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I need to edit a file that was saved in Rich Text Format (*.RTF) using Microsoft Word, but today I've learned that the regular old WordPad that comes with Windows can open humongous *.RTF files that Microsoft Word (bundled with Office 365 ProPlus) simply can't. Word apparently has a 512MB upper limit on file size.

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Now there are plenty of tutorials on how to reopen Word documents that exceed size boundaries (you can change the file type from *.DOCX to *.ZIP and remove extraneous images from inside the compressed file to reduce the overall file size, for example; see https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/office/troubleshoot/word/file-larger-than-512-megabytes). But what can you do with a humongous *.RTF file to which you can't apply that technique?

I suppose I could chop the document down to smaller documents using WordPad and then open the smaller files in Word. But is that it? That's tedious.

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FYI - my original *.RTF file was 1,049,084 KB large. Like I said before, I managed to open it in WordPad. Someone else suggested I try saving it as *.DOCX from within WordPad and lo and behold, that worked! I didn't realize at first that this file format option was available to me because it was labeled as "Office Open XML Document", and I didn't see below it that it was subtitled "DOCX". The resulting file is 29,963 KB large and it opened right up in Microsoft Word afterwards!

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An RTF file is a structured file and cannot be cut randomly into pieces. If you do that, you are risking damaging the file.

If all you want is to see the start of the file, you might cut it to less than 512 MB and hope that Word will agree to open it. If not, you could try the option of Open and Repair in the Open dialog.

If you wish to conserve all the file contents, I would recommend trying an alternate editor product. Some possibilities are:

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  • Thanks for your input. I wasn't implying that I'd cut my *.RTF file randomly into pieces, but rather open it safely and then cut and paste parts of it into separate legitimate WordPad files that Microsoft Word might later let me open successfully (because they'd be smaller). – ShieldOfSalvation Aug 5 '19 at 4:33
  • Would be hard to do, because it will not conserve the RTF structure. Try another editor that doesn't have this limitation, so copy-paste will be more meaningful. – harrymc Aug 5 '19 at 6:35

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