How to Read/Write RTF and Word Files?

Greg Jorgensen greg at
Mon May 21 04:37:22 CEST 2001

On Sat, 19 May 2001, Dry Ice wrote:

> How to Read/Write RTF and Word Files?
> Any suggestions on modules or code which
> will allow reading and writing of the above?

RTF is a published format. The standard isn't as rigourously followed as
one would like, but it is more consistently implemented than HTML.
Microsoft defined RTF and you can find the documentation on their site.
Start at the knowledge base article:

Microsoft Word uses a proprietary and undocumented format for .doc files.
The Word file format has changed significantly across versions of Word.
Whether by reverse-engineering or licensing the spec from Microsoft, quite
a few companies have implemented at least some Word import/export

Microsoft also gives away Word document reader. I don't believe they have
a Linux version, though. But you don't need Word to view Word documents if
you have Windows or Mac OS running. The free Word reader may work under
Wine; it certainly works under VMWare.

Greg Jorgensen
PDXperts LLC
Portland, Oregon, USA

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