RTF vs HTML: Difference and Comparison

There are many programming languages in usage from the computers introduced. Everyone has their favourite programming languages depending on the level of difficulty.

People in different roles use different languages as developers mostly use JAVA and HTML, and the coders love Python and C. HTML and RTF are two distinct programming languages.

Key Takeaways

  1. Rich Text Format (RTF) is a document file format that retains text formatting, while HyperText Markup Language (HTML) is used to structure and display content on web pages.
  2. RTF files support basic formatting and embedded images, whereas HTML supports more advanced formatting, multimedia elements, and interactivity.
  3. HTML files require web browsers for proper rendering, while RTF files can be opened with various word processing programs.


Rich text format (RTF) is a document file that is used to store and exchange text files between word processors. It can embed images. Hypertext markup language is used for designing web applications and pages. HTML tags help create structured documents.


RTF stands for Rich Text Format. The RTF is a text document file type. The Public.rtf is the uniform identifier of RTF. Microsoft Corporation was published the RTF in 1987 with various Microsoft products.

Microsoft Word and Office versions are the updated RTF form released by Microsoft in 2008. Some versions of the word processor can read and write programs. Depending on the files, the version of RTF will also vary.

HTML stands for Hypertext Markup Language or Standard markup Language. It is used to create beautiful websites. The languages CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) and JavaScript will assist HTML with more designs.

The web servers send the documents to the web browsers that render them into multimedia web pages. The webpage is structured systematically by the language HTML. The file extension for HTML documents is (.html).

Comparison Table

Parameters of comparisonRTFHTML
FoundedThe RTF was founded in 1987.HTML was founded in 1993
AdvantagesRTF takes more time to code, and errors will pop up frequently.The pointers take less time and are easy to code.
DisadvantagesIf the size of the file is large, then RTF causes difficulty in shrinking the file.The size of the file does not affect the output of the file
ExtensionRTF files are saved by .rtfHTML files are saved by .html
UsageRTF is used to store filesHTML is used to share content.

What is RTF?

The original RTF is developed by Richard Brodie, Charles Simonyi, and David Luebbert, members of the Microsoft Word development team. In 1987 the first RTF reader was released in Microsoft word version 3.0.

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RTF format is used in the windows versions. In Office 2007, the final version of RTF is released. When Microsoft Word was introduced, Microsoft discontinued the RTF specifications.

In association with ISO, Microsoft stated its willingness to RTF specifications. The Microsoft HTML files are compiled by RTF files that produce the WINDOWS help files. The latest version of RTF was released in 1992.

The latest version has support for Object Linking and Embedding (OLE) objects and Macintosh Edition Manager subscriber objects. The latest version also supports Windows metafiles and Windows device-dependent bitmap.

The syntax of RTF was taken from the TeX typesetting language. The RTF language is programmed by using groups, delimiters, and control words. Every processor has a unique purpose and advantages.

The data are stored and shared in RTF. The RTF is not an easy typing language. Unlike other processors, the codes in RTF can be read by humans. The RTF contains Latin characters and can be viewed in plain text.

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What is HTML?

The elements in the HTML language are considered the building block of that language. Using HTML, we can create beautiful websites with images, videos, audio, and interactive forms, etc.

HTML helps to create structured documents. It has structures like a heading, paragraph, list, links, and buttons. HTML comes with hundreds of tags to enhance the websites.

HTML tags like help to insert paragraphs and many more. It is vital to use them according to the design of the page. Languages like CSS and JavaScript can be used along with HTML to improve the sites.

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These languages have various effects and animations. CSS has amazing layouts, and JavaScript gives effects. HTML was maintained by World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) in the early days, and currently, it is maintained by CSS standards.

Berners-Lee first proposed an Internet-based hypertext system in 1989. The structured HTML elements are called HTML documents. The tags in HTML are used in mixed ways from start to end.

The nested elements have parent and child elements. There are attributes in the start tag. The attributes in the start tag indicate the identifiers for sections and designs.

Tags like line and break need only empty tags. Datatypes like script data and sheet data are available in HTML language. These data types are used to specify the characters and their data.


Main Differences Between RTF and HTML

  1. In 1987, the RTF was founded, and in 1993, the HTML was founded.
  2. RTF pointers take more time to code, and errors will pop up frequently, but the pointers in HTML take less time to code.
  3. If the Size of the file is large in RTF, then it causes difficulty in shrinking the file, and the size of the file does not affect the output of files in HTML.
  4. RTF files are saved by .rtf, and HTML files are saved by .html.
  5. RTF is used to store files, and HTML is used to share content.
Difference Between RTF and HTML
  1. https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/abstract/document/1019484/
  2. https://elibrary.ru/item.asp?id=7646360

Last Updated : 11 June, 2023

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8 thoughts on “RTF vs HTML: Difference and Comparison”

  1. The article provides a comprehensive comparison between RTF and HTML, which are two important languages in the field of computing.

  2. The references provided at the end of the article are valuable for further exploration of the topics discussed. It adds credibility to the content presented.

  3. The historical background of RTF and HTML, along with their practical applications, helps in gaining a better perspective on the significance of these programming languages.

  4. The detailed explanation of RTF and HTML, along with their respective usages, is beneficial for readers looking to enhance their understanding of these languages.

  5. The explanation about the founding date, advantages, and disadvantages of each language is quite enlightening. It helps in understanding their relevance in different contexts.

  6. The article effectively explains the fundamental differences between Rich Text Format (RTF) and HyperText Markup Language (HTML). This is particularly useful for those seeking more in-depth knowledge about these languages.

  7. The in-depth analysis of RTF and HTML offers a comprehensive insight into the functionalities and applications of these programming languages.

  8. The comparison table is very informative and well-structured. It provides a clear summary of the distinctions between RTF and HTML.


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