012 wrote in his comment it's probably old metadata and undo info that is taking all that space.

I don't know if this solution also works for RTF documents but this article Remove Hidden Data tells you how to remove the hidden data.

But it's so complicated that it seems simpler to just:

  1. Create a new empty document
  2. Copy all in old document, save as old.backup (or something)
  3. Paste in new empty document, save and overwrite source.
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Its not old meta data or undo info - it appears to be additional revision markup and state information that Word seems to add to its RTF files automatically. I'm trying to find a way to disable this additional markup. Copying and pasting into a new document does not delete the extra cruft I'm seeing. Opening the RTF file in WordPad and resaving the file does eliminate RTF cruft. What I would like to do is get WordPad type RTF output without having to leave Word. – Malcolm Oct 4 '10 at 19:32

It might be worthwhile to try to automate the process somehow, if you're that tightly bound to Word. Tools like AutoIt might be really useful.

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