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Can anyone recommend software (preferably freeware) for batch converting rtf files to txt files on Unix?

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closed as off topic by terdon, ChrisF, 8088, Windos, Dennis Jan 29 '13 at 1:03

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What format do you want the txt files to be? Stripped of all formatting, or somewhat richer, e.g. Markdown, like this site supports? –  Daniel Beck Feb 8 '11 at 17:19

4 Answers 4

There is "unrtf", but while the Ubuntu package data claims that it can create text output, the GNU unrtf homepage does not mention that format. But perhaps you can try that.

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You didn't mention what flavour of UNIX but I think there's a textutil on many.

http://www.unix.com/man-page/All/1/TEXTUTIL/

 -convert fmt  Convert the specified files to the indicated format and
       write each one back to the file system.

       fmt is one of:  txt, html, rtf, rtfd, doc, docx, wordml,
               odt, or webarchive
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That's only available on OS X. Check the bottom of the man page. –  Ross Light Dec 3 '12 at 21:43

A quick glance at an RTF file suggests that RTF markup is anything between {braces} and anything between a backslash and a space \markup. So maybe strings and a short sed/awk/perl script to delete markup would get you close to plain text.

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There are many different ones, here are the ones I've tested successfully (all open source and free):

  • unrtf
  • wv
  • antiword
  • unoconv
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