How to compress RTF files

Updated February 21, 2017

Because the Rich Text Format (RFT) is a standard readable by nearly every word processor such as Word, WordPerfect and Wordpad, it is a popular way of storing documents with their formats intact. This can produce files that are too large for convenient storage or quick transmission via e-mail. Several options can compress RTF files to more manageable archives.

Browse an online compression utility such as NippyZip, which avoids downloading a program that takes up hard disk space and could contain malware. You are limited to a maximum file size of 5KB but can compress up to ten files at once in zip format. You can also send the ZIP files to an e-mail address for later retrieval, or download it directly from the site. A verification number prevents autobots from hogging the site.

Download, install and run a free compression utility such as 7-Zip, which can compress your RTF into ZIP, GZIP, BZIP2 and TAR. A proprietary 7Z format is also available, which provides compression ratios up to ten per cent better than ZIP and can create self-extracting archives. Because the software is open source, developers can tinker with the code to suit their needs. Security encryption is available for the 7Z and ZIP formats, and a built-in File Manager makes it easy to organise multiple files. Though you can use the utility through an interactive window, a command line version allows more complex option combinations.

Buy, install and run a commercial compression program such as WinZip, which bills itself the "world's most popular utility for file compression." The latest version features a Microsoft 2010 ribbon interface with all the options under tabs. The utility compresses files to a self-extracting ZIP, LHA and the proprietary ZIPX files, which produces the smallest archives. Archives can go directly to CDs and DVDs. You can define your own password policy to encrypt confidential files and automatically delete encrypted files after viewing. You can also e-mail a ZIP file from within the program.

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About the Author

Aurelio Locsin has been writing professionally since 1982. He published his first book in 1996 and is a frequent contributor to many online publications, specializing in consumer, business and technical topics. Locsin holds a Bachelor of Arts in scientific and technical communications from the University of Washington.