I'm looking for a command line interface program that gives me the ability to write formatted text easily interoperable with MS Word and OpenOffice.

I figured RTF would be the common ground. An example of what I was hoping for would be:

[Heading 1]
Hello Heading
[Paragraph Style 1]
My name is hello world, I'm awesome.
  • What a great idea! have you heard of something like that before? (for other platforms maybe)
    – Jader Dias
    May 18, 2010 at 20:59

2 Answers 2


You can always edit HTML in CLI text editors, and HTML is a rich text format, but it's not THE RTF. HTML can be open in both Office and Open Office.

The Open Document Format and the new MS Word Document format are also XML based, so they can be edited in CLI Text editors.

  • ODF and OOXML are XML-based, but they are compressed, so you have to tweak ~/.vimrc to be able to open them in vim. See this site for details: cedric.bosdonnat.free.fr/wordpress/?p=243. I assume it's similar to do in other text editors.
    – Matthew
    May 18, 2010 at 21:54
  • or you can decompress them, edit and compress again
    – Jader Dias
    May 19, 2010 at 13:52

Enriched Text (note it's not Rich Text) is a sort of stripped-down HTML that only does styling. It was originally intended for use in styling email because HTML was not considered appropriate (and many would still agree). Emacs has a mode for editing these files in a WYSIWYG way, see Formatted Text for more info.

Other than that, old word processors like Wordperfect 5.1 for DOS were/are pretty much what you're talking about.

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